Cloud Security Trends Pose Challenges to Government Agencies
It’s 2017, and nearly six years have passed since the Obama administration announced its cloud-first initiative, prompting government agencies to migrate applications from government data centers to cloud platforms. Mirroring the private sector, this move has come with some very specific, if not entirely surprising, challenges for security-focused agencies. As such, some cloud security trends have begun to emerge as these groups grapple with the tension between flexibility and data protection in an increasingly tense digital climate.
A recent survey by Netwrix revealed some insights that capture the U.S. government’s struggle with cloud migration. The study showcases how an organization of this caliber faces challenges similar to many that the IT industry struggles with.
By and large, U.S. government agencies are simply not ready to transition their data from government data centers to outside cloud services. The reason? Security. A full 87 percent of surveyed agencies admitted that security issues were preventing them from making the switch. The survey goes on to elaborate on this lack of preparation, with respondents indicating that their biggest hurdles were:
- Backup and recovery (53 percent).
- Data control (60 percent).
- Access control (80 percent).
When it comes to agencies’ qualms about cloud security, the source may just surprise you. As it turns out, these agencies aren’t so much worried about foreign cyberattackers compromising their cloud environments. Instead, some 80 percent found greater concern from their own users’ ability to access sensitive data. This seems to stem from anxiety over replicating security policies in a cloud provider’s environment, as 40 percent of respondents indicated.
The Bright Side
Not all was doom and gloom when it came to cloud migrations, however. Government agencies taking part in the study praised the cloud’s ability to increase the availability, flexibility and cost savings of their systems. Astonishingly, 50 percent even said they saw improved security in their migrated environments.
On that note, respondents see data integrity in the cloud as essential to maintaining visibility, with 93 percent of agencies stating that having an eagle-eye view of user behavior within cloud environments is key to their cloud security strategy.
Ultimately, cloud security trends like this show us that cloud adoption is often worth the inevitable challenges that come with it. If we can simply keep a watchful eye on user behavior — with the help of modern analytics tools — we can begin to fully realize the benefits of cloud computing while keeping inside threats in check.