I came across this article recently: 81% of companies had a cloud security incident in the last year. I think it’s probably factually incorrect, and that the title should be “81% of companies are aware that they had a cloud security incident last year”. Honestly, it could well be much higher than that. When I’ve worked on IT security audits, I sometimes see statements like “[Company X] experienced no data or privacy breaches over the past 12 months”, and I always send it back, insisting on a change of wording to reflect the fact that all that is known is that the organisation is not aware of any data or privacy breaches over the past 12 months.
The other statistic that really struck me in the article, however, is that the top reported type of incident was “Security incidents during runtime”, with 34% of respondents reporting it. That’s over a third of incidents!
And near the top of concerns was “Privacy/data access issues, such as those from GDPR”, at 31%.
The problem about both of these types of issues is that there’s almost nothing you can do to protect yourself from them in the cloud. Cloud computing (and virtualisation in general) is pretty good at protecting you from other workloads (type 1 isolation) and protecting the host from your workloads (type 2 isolation), but offers nothing to protect your workload from the host (type 3 isolation). If you’re interested in a short introduction to why, please have a look at my article Isolationism – not a 4 letter word (in the cloud).
The good news is that there are solutions out there that do allow you to run sensitive applications (and applications with sensitive data) in the cloud: that’s what Confidential Computing is all about. Confidential Computing protects your data not just at rest (when it’s in storage) and in transit (on the network), but actually at runtime: “data in use”. And it seems that industry is beginning to realise that it’s time to be sitting up and paying attention: the problem is that not enough people know about Confidential Computing.
So – now’s the time to become the expert on Confidential Computing for your organisation, and show your manager, your C-levels and your board how to avoid becoming part of the 81% (or the larger, unknowing percentage). The industry body is the Confidential Computing Consortium, and they have lots of information, but if you want to dive straight in, I encourage you to visit Profian and download one or more of our white papers (there’s one about runtime isolation there, as well). There really is no excuse for not protecting your (and your customers’!) data in use.