Cloud Migrations and Security Risks: Research Findings

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Security operations teams may not be fully prepared to handle risk associated with business technology systems transitioned to and maintained in the cloud, a new study found.

The study, conducted by CRA Business Intelligence, the research and content wing of CyberRisk Alliance (CRA), and sponsored by Bishop Fox and Invicti, also revealed that while some organizations educate themselves to adopt a cloud-first model, others merely shift their applications to the cloud without customization. That practice alone can lead to accelerated risk, the study concluded. (Full disclosure: CRA is the parent of MSSP Alert).

Here are four of the report’s key findings:

  • Thirty-seven (37%) percent of respondents said their organization experienced a cloud-based attack or breach in the last two years. On average, this amounted to four attacks per victim since 2020.
  • The number of cloud assets/workloads is growing among companies, with 55% of respondents running up to 50 assets/workloads in the public cloud and 56% on hosted clouds; on average respondents maintain 66 assets in either public or hosted clouds.
  • As cloud-based assets/workloads increase, 50% of respondents are very concerned about their ability to secure their cloud systems, with 72% “extremely” or “very” concerned.
  • On the top data security concerns in the cloud, respondents cite the following: Lack of detection/response, compromised users, misconfiguration, and inability to monitor changes within cloud environments.

“With 54% of respondents not experiencing a cloud-based attack or breach, lift and shift (33%) and cloud native (29%) strategies continue to dominate,” said Matt Alderman, EVP, Foresight at CyberRisk Alliance. “Our research shows a wide range of security solutions are being used to secure cloud environments, and over 90% of those surveyed indicated they are likely to invest more in cloud security over the next two years. However, selecting the right security solutions for cloud infrastructure creates a need for more education. Only software composition analysis (SCA) and application programming interface (API) security solutions are keeping up with customer expectations.”

Amid that backdrop, roughly 40% of MSSPs now offer cloud security posture management (CSPM) and related services to help customers properly configure and lock down their cloud workloads, MSSP Alert research found.

The data and insights in this report are based on a survey conducted in April 2022 of 300+ IT and cybersecurity decision-makers and influencers in the United States. The research also includes best practices to help organizations better secure their cloud-based resources.

D. Howard Kass

D. Howard Kass is a contributing editor to MSSP Alert. He brings a career in journalism and market research to the role. He has served as CRN News Editor, Dataquest Channel Analyst, and West Coast Senior Contributing Editor at Channelnomics. As the CEO of The Viewpoint Group, he led groundbreaking market research.