A recent Forrester research report showed that in 2017, the cloud market both at home as well as abroad is expected to accelerate faster than ever before. Experts predict that universal investment in cloud adoption will almost double in size within the next 12 months, from $87 billion to just over $146 billion by year's end. 

This resurgence in the industry is a direct reflection of the enormous advancements and benefits that cloud technologies are able to provide users today. Enabling both businesses and individuals to become more scalable, flexible, and cost effective in their day-to-day activities.

Addressing new risks

While cloud solutions offer users the ability to seamlessly access company, customer and personal files from any mobile or land-based device, this flexibility comes with increased risk as autonomous access opens more endpoints, connections, and data that businesses must be aware of and know how to protect. Mark Anderson, President of Palo Alto Networks notes, “The [cloud] security challenge is how to establish and enforce a policy that protects the data in a consistent manner from their physical on premise data center, to their software-as-a-service applications, to their public cloud deployments.”

Whether you’re a business with sensitive data that requires organization, or an individual with an affinity for personal programs, avoiding the cloud seems nearly impossible these days. The recent increase in high-profile security breaches and threats to data has placed increased emphasis and scrutiny on the need for more effective privacy measures.

Securing your cloud

Long-time security industry veteran and “Shark Tank” panelist Robert Herjavec states that, “Cybersecurity is now mainstream because we’ve seen the repercussions personally, professionally and financially of not keeping our corporate and customer data secure. Security isn’t an IT issue; it’s a board-level issue for organizations globally. To speak more broadly, it’s a global citizen issue. The wars of today — and even tomorrow — will continue to play out via cyberwarfare.” Now more than ever before, it’s time to take additional steps to help protect your cloud environment from prevailing external as well as internal threats.

Of all options available, adopting a cloud security model is one of the best ways to safely put your business in the best possible position to succeed. For IT decision-makers, a crucial step before embarking on this route is asking the right questions to ensure that the provider can successfully meet the needs of your organization. Herjavec suggests that during this selection process it’s important that the business and service provider truly view the relationship as a partnership. “This has to be a high touch, collaborative effort, in order to ensure that a proactive model is built that best suits the organization’s security needs. It's important that the organization and provider understand the scope of the ask and the timing requirements for the project or onboarding.”

Focusing on internal threats

While a cloud security provider can do wonders in terms of protecting the businesses from external threats, the threats that originate from inside of a business are much more difficult to prevent and detect using a one-size-fits-all security strategy. Employees don't always threaten the company's data security intentionally, but they can be damaging nonetheless.

In order to combat this, Anderson advocates that employees must understand that the world today is a different place from even five years ago and the best strategy involves making security top of mind. For Anderson, promoting physical security is key, and there are simple steps individuals can take every day to protect themselves: “Lock mobile devices at the end of the day … Be mindful of cyberattack tactics. Mindset is prevention.”

The world is a different place than it was one year ago — let alone five. Not only is there far more sensitive data on the cloud than ever before, there has also been a huge increase in hacks and cyberattacks in recent years, as attempts to steal private data become more sophisticated and widespread. Without a doubt, it is now paramount that businesses make cybersecurity a top priority.