The changing face of cloud services in 2016

As the threats and regulations facing cloud services continues to change, Rajiv Gupta, CEO and co-founder of Skyhigh Networks, has provided his predictions of what 2016 may have in store.

1. Cyber security insurance prices will double

Insurance companies absorbed massive cyber-attack costs in 2015. In response, rates and premiums are on the rise. Companies will balk at prices and may need to agree to unfavourable terms in order to afford coverage: Anthem had to commit $25 million towards any future costs to secure $100 million in coverage. Many insurers max out coverage at $75 or $100 million – well below the cost of a catastrophic breach, which can reach a quarter of a billion dollars.

2. European regulators will resurrect Safe Harbor

Global companies paid attention when the European Court of Justice struck down the data transfer agreement known as Safe Harbor, which allowed companies to store Europeans’ data with US cloud providers.

The ECJ’s decision certainly raised valid issues: Companies should be wary of sensitive data unencrypted in cloud services, especially those located in countries with dubious privacy records. Not all data is sensitive, however, and Safe Harbor’s absence will impose unnecessary and unrealistic limitations on operations in the cloud. Regulators will compromise to facilitate global access to data.

3. The majority of cloud security incidents will come from insiders

Cloud service providers have improved security to the extent that breaches on the provider side will become few and far between. This leaves enterprise employees as the weak link. 90 per cent of companies experience at least one cloud insider threat per month. Whether malicious or unintentional, your own employees will be your greatest cloud security threat.

4. Companies will start to payoff cloud security debt

More and more companies are full-speed ahead on cloud, but so far security has lagged behind. There’s a gap between where cloud security budgets currently are and where they should be based on overall security spending. According to Gartner, companies allocate just 3.8 per cent of cloud spending to security, compared to 11 per cent from overall IT budgets. In 2016, budgets for cloud security will outpace overall IT security spending as companies play catch-up.

5. OneDrive will become the most popular cloud file sharing app

Currently in fourth place for data volume uploaded, OneDrive will surge in the rankings as companies move to the cloud with Office 365. Companies have already shown confidence in Microsoft’s cloud platform as a system of record for sensitive information, uploading 1.37 TB per month with 17.4 per cent of files containing sensitive data. There is still a huge growth opportunity, however: 87.3 per cent of organisations have at least 100 employees using Office 365, but 93.2 per cent of employees still use Microsoft on-premises solutions.

Microsoft has invested over one billion dollars in security, and recently released a new Office 365 API for partners to monitor and secure sensitive content. Satya Nadella is taking cloud security seriously, and companies who were previously hesitant will migrate to Microsoft’s cloud offerings.

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