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Posts tagged ‘Amazon Web Services’

The Truth About Privileged Access Security On AWS And Other Public Clouds

 

Bottom Line: Amazon’s Identity and Access Management (IAM) centralizes identity roles, policies and Config Rules yet doesn’t go far enough to provide a Zero Trust-based approach to Privileged Access Management (PAM) that enterprises need today.

AWS provides a baseline level of support for Identity and Access Management at no charge as part of their AWS instances, as do other public cloud providers. Designed to provide customers with the essentials to support IAM, the free version often doesn’t go far enough to support PAM at the enterprise level. To AWS’s credit, they continue to invest in IAM features while fine-tuning how Config Rules in their IAM can create alerts using AWS Lambda. AWS’s native IAM can also integrate at the API level to HR systems and corporate directories, and suspend users who violate access privileges.

In short, native IAM capabilities offered by AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and more provides enough functionality to help an organization get up and running to control access in their respective homogeneous cloud environments. Often they lack the scale to fully address the more challenging, complex areas of IAM and PAM in hybrid or multi-cloud environments.

The Truth about Privileged Access Security on Cloud Providers Like AWS

The essence of the Shared Responsibility Model is assigning responsibility for the security of the cloud itself including the infrastructure, hardware, software, and facilities to AWS and assign the securing of operating systems, platforms, and data to customers. The AWS version of the Shared Responsibility Model, shown below, illustrates how Amazon has defined securing the data itself, management of the platform, applications and how they’re accessed, and various configurations as the customers’ responsibility:

AWS provides basic IAM support that protects its customers against privileged credential abuse in a homogenous AWS-only environment. Forrester estimates that 80% of data breaches involve compromised privileged credentials, and a recent survey by Centrify found that 74% of all breaches involved privileged access abuse.

The following are the four truths about privileged access security on AWS (and, generally, other public cloud providers):

  1. Customers of AWS and other public cloud providers should not fall for the myth that cloud service providers can completely protect their customized and highly individualized cloud instances. As the Shared Responsibility Model above illustrates, AWS secures the core areas of their cloud platform, including infrastructure and hosting services. AWS customers are responsible for securing operating systems, platforms, and data and most importantly, privileged access credentials. Organizations need to consider the Shared Responsibility Model the starting point on creating an enterprise-wide security strategy with a Zero Trust Security framework being the long-term goal. AWS’s IAM is an interim solution to the long-term challenge of achieving Zero Trust Privilege across an enterprise ecosystem that is going to become more hybrid or multi-cloud as time goes on.
  2. Despite what many AWS integrators say, adopting a new cloud platform doesn’t require a new Privileged Access Security model. Many organizations who have adopted AWS and other cloud platforms are using the same Privileged Access Security Model they have in place for their existing on-premises systems. The truth is the same Privileged Access Security Model can be used for on-premises and IaaS implementations. Even AWS itself has stated that conventional security and compliance concepts still apply in the cloud. For an overview of the most valuable best practices for securing AWS instances, please see my previous post, 6 Best Practices For Increasing Security In AWS In A Zero Trust World.
  3. Hybrid cloud architectures that include AWS instances don’t need an entirely new identity infrastructure and can rely on advanced technologies, including Multi-Directory Brokering. Creating duplicate identities increases cost, risk, and overhead and the burden of requiring additional licenses. Existing directories (such as Active Directory) can be extended through various deployment options, each with their strengths and weaknesses. Centrify, for example, offers Multi-Directory Brokering to use whatever preferred directory already exists in an organization to authenticate users in hybrid and multi-cloud environments. And while AWS provides key pairs for access to Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances, their security best practices recommend a holistic approach should be used across on-premises and multi-cloud environments, including Active Directory or LDAP in the security architecture.
  4. It’s possible to scale existing Privileged Access Management systems in use for on-premises systems today to hybrid cloud platforms that include AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and other platforms. There’s a tendency on the part of system integrators specializing in cloud security to oversell cloud service providers’ native IAM and PAM capabilities, saying that a hybrid cloud strategy requires separate systems. Look for system integrators and experienced security solutions providers who can use a common security model already in place to move workloads to new AWS instances.

