IT leaders seek to reclaim cloud cyber security

FedScoop highlighted the urgency of cloud security, but there are plenty of ways to strengthen your network's safeguards moving forward. As you rely more heavily on off-premise systems to power your IT operations, you'll have to work much more closely with your vendors to safely and securely migrate applications and ensure the protection of all virtual assets.

With the recent explosion of data breach incidents and organizations' widespread shift toward cloud computing, it appears to be the perfect storm for vulnerabilities in your network. There are plenty of opportunities for cost-effective growth and development using off-premise resources and other cutting-edge solutions such as virtual desktop deployment, but you must recognize the unique security challenges that accompany the next generation of IT functionality. Taking a revamped approach to network protection is key to ensure your organization remains safe from harm in the digital age.

Cloud presents security roadblocks
Unlike incremental developments in legacy IT systems, the cloud disrupted the security landscape by reconfiguring the way applications and data are delivered across the organization. The widespread adoption of public cloud resources and private, virtualization-based infrastructure has thrown a wrench into the safeguard measures conventionally upheld in the network environment. In many cases, IT departments aren't prepared for these changes, and leave their assets vulnerable as a result of their shortcomings.

According to a recent article from FedScoop, the unexpected challenges of cloud security are top priority for leaders in federal agency IT departments. The source pointed to a report from the Ponemon Institute, revealing that 78 percent of the 1,800 professionals surveyed expect their cloud footprints to expand in the next two years, with 71 percent predicting security to pose difficulties in this migration outlook. The source suggested that security measures can't be dragged and dropped from legacy systems to the cloud, as these new formats are fundamentally different in their development and delivery.

"While the cloud has revolutionized the way IT is delivered, many IT organizations are finding it difficult to keep up with demand for these services and the security implications that are created when critical data is stored in the cloud," said Tsion Gonen, chief strategy officer for SafeNet, according to the source. "As we've seen in 2014 with a raft of record-breaking data breaches, organizations are attacked frequently from different angles. In order to mitigate risk, there needs to be focused coordination and new approaches to securing data in the cloud, and IT needs to be at the center of this migration."

Shared responsibility is a must
While the United States Postal Service may not be responsible for safeguarding highly confidential materials such as those protected by Homeland Security or the Defense Department, it must still combat intrusive efforts from cybercriminals after its financial and employee records. According to the Christian Science Monitor, the organization recently found itself in crisis mode as an external attack led to the exposure of over 800,000 personal credentials held within its networks.

"It is an unfortunate fact of life these days that every organization connected to the Internet is a constant target for cyber intrusion activity," said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe in a statement. "The United States Postal Service is no different. Fortunately, we have seen no evidence of malicious use of the compromised data and we are taking steps to help our employees protect against any potential misuse of their data."

The attack, which reportedly began in January and wasn't fully controlled until August, reiterates the harsh truth once again: Cyber security is an ongoing battle that must be fought on all fronts.