IT and security teams now are responsible for more functions, while corporate networks expand their footprint with employees moving to hybrid work and applications moving to cloud platforms.
For instance, 52% of IT security professionals were not responsible for ensuring the security of both on-site and remote workers five years ago but are today. Another 46% have assumed responsibility for managing and securing either applications in public cloud platforms or data in software-as-a-service (SaaS) environments — a function that was not part of their role five years ago, revealed a study commissioned by Cloudflare.
Conducted by Forrester Consulting, the online survey polled 449 IT decision-makers across Asia-Pacific, Europe, North America, and Latin America.
The study also found that 53% of respondents were given the task of ensuring regulatory compliance, which they did not have to manage five years ago.
And the IT professionals are finding it increasingly difficult to handle these new tasks, with 30% describing the managing and securing of public cloud platforms and data in SaaS environment as significantly more complex today than in 2020.
Almost 40% acknowledged that they were losing control of their IT and security environments, amid increasing adoption of applications that often were SaaS-based to support a hybrid workplace.
Some 66% pointed to a spike in the overall number of applications as a top reason for an overall loss of control, while 62% cited an increase in hosting locations for applications. Another 54% attributed the loss of control to a shift from on-premise to cloud and 49% pointed to the transition toward hybrid or remote workforce.
In addition, nearly half of organizations noted an increasing number and types of users, which had expanded beyond humans to include machines and third-party systems. The need to manage this business landscape while ensuring their employees remain productive and secure has led to challenges.
Some 44% of respondents pointed to difficulties in improving or maintaining their team’s productivity as a top challenge, while 44% pointed to having to secure a growing attack surface.
“IT and security teams have been handed a monumental challenge,” said Jen Taylor, Cloudflare’s senior vice president and chief product officer, in a post.
They have to connect both remote and on-premises users with infrastructure, as well as multiple cloud platforms, and SaaS applications, Taylor said, noting that doing so is difficult because most organizations have proprietary infrastructures, unique compliance requirements, and processes and configurations that are not fully compatible.
“Today, the big clouds have built business models on capturing your data, making it hard to move your data,” said Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince. “These captivity clouds will lure you in with one product and make it near impossible to mix-and-match competitive offerings across the cloud space.”
To address these issues, Prince said organizations need a network infrastructure that enables them to easily connect and secure anything, including devices, databases, on-premises hardware, and multiple clouds. Cloudflare is pitching its new “connectivity cloud” offering as a “platform of programmable cloud-native services,” which encompasses a range of security, performance, and developer services.