Conclusion

The truth is that Identity and Access Management solutions built into public cloud offerings such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud are stop-gap solutions to a long-term security challenge many organizations are facing today. Instead of relying only on a public cloud provider’s IAM and security solutions, every organization’s cloud security goals need to include a holistic approach to identity and access management and not create silos for each cloud environment they are using. While AWS continues to invest in their IAM solution, organizations need to prioritize protecting their privileged access credentials – the “keys to the kingdom” – that if ever compromised would allow hackers to walk in the front door of the most valuable systems an organization has. The four truths defined in this article are essential for building a Zero Trust roadmap for any organization that will scale with them as they grow. By taking a “never trust, always verify, enforce least privilege” strategy when it comes to their hybrid- and multi-cloud strategies, organizations can alleviate costly breaches that harm the long-term operations of any business.

AWS Certifications Increase Tech Pay Up To $12K A Year

AWS Certifications Increase Tech Pay Up To $12K A Year

  • AWS and Google certifications are among the most lucrative in North America, paying average salaries of $129,868 and $147,357 respectively.
  • Cross-certifying on AWS is providing a $12K salary bump to IT professionals who already have Citrix and Red Hat/Linux certifications today
  • Globally, four of the five top-paying certifications are in cloud computing.

These and many other insights of which certifications provide the highest salaries by region of the world are from the recently published Global Knowledge 2019 IT Skills and Salary ReportThe report is downloadable here (27 pp., PDF, free, opt-in). The methodology is based on 12,271 interviews across non-management IT staffs (29% of interviews), mid-level professionals including managers and team leads (43%), and senior-level and executive roles (28%) across four global regions. For additional details regarding the study’s methodology, please see page 24 of the report.

Key insights from the report include the following:

  • Cross-certifying on AWS is providing a $12K salary bump to IT professionals who already have Citrix and Red Hat/Linux certifications. Citrix certifications pay an average salary of $109,546 and those earning an AWS certification see a $12,339 salary bump on average. Red Hat/Linux certification-based jobs pay an average of $113,165 and are seeing an average salary bump of $12,553.  Cisco-certified IT professionals who gain AWS certification increase their salaries on average from $101,533 to $111,869, gaining a 10.2% increase. The following chart compares the salary bump AWS certifications are providing to IT professionals with seven of the more popular certifications (please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading).

  • AWS and Google certifications are among the most lucrative in North America, paying average salaries of $129,868 and $147,357 while the most popular are cybersecurity, governance, compliance, and policy. 27% of all respondents to Global Knowledge’s survey have at least one certification in this category. Nearly 18% are ITIL certified. In North American, the most popular certification categories beyond cybersecurity are CompTIA, Microsoft, and Cisco. The following table from the report provides an overview of salary by certification category (please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading).

  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate is the most popular AWS certification today, with 72% of respondents having achieved its requirements. Certified Solutions Architect – Associate leads the top five most commonly held AWS certifications today according to the survey. AWS Certified Developer – Associate (33%), AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate (24%), AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional (16%) and AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner round out the top five most common AWS certifications across the 12,271 global respondents to the Global Knowledge survey.

10 Charts That Will Change Your Perspective Of Amazon’s Patent Growth

10 Charts That Will Change Your Perspective Of Amazon's Patent Growth

  • Since 2010 Amazon has grown its patent portfolio from less than 1,000 active patents in 2010 to nearly 10,000 in 2019, a ten-fold increase in less than a decade.
  • Amazon heavily cites Microsoft, IBM, and Alphabet, with 39%, 32% and 28% of Amazon’s total Patent Asset Index
  • Amazon’s patent portfolio is dominated by Cloud Computing, with the majority of the patents contributing to AWS’ current and future services roadmap. AWS achieved 41% year-over-year revenue growth in the latest fiscal quarter, reaching $7.6B in revenue.

