How Emerging Cloud Services Models Could Impact Cybersecurity

Published October 23, 2023
by Dave Stenger

Cloud services have revolutionized businesses’ operations by providing flexible, scalable, and cost-effective workflow solutions for computing power, data storage, software applications, and more. As cloud technologies continue to evolve, new service models are emerging that offer those in the private sector even greater benefits and opportunities. At the same time, these emerging cloud services models can also introduce new challenges, potential risks, cloud security threats, and considerations for maintaining a strong cybersecurity posture.

Emerging cloud service models can significantly impact cybersecurity positively and negatively. Some common risks of cloud computing include service outages, data breaches, data loss, and regulatory compliance issues, all of which can cause significant financial or reputational damage. Let’s explore some of the ways various cloud service models can impact an organization’s cybersecurity standing.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

SaaS applications often include built-in security, with regular updates and patches managed by the provider, ensuring organizations are using the latest and most secure software versions. Businesses can passively benefit from new cybersecurity measures implemented by the SaaS provider without investing significant resources in managing and updating any software.

However, because of their growing popularity, SaaS applications can become a target for malicious cyberattacks. When users’ sensitive private data is stored within a shared environment, concerns about access control and potential data breaches arise. It’s important for businesses to carefully evaluate security measures implemented by SaaS providers and ensure proper security controls are in place to protect their data.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

PaaS solutions offer a higher level of abstraction, simplifying application development and deployment for end users. Cloud providers often handle many security aspects, such as runtime protection and patch management, reducing customer burden. Businesses can rely on the security measures provided by the platform, which can save them time and resources in implementing these measures themselves.

One negative cybersecurity impact of PaaS is that users may become overly reliant on the security measures provided by the platform, leading to complacency in implementing additional security controls. Additionally, there is a risk of exposure due to vulnerabilities introduced in custom application code. Businesses must be aware of these risks and ensure cybersecurity measures are in place to protect their applications and data.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

One of the positive impacts of IaaS is that it allows businesses to outsource hardware and infrastructure management, freeing up resources to focus on securing applications and data while improving security posture through robust physical security measures and network protections. By relying on the cloud provider’s expertise in infrastructure management, businesses can benefit from the security measures implemented by the provider.

However, misconfigurations and insecure implementations are common challenges in IaaS. Since the responsibility for securing the operating system, applications, and data rests with the customer, security gaps can form if these aspects are not managed properly.

Function as a Service (FaaS)

While servers are still present, with FaaS (also known as “serverless computing”) users don’t have to be involved with the underlying infrastructure’s technicalities, configurations, and management. Offloading infrastructure management to the cloud provider can be advantageous as developers can focus on coding or ensuring underlying systems are secure.

However, with the shift in responsibility for infrastructure management to the cloud provider, ensuring proper authorization and authentication for function execution becomes critical. Improperly configured serverless functions can introduce security vulnerabilities. It is imperative to ensure that developers properly configure access controls and implement robust security measures to protect against potential breaches.

Multi-Cloud & Hybrid Cloud Environments

Once companies were forced to choose solely between public or private cloud environments, but they now have hybrid options and multi-cloud solutions. Quickly or frequently accessed data can be stored in public clouds, and critical or sensitive information can be kept in private cloud environments with additional security. Multi-cloud and hybrid cloud setups provide redundancies and mitigate the risk of vendor lock-in. Organizations can ensure stronger business continuity and better recovery by distributing workloads across multiple cloud providers or combining on-premises infrastructure with public cloud resources. In an outage or service disruption from one provider, workloads can seamlessly transition to another provider or the on-premises environment.

However, integrating multiple cloud services and environments introduces many complexities. Each cloud provider may have different security policies and controls, making it challenging to configure and monitor security measures across different clouds consistently. Organizations must invest in robust security policies and tools to effectively manage and monitor security across their multi-cloud and hybrid-cloud environments.

Learn More about RAMPxchange

Today’s cutting-edge future of cloud computing is an exciting frontier. However, as organizations adopt emerging cloud services models, they must understand the potential impacts on cybersecurity. To find the right partners, products, and “as a service” solutions for your business, trust the verified members of the RAMPxchange marketplace. Reach out to learn more about our coalition of cybersecurity-minded providers and join RAMPxchange today.