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RSA Trends: Cloud, IoT, Cybersecurity Skills Gap Drive Security Services Demand

February 21, 2017 - Article

By George Hulme

When it comes to the business of information security and the big technology trends that will likely shape the year ahead, the RSA Conference is perhaps the most important source of insights. And with a record attendance of more than 43,000, RSAC 2017 was no exception. (See my top seven startups here.)

The cybersecurity trends that stood out this year were cloud and container security, machine learning, securing the Internet of things, rugged DevOps and the growing managed security services market. Let’s look at a few of these.

AI and Machine Learning: About three-fourths of the vendors on the expo floor touted some level of artificial intelligence or machine-learning capabilities. Currently, however, most of the machine-learning capabilities discussed are just like the Bayesian techniques in spam filters and heuristics commonly found in anti-malware software — but now, new and improved!

Bottom line, much of the talk around AI and machine learning is currently more hype than reality, which makes it difficult for channel partners and end users to understand what’s real and what’s marketing.

Cloud On Track: In contrast, when it comes to cloud, things have hit a tipping point. According to a report published by cloud access security broker Skyhigh Networks and the Cloud Security Alliance, titled "Custom Applications and IaaS Report 2017," the use of cloud in the enterprise has hit an all-time high, and the use of custom apps is growing rapidly. According to the report, enterprises typically run 464 custom applications; yet, information security teams are aware of only 38.4 percent of those apps. Enterprises need partners that can help them identify and effectively manage this shadow IT that is growing in their organizations.

What's more, use of software as a service is growing 10 times as rapidly as traditional IT, and infrastructure as a service is growing at twice that rate. According to the Skyhigh Networks and CSA report, this year, for the first time, infrastructure-as-a-service providers will host more custom applications than are held in corporate data centers.

Current projections on security spending for this and the next few years match the survey results. According to research firm IDC, spending on cloud IT infrastructure will grow 18.2 percent to reach $44.2 billion this year. More than 60 percent of that will be in the public cloud, while private-cloud environments will be just shy of 15 percent.

Additionally, IDC forecasts that worldwide security-related spending will grow just north of 8 percent, and global revenues for all security-related IT spending will reach $102 billion from $74 billion today. 

An Intel Security report released the week of the show, "Building Trust in a Cloudy Sky: The State of Cloud Adoption," also found that enterprises are challenged to keep up with ...

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