Exabeam, the Smarter SIEM company, has revealed the results of a new survey of UK security practitioners, which tracks the adoption and use of cloud-based security tools. This latest survey showed a marked increase in the adoption of these security tools compared to an earlier study carried out in March 2020 prior to the COVID-19 lockdown. Eighty-eight (88) percent of recent respondents said the accelerated move to the cloud was driven by the need to support a remote workforce.

Among the concerns of moving security products to the cloud, data privacy and data sovereignty top the list, at 56 percent and 41 percent respectively. Around a third (31 percent) are concerned about unauthorized access. However, this latest study shows that almost half of the organizations questioned (44 percent) are now using cloud-based security products to protect corporate financial information.

Cloud-based security tools

This represents a dramatic increase - potentially out of necessity during the lockdown period - from Exabeam’s earlier study where only 12 percent were protecting corporate financial information in this way. Despite this increased adoption of cloud-based security tools, 86 percent still consider the move to be risky with 47 percent considering it to be ‘high risk.’

These concerns are in stark contrast to 87 percent of respondents who consider themselves to be ‘well-equipped’ to orchestrate cloud-based migration. Given that event visibility must extend into every virtual cloud and cloud service used by an organization, a positive finding in the report is that 79 percent have either good or very good visibility into their cloud applications.

Cloud-based applications

The survey results support the benefits of moving to a cloud-based model

With the pandemic driving the shift to a remote workforce, 84 percent of organizations have significantly improved efforts to ensure better visibility into cloud-based applications. Just over one quarter of those questioned, 26 percent, believe they have ‘very good visibility’ into cloud-based applications.

The survey results support the benefits of moving to a cloud-based model including minimized resources and overhead, enabling security analysts to complete tasks faster and freeing engineers up to focus on other projects. Improvements in monitoring and tracking of attacks (21 percent) and access to latest features (20 percent) are considered the most important gains from using cloud-based security tools.

Drivers for cloud adoption

Faster time to value (15 percent), less maintenance (13 percent) and less CAPEX (13 percent) are drivers for cloud adoption, but considered less important.

Other findings include:

  • 90 percent of organizations agree they introduced cloud-based security products at the right time for the business
  • In addition to corporate financial information (44 percent), cloud-based security tools are most commonly used to protect customer information (50 percent), file sharing (48 percent) and email (38 percent)
  • Other areas of concern related to cloud-based security tools include integration with other tools (31 percent) and service outages (29 percent)
  • When deploying cloud-based security solutions, respondents were split between migrating the legacy-based products currently being used (44 percent) or replacing with cloud-native security tools (42 percent)

Migrate critical business data

“The momentum towards the adoption of security tools in the cloud has been building for some time. The sudden and - for many - unexpected move to remote working in March opened up the throttle for cloud-based security solutions as organizations had to migrate critical business data to the cloud almost overnight,” said Samantha Humphries, Security Strategist at Exabeam.

“This survey reflects what we are seeing and hearing from our customers. The appetite and intent to move to the cloud exists, and many are now reaping the benefits. Largely as a result of COVID-19, organizations that had adopted a ‘wait and see’ approach have had no choice but to climb aboard the cloud bus, regardless of their concerns.”

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