Cloud Security Management a Fragmented Affair

The survey revealed 59 percent of respondents feel there is lack of operational workflows to manage network security in a hybrid environment.

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Nearly 80 percent of organizations need better visibility in order to unify security policy management across their on-premise and public cloud environments, according to a worldwide AlgoSec study of 363 information security and network operations professionals, data center architects, application owners and chief information officers (CIOs).

Respondents said network security is the second most complex function to migrate to the public cloud (following data security), and the most complex for small to medium size organizations.

Of those surveyed, two-thirds (66 percent) reported they are currently deploying or planning to deploy business applications on an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) platform within the next 12 to 36 months.

The survey revealed 59 percent of respondents feel there is lack of operational workflows to manage network security in a hybrid environment, while demonstrating compliance on IaaS compared with on-premise data centers was another major issue, with 49 percent of those surveyed claiming difficultly.

"When it comes to SaaS, the best thing small businesses can do is choose a reputable vendor," Nimrod Reichenberg, vice president of marketing and strategy, told eWeek. "Despite some well publicized breaches, most large cloud providers have resources and expertise to manage security far better than your average SMB. For SMBs leveraging public cloud IaaS, like Amazon AWS. Azure, Rackspace then you should look at tools that automate as much of the security controls as possible --injecting best practices into the cloud. This not only saves SMBs precious time, but also minimizes the burden of having to become cloud security experts."

Worryingly, a third of companies that are planning to deploy business applications in the cloud within the next 12 to 24 months do not know which tools they will use to manage their network security policies in the cloud.

As it stands, only a third of respondents (33 percent) use commercial network firewalls to protect access to their data in the cloud, while a quarter of respondents use provider controls such as Amazon Security Groups, and 10 percent use host-based firewalls.

Two-thirds (66 percent) of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that it is difficult to extend the corporate network security policy to the public cloud. At small to medium size businesses (SMBs), security for business applications running in public clouds is handled mostly by IT operations (70 percent).

However, the report indicated that in the future, companies plan to transition this responsibility over to information security departments.

At large companies, 72 percent said the responsibility is and is expected to remain in the hands of information security departments.

"In the foreseeable future, security will remain a key challenge when organizations are migrating into the cloud. I think the next few years will remain challenging as best-practices and best-of-breed solutions have not emerged yet," Reichenberg said. "Over time, I actually think cloud security will be yet another security discipline that security teams will have to take care of. So while security in general will continue to increase in importance as the threat landscape intensifies, we will not draw a distinction between "cloud" security and "regular" security."