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Clueless About Network Security in the Cloud? You’re Not Alone


Over the next few years, organizations of all sizes will be deploying a good chunk of their business applications on a public IaaS platform. Not surprisingly, network security is a big concern for them and according to our new survey, Security Policy Management in Hybrid Cloud Environments, one of the most complex functions to migrate and manage in a public cloud.

security_controlsNot only that, we also discovered that only a third of survey respondents who are deploying or planning to deploy business applications in the public cloud are using commercial firewalls to control network access, while nearly another third who are in the planning stages of their public cloud deployments do not know which network security controls they are going to use!

However, while many enterprises are now jumping on the cloud bandwagon, the on-premise data center is not going away anytime soon. So companies need to be able to extend and manage their security policies across a hybrid environment that includes both their on-premise datacenter and public IaaS platform. Yet our survey revealed that companies are facing some big problems– due to poor visibility, a fragmented variety of security controls for IaaS, and a lack of processes and knowledge– when trying to do so.

Some key highlights from the survey, which you can also see in our cool new infographic, include:

  • Visibility is obscured by clouds – 79% of survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they need better visibility across on-premise data centers and public clouds.
  • Lack of processes hinders cloud management and compliance – 59% of respondents noted the lack of operational workflows to manage network security in a hybrid environment.
  • Disparate selection of security controls used across IaaS – Only a third of respondents use commercial network firewalls to protect access to their data in the cloud. 25% of respondents use provider controls such as Amazon Security Groups, and 10 % use host-based firewalls.
  • Companies are in the dark about network security controls in the cloud – A third of companies that are planning to deploy business applications in the cloud within the next 12-24 months do not know which tools they will use to manage their network security policies in the cloud.
  • Data and network security are the most challenging functions to migrate to public clouds Network security is the second most complex function to migrate to the public cloud (following data security), and the most complex for small to medium size organizations.
  • Responsibility for cloud security is fragmented – At small to medium size companies, security for business applications running in public clouds is handled mostly by IT Operations, however in the future companies plan to transition this responsibility over to Information Security. Yet, at large organizations the responsibility is and will remain in the hands of Information Security.

The hybrid cloud environment basically amplifies the security policy management challenges of the on-premise data center – business continuity, change management and compliance. But it’s not all doom and gloom. If you take the time to select the right tools that will work across your hybrid environment, automate processes so that you align teams and can manage security at the “speed of cloud”, and assign responsibility for network security to the most appropriate team within your organization, you’ll be well on your way to preparing your data center for the next paradigm.

You can download the full survey report and infographic here.  We’d love to hear your thoughts so that we can continue the discussion and debate.


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