Some 76% of organisations have voiced heightened concerns about cloud security threats amid a 48% increase in cloud-based network attacks globally, said a Check Point survey.

The biggest challenges include misconfiguration of cloud platforms or improper setup (59%), which ranks as the most significant security threat, followed by exfiltration of sensitive data (51%), insecure interfaces/APIs (51%), and unauthorised access (49%), said Check Point Software Technologies, a leading provider of cybersecurity solutions globally, in collaboration with research firm Cybersecurity Insiders in its 2023 Cloud Security Report.

24% of respondents reported experiencing public cloud-related security incidents, with misconfigurations, account compromises, and exploited vulnerabilities being the most common incident types.

Cloud native tools

While 62% of organisations utilise cloud native tools for configuration management, 29% rely on dedicated Cloud Security Posture Management Solutions (CSPM).

37% of respondents have embraced DevSecOps in certain areas of their organisation, while 19% have implemented a comprehensive programme.

The report, based on an extensive survey of over 1,000 cybersecurity professionals worldwide, provides critical insights into the current state of cloud security management, highlighting prevalent challenges and opportunities.

Despite the numerous benefits organisations derive from the cloud, such as scalability and flexibility, effectively securing it continues to be a challenge. The survey reveals that misconfigurations rank as the primary cloud security concern, affecting a concerning 59% of respondents. These misconfigurations not only leave organisations vulnerable but also impede their ability to fully leverage the potential of the cloud.

Expanding cloud estates

Not surprisingly, businesses are rapidly expanding their cloud estates, with 58% planning to store over 50% of their workload in the cloud within the next 12 to 18 months.

The increasing complexity of understanding and safeguarding the cloud's threat surface has become a significant concern for IT leaders, leaving vulnerabilities unchecked. Malicious actors are capitalising on these challenges, as evidenced by the Check Point Research report.

The survey reveals that organisations have implemented various technologies and strategies to manage their complex cloud environments. However, the complexity and lack of visibility and control are leading to confusion. 26% of organisations have 20 or more security policies in place, leading to alert fatigue and hindering response teams' ability to effectively counter high-risk incidents.

Notably, 90% of respondents expressed a preference for a single cloud security platform that simplifies management. Furthermore, an overwhelming 71% of organisations have more than six security policies in place, with 68% finding the multitude of alerts overwhelming due to the use of multiple tools stressing the need for a comprehensive and collaborative cloud security solution.

Cloud misconfigurations

“Our survey found that cloud misconfigurations are the foremost concern for today's CISOs. However, what sets successful cloud security organisations apart, is not only the ability to identify misconfigurations, but also to grasp their contextual relevance and prioritise their resolution,” said TJ Gonen, VP of Cloud Security at Check Point Software Technologies.

“Understanding which misconfigurations truly pose a risk to business operations is paramount. As is the capability to swiftly and effectively address those vulnerabilities to maintain a strong security posture. It is imperative for enterprises to select a comprehensive solution that goes beyond surface-level detection.”

The report concludes by emphasising the need for organisations to address cloud security challenges proactively. In a cloud environment, the scale, speed, and reach of operations are amplified, necessitating robust security measures. Check Point CloudGuard, harnessing the power of unification and contextual intelligence, enables organisations to drive actionable security and smarter prevention.

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