If there’s a dominant theme that the data from the 2023 Thales Global Cloud Security Study conveys, it’s that the world has become cloud-first, multicloud and that it’s more complex to secure the cloud. The latest edition of the survey of nearly 3000 respondents in 18 countries explores challenges of security in cloud environments that have become a critical element in modern digital infrastructure and services. While there has been improvement in the overall cloud security posture from the previous year, there is still work to be done to simplify and secure cloud operations, especially when it comes to addressing human error. Multicloud operations bring with them operational complexity, something that needs to be tamed to secure cloud environments efficiently and effectively.
There are many reasons that could be pushing enterprises into expanding their portfolio of cloud providers. An interest in additional functionality, a move to diversify operations for greater resilience, partnerships, service availability and especially mergers and acquisitions are all possible causes that may be behind the increasing numbers, but the study results are clear – multicloud use continues to grow. Average number of cloud infrastructure providers (IaaS and PaaS) is up 35% over two years (from 1.68 to 2.26). With each additional cloud provider, there are new security controls and data protection models to understand and implement. Cloud users have to extend their existing operating processes further, while understanding the constraints of the new environment.
While cloud usage is growing for infrastructure, SaaS use is growing as well. More respondents are using SaaS applications to replace onpremises application functionality. In 2021, 16% of respondents reported their enterprises using 51-100 SaaS applications. That number increased to 22% for 2023 respondents. That translates into a shift in the mean number of applications reported in use from 69 in 2021 to 97 in 2023, a 41% increase, growing faster than regular cloud infrastructure