Patents are fascinating because they provide a glimpse into potential plans, and roadmaps tech companies are considering. Amazon has one of the most interesting patent portfolios today that encompass a wide spectrum of technologies, from aircraft technology, drones, cloud computing, to machine learning. Interested in learning more about Amazon’s unique patent portfolio, I contacted PatentSight, a LexisNexis company, one of the leading providers of patent analytics and provider of the PatentSight analytics platform used for creating the ten charts shown below.

  • Amazon patents grew at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of above 35% between 2010 and 2019. PatentSight’s analysis shows that Amazon’s patent portfolio has increased tenfold in the last decade, and is comprised entirely of organic patents with only a small percentage gained from acquisitions. PatentSight also finds that Amazon’s patents have a falling average quality as measured by their Competitive Impact score shown on the vertical axis of the chart below. As Amazon’s patent portfolio has grown, there has been a downward trend of quality. William Mansfield, Head of Consulting and Customer Success at LexisNexis PatentSight explains why. “To maintain a high quality when growing the portfolio is difficult, as each patent would need to be equally as good as or better than the previous,” he said. Mr. Mansfield’s analysis found that Amazon’s portfolio has an average Competitive Impact of 2 today, double the PatentSight database average of 1.

  • Amazon’s patent portfolio is unique in that 100% of it is protected in the U.S. “The protection strategy of Amazon is also uncommon. While it can be the case that US firms tend to be US-centric, Amazon is an extreme case,” said William Mansfield. It’s surprising how many Amazon patents are active only in the USA (86%) and invented in the USA and active only in the USA (81%). William explained that “one factor for this US-centricity could be the great acceptance of software patents in the USA, we do also see high US-only filing for other tech giants, but are a level of around 60% vs. Amazon’s 86%.”

  • PatentSight found that the majority of the Amazon portfolio falls in the 2nd decile of Competitive Impact (top 20% – 10%). Comparable technology-based organizations have a higher density of patents in the top 10% of Competitive Impact, which is another unusual aspect regarding Amazon’s patent growth. “This is unusual compared to other big tech companies which have more in the top 10%, it could be Amazon is holding onto more lower value assets than required,” William Mansfield remarked.

  • Amazon’s patent citations most often cite Microsoft, IBM, and Alphabet, with 39%, 32% and 28% of Amazon’s total Patent Asset Index. Interesting that PatentSight’s analysis finds the reciprocal is not the case. A much smaller percentage of companies cite Amazon in return. This can be attributed to a few other firms having the breadth and depth of patent development that Amazon does today.  PatentSight found that less than 10% of their respective portfolios even mention Amazon.  William Mansfield explains that “one factor here is the larger size of these companies, vs. Amazon. However, even in absolute terms, Microsoft and IBM cite Amazon much less than the other way round. However, citation value is close to equal in absolute terms between Amazon and Alphabet.”

  • Relying on patents to keep AWS’ rapid growth going appears to be Amazon’s high priority patent strategy today. As can be seen from the portfolio below, Cloud Computing patents dominate Amazon’s patent portfolio today. In the latest fiscal quarter ending March 31, 2019, AWS delivered $7.9B in revenue and$2.2B in operating income, growing 41% year-over-year. “Amazon’s ongoing developments in alternative delivery methods in Urban Logistics and Drones are noteworthy with Drones being one area of particular strength in the portfolio as seen from the high Competitive Impact, despite the smaller portfolio size,” notes William Mansfield.

