Expected surge of intrusions calls for hardened cloud defenses

  • Intruders use analytics to aggregate data from multiple attacks.

  • Cloud-based security services can be more effective than on-site efforts.

  • The good news for smaller businesses: Best-in-class security is becoming increasingly democratized.

Storing enterprise data in the cloud is a dream come true for companies wanting to lower costs and administrative duties.

With cloud-based services, IT can selectively move data and computing services out of the data center – and avoid the need to buy and maintain new storage and processors. Instead, the cloud providers are responsible for delivering daily maintenance, purchasing capacity, and providing security.

Both cloud-based and internal security systems have become more robust, meaning attackers concentrate on penetrating highly profitable large targets that maximize their efforts. But as hacking tools become increasingly sophisticated, data thieves are prompted to expand efforts to smaller targets. The shift to lower-volume targets means smaller organizations need to step up their game in terms of fortifying data defenses.

Intruders are able to aggregate data from multiple targets to come up with highly valuable data sets. Even if the individual targets produce relatively limited sets of data, the resulting records can be highly profitable when matched with information garnered from other exploits with the aid of sophisticated analytics. This practice is the updated version of social engineering, where multiple contacts are made to an organization, each requesting seemingly innocuous bits of information that by themselves yield no insights, but when combined, yield valuable information.

As more data migrates to cloud and hybrid-cloud environments, the need for higher security protocols becomes imperative. But even as systems are being improved, intrusions are increasingly likely.

In a January story for Security Magazine, Jason Porter, AT&T security solutions vice president, commented that “cloud attacks will grow more serious and widespread in 2016, and will serve as a harsh wake-up call to many organizations.”

Know your cloud security options, no matter the size of your business

Just as cloud-based services reduce the overall cost associated with running a computing infrastructure, managed security services are growing in popularity. That’s because, while the data needing to be protected is different across companies and applications, the threats and attack tactics are the same regardless of the target. Security service providers are able to concentrate expertise and efforts to maximize their effectiveness while at the same time reducing costs for each subscribing company.

This has the effect of democratizing best-in-class security protection that was previously out of reach to small businesses. There is no absolute safe haven against a cyberattack, but as companies expand their operations to include cloud-based resources, they must consider what security services are available and how they will be implemented.

From small businesses to larger enterprises, security integrated with cloud-based offerings can be the best line of defense for companies. Progressive IT management currently implementing cloud-based systems should look beyond the basic offerings and understand what security options are available as bundled services.

Read more about the network security and cloud services available for your business from AT&T.

Scott Koegler is a technology journalist with a specialization on the intersection of business and technology. All opinions are his own. AT&T has sponsored this blog post.

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