Growing cloud adoption introduces visibility gaps and security complications

As the quantity and frequency of advanced threats continue to accelerate, a new SANS Institute survey found that a continued lack of visibility and the complexity of managing data across on-premises and cloud infrastructures further complicates the battle against such threats.

cloud adoption security complications

The survey highlights key technology challenges and limitations that organizations are self-identifying in their efforts to detect and respond to highly sophisticated cyberattacks. SANS Institute surveyed 366 security and IT professionals across various industries to gain insights into how they deal with advanced threats.

According to the findings, 48 percent of respondents said they lack visibility into data that is processed within their organizations. Access to sensitive data by insecure, unmanaged devices or individuals as well as a lack of geolocation information of the data were also identified as concerning blind spots to organizations.

When asked about the major barriers to detecting and remediating advanced threats, nearly half of the respondents emphasized an inability to understand or baseline normal user behavior, with shortage of funding and resources coming in as a close second. Conversely, account or credential hijacking and privileged user abuse topped the list of major threats and risks realized within respondents’ environments.

The survey also looked at the challenges that respondents face within their cloud infrastructures, and found that a lack of visibility remains at the core of their limitations. When it comes to major gaps in the security analytics of their cloud-based infrastructure:

  • More than half of the respondents expressed concerns about integrating data with analytics tools and combining data across cloud environments.
  • Nearly 55 percent struggle with a lack of integration between current security analytics tools and cloud infrastructure.
  • Approximately 43 percent faced a lack of threat insights targeting cloud environments.

“Clearly, visibility of data, users, devices and the cloud environment are playing a critical role in how and whether security professionals can fight advanced threats effectively,” said SANS instructor and survey author Matt Bromiley. “While many tools such as security analytics are available to the security community, implementing them is dependent on understanding the organization’s environment.”

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