  • Amazon’s prioritization of cloud computing, AI, and machine learning patents is evident when 18 years of patent history is compared. The proliferation of AI and machine learning-based services on the AWS platform is apparent in the trend line starting in 2014. The success of Amazon’s SageMaker machine learning platform is a case in point. Amazon SageMaker enables developers and data scientists to quickly and easily build, train, and deploy machine learning models at scale.

  • Amazon is already one of the top 10 patent holders in Drone technology, just behind Alphabet and Toyota Motors. PatentSight defines Drone technology as encompassing aviation, autonomous robots, and autonomous driving. Amazon’s rapid ascent in this area is attributable to the logistics and supply chain efficiencies possible when Drones and their related technologies are applied to their supply chain’s more complex challenges.

  • PatentSight finds that FinTech is an area of long-standing strength in the Amazon patent portfolio, attribute to their payment systems being the backbone of their e-commerce business. Reflecting how diverse their business model has become, Amazon is now one of the top 15 patent holders in this area due to cloud computing, AI, and machine learning taking precedence. “FinTech is a highly competitive field with many established players, and while Amazon is not in the top 10, but top 15 players, it’s still an impressive achievement,” said William Mansfield.

  • Amazon’s patent portfolio in speech recognition encompasses Alexa, its related patents, and Amazon Lex, an AWS service used for creating conversational interfaces for applications. Alphabet, Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung are patent leaders, according to PatentSight’s analysis. The fact that Amazon is in the top 10 speaks to the level of activity and patent production going on in the Alexa research and development and product teams.

  • Amazon’s patent strategy is eclectic yet always anchored to cloud computing to make AWS the platform of choice. The following selected patens reflect how broad the Amazon patent portfolio is. What each share in common is a reliance on AWS as the platform to ensure service consistency, reliability, and scale. An example of this is their patents Video Game Streaming.

The State Of Cloud Business Intelligence, 2019

  • An all-time high 48% of organizations say cloud BI is either “critical” or “very important” to their operations in 2019.
  • Marketing & Sales place the greatest importance on cloud BI in 2019.
  • Small organizations of 100 employees or less are the most enthusiastic, perennial adopters and supporters of cloud BI.
  • The most preferred cloud BI providers are Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

These and other insights are from Dresner Advisory Services’ 2019 Cloud Computing and Business Intelligence Market Study. The 8th annual report focuses on end-user deployment trends and attitudes toward cloud computing and business intelligence (BI), defined as the technologies, tools, and solutions that rely on one or more cloud deployment models. What makes the study noteworthy is the depth of focus around the perceived benefits and barriers for cloud BI, the importance of cloud BI, and current and planned usage.

“We began tracking and analyzing the cloud BI market dynamic in 2012 when adoption was nascent. Since that time, deployments of public cloud BI applications are increasing, with organizations citing substantial benefits versus traditional on-premises implementations,” said Howard Dresner, founder, and chief research officer at Dresner Advisory Services. Please see page 10 of the study for specifics on the methodology.

Key insights gained from the report include the following:

  • An all-time high 48% of organizations say cloud BI is either “critical” or “very important” to their operations in 2019. Organizations have more confidence in cloud BI than ever before, according to the study’s results. 2019 is seeing a sharp upturn in cloud BI’s importance, driven by the trust and credibility organizations have for accessing, analyzing and storing sensitive company data on cloud platforms running BI applications.

  • Marketing & Sales place the greatest importance on cloud BI in 2019. Business Intelligence Competency Centers (BICC) and IT departments have an above-average interest in cloud BI as well, with their combined critical and very important scores being over 50%. Dresner’s research team found that Operations had the greatest duality of scores, with critical and not important being reported at comparable levels for this functional area. Dresner’s analysis indicates Operations departments often rely on cloud BI to benchmark and improve existing processes while re-engineering legacy process areas.

  • Small organizations of 100 employees or less are the most enthusiastic, perennial adopters and supporters of cloud BI. As has been the case in previous years’ studies, small organizations are leading all others in adopting cloud BI systems and platforms.  Perceived importance declines only slightly in mid-sized organizations (101-1,000 employees) and some large organizations (1,001-5,000 employees), where minimum scores of important offset declines in critical.

