We may not be able to predict the future, but we can certainly foresee the technological trends which will impact it. Any technology, which businesses and governments use to evolve and grow, is going to need securing and defending. Future Trends in technology therefore drive future needs for cybersecurity professionals.
The cloud is changing how businesses and governments alike think about technology investment, particularly when it comes to compute and storage. While the transition to cloud is largely transparent to consumers, it is occurring now. It’s tough to overstate the impact that cloud computing will have on organizations. It allows organizations to purchase only the services that they need without the capital expenditure costs of building their own data centers.
There are numerous cloud providers, but the biggest players are AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and IBM. You’ll hear plenty about multi-cloud solutions. This involves organizations building their infrastructure atop multiple cloud platforms, which obviously requires cloud personnel to learn multiple platforms.
The Venn diagram of people who understand both cybersecurity and cloud computing is pretty small.
AWS summarized the advantages of cloud computing quite succinctly:
Trade capital expense for variable expense
Benefit from massive economies of scale
Stop guessing capacity
Increase speed and agility
Stop spending money running and maintaining data centers
Go global in minutes
Fighting the move to cloud computing is like fighting gravity. You can do it for a while, but in the end most things will move in that direction. Thus cloud computing skills continue to be some of the most in-demand IT skills. In the United States, cloud computing job openings increased 107% between 2016 and 2019.
Defending cloud environments requires knowledge unique to those platforms. While the base principles are similar, cloud security requires specialized training that goes beyond that required for cybersecurity of on-premise networks. Cybersecurity professionals, who have cloud training and experience are in-demand.
Consider this. There’s a shortage of cloud computing professionals and there’s a shortage of cybersecurity professionals. The combined result is that there is a definite shortage of cloud security professionals, just as more and more organizations are moving to the cloud. Security is almost more important in the cloud than it is on-premise. After all, everything is faster in the cloud. That means exploitation can occur faster there too. An insecurely architected cloud environment can—by definition—be exploited by any threat actor with an internet connection. Organizations’ cloud environments need to be designed with security in mind from the beginning.
Here’s the tricky party. There are not many options out there for cloud security training. Vendors like AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform offer their own certification programs, but they are mainly focused on architecture and development. There are not a ton of options out there for cloud security training and certification. The Cloud Security Alliance offers a Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge and the SANS Institute recently started the SANS Cloud Security program. That’s about it though.
For those who dare to venture into cloud security, there are a lot of opportunities out there.
You’re going to need to be a bit creative, when it comes to self-educating on cloud security. A good cloud architecture training course and/or certification is always going to be a good place to start. While a lot of the principles in the cloud are conceptually similar to on-premises, you’ll need some training just to have an intelligent sounding conversation about the cloud.
For those who dare to venture into cloud security, there are a lot of opportunities out there. The Venn diagram of people who understand both cybersecurity and cloud computing is pretty small. Thus cloud security is a cybersecurity niche you can seize onto now. After all, a lot of cybersecurity professionals are so busy with on-premise challenges that they’re not taking the time to learn new cloud skills. Get in there before others realize how hot cloud security is going to be.