  • The retail/wholesale industry considers cloud BI the most important, followed by technology and advertising industries. Organizations competing in the retail/wholesale industry see the greatest value in adopting cloud BI to gain insights into improving their customer experiences and streamlining supply chains. Technology and advertising industries are industries that also see cloud BI as very important to their operations. Just over 30% of respondents in the education industry see cloud BI as very important.

  • R&D departments are the most prolific users of cloud BI systems today, followed by Marketing & Sales. The study highlights that R&D leading all other departments in existing cloud BI use reflects broader potential use cases being evaluated in 2019. Marketing & Sales is the next most prolific department using cloud BI systems.

  • Finance leads all others in their adoption of private cloud BI platforms, rivaling IT in their lack of adoption for public clouds. R&D departments are the next most likely to be relying on private clouds currently. Marketing and Sales are the most likely to take a balanced approach to private and public cloud adoption, equally adopting private and public cloud BI.

  • Advanced visualization, support for ad-hoc queries, personalized dashboards, and data integration/data quality tools/ETL tools are the four most popular cloud BI requirements in 2019. Dresner’s research team found the lowest-ranked cloud BI feature priorities in 2019 are social media analysis, complex event processing, big data, text analytics, and natural language analytics. This years’ analysis of most and least popular cloud BI requirements closely mirror traditional BI feature requirements.

  • Marketing and Sales have the greatest interest in several of the most-required features including personalized dashboards, data discovery, data catalog, collaborative support, and natural language analytics. Marketing & Sales also have the highest level of interest in the ability to write to transactional applications. R&D leads interest in ad-hoc query, big data, text analytics, and social media analytics.

  • The Retail/Wholesale industry leads interest in several features including ad-hoc query, dashboards, data integration, data discovery, production reporting, search interface, data catalog, and ability to write to transactional systems. Technology organizations give the highest score to advanced visualization and end-user self-service. Healthcare respondents prioritize data mining, end-user data blending, and location analytics, the latter likely for asset tracking purposes. In-memory support scores highest with Financial Services respondent organizations.

  • Marketing & Sales rely on a broader base of third party data connectors to get greater value from their cloud BI systems than their peers. The greater the scale, scope and depth of third-party connectors and integrations, the more valuable marketing and sales data becomes. Relying on connectors for greater insights into sales productivity & performance, social media, online marketing, online data storage, and simple productivity improvements are common in Marketing & Sales. Finance requiring integration to Salesforce reflects the CRM applications’ success transcending customer relationships into advanced accounting and financial reporting.

  • Subscription models are now the most preferred licensing strategy for cloud BI and have progressed over the last several years due to lower risk, lower entry costs, and lower carrying costs. Dresner’s research team found that subscription license and free trial (including trial and buy, which may also lead to subscription) are the two most preferred licensing strategies by cloud BI customers in 2019. Dresner Advisory Services predicts new engagements will be earned using subscription models, which is now seen as, at a minimum, important to approximately 90% of the base of respondents.

  • 60% of organizations adopting cloud BI rank Amazon Web Services first, and 85% rank AWS first or second. 43% choose Microsoft Azure first and 69% pick Azure first or second. Google Cloud closely trails Azure as the first choice among users but trails more widely after that. IBM Bluemix is the first choice of 12% of organizations responding in 2019.

Public Cloud Soaring To $331B By 2022 According To Gartner

Gartner is predicting the worldwide public cloud services market will grow from $182.4B in 2018 to $214.3B in 2019, a 17.5% jump in just a year. Photo credit: Getty

  • Gartner predicts the worldwide public cloud service market will grow from $182.4B in 2018 to $331.2B in 2022, attaining a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.6%.
  • Spending on Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) is predicted to increase from $30.5B in 2018 to $38.9B in 2019, growing 27.5% in a year.
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) spending is predicted to grow from $15.6B in 2018 to $19B in 2019, growing 21.8% in a year.
  • Business Intelligence, Supply Chain Management, Project and Portfolio Management and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) will see the fastest growth in end-user spending on SaaS applications through 2022.

Gartner’s annual forecast of worldwide public cloud service revenue was published last week, and it includes many interesting insights into how the research firm sees the current and future landscape of public cloud computing. Gartner is predicting the worldwide public cloud services market will grow from $182.4B in 2018 to $214.3B in 2019, a 17.5% jump in just a year. By the end of 2019, more than 30% of technology providers’ new software investments will shift from cloud-first to cloud-only, further reducing license-based software spending and increasing subscription-based cloud revenue.

The following graphic compares worldwide public cloud service revenue by segment from 2018 to 2022. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.

Comparing Compound Annual Growth Rates (CAGRs) of worldwide public cloud service revenue segments from 2018 to 2022 reflects IaaS’ anticipated rapid growth. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.

Gartner provided the following data table this week as part of their announcement:

  • Business Intelligence, Supply Chain Management, Project and Portfolio Management and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) will see the fastest growth in end-user spending on SaaS applications through 2022.  Gartner is predicting end-user spending on Business Intelligence SaaS applications will grow by 23.3% between 2017 and 2022.  Spending on SaaS-based Supply Chain Management applications will grow by 21.2% between 2017 and 2022. Project and Portfolio Management SaaS-based applications will grow by 20.9% between 2017 and 2022. End-user spending on SaaS ERP systems will grow by 19.2% between 2017 and 2022.

Sources: Gartner Forecasts Worldwide Public Cloud Revenue to Grow 17.5 Percent in 2019 and Forecast: Public Cloud Services, Worldwide, 2016-2022, 4Q18 Update (Gartner client access)

6 Best Practices For Increasing Security In AWS In A Zero Trust World

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) reported $6.6B in revenue for Q3, 2018 and $18.2B for the first three fiscal quarters of 2018.
  • AWS revenue achieved an impressive 46% year-over-year net sales growth between Q3, 2017 and Q3, 2018 and 49% year-over-year growth for the first three quarters of the year.
  • AWS’ 34% market share is bigger than its next four competitors combined with the majority of customers taken from small-to-medium sized cloud operators according to Synergy Research.
  • The many announcements made at AWS Re:Invent this year reflect a growing focus on hybrid cloud computing, security, and compliance.

Enterprises are rapidly accelerating the pace at which they’re moving workloads to Amazon Web Services (AWS) for greater cost, scale and speed advantages. And while AWS leads all others as the enterprise public cloud platform of choice, they and all Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) providers rely on a Shared Responsibility Model where customers are responsible for securing operating systems, platforms and data.  In the case of AWS, they take responsibility for the security of the cloud itself including the infrastructure, hardware, software, and facilities. The AWS version of the Shared Responsibility Model shown below illustrates how Amazon has defined securing the data itself, management of the platform, applications and how they’re accessed, and various configurations  as the customers’ responsibility:

Included in the list of items where the customer is responsible for security “in” the cloud is identity and access management, including Privileged Access Management (PAM) to secure the most critical infrastructure and data.

Increasing Security for IaaS in a Zero Trust World

Stolen privileged access credentials are the leading cause of breaches today. Forrester found that 80% of data breaches are initiated using privileged credentials, and 66% of organizations still rely on manual methods to manage privileged accounts. And while they are the leading cause of breaches, they’re often overlooked — not only to protect the traditional enterprise infrastructure — but especially when transitioning to the cloud.

Both for on-premise and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), it’s not enough to rely on password vaults alone anymore. Organizations need to augment their legacy Privileged Access Management strategies to include brokering of identities, multi-factor authentication enforcement and “just enough, just-in-time” privilege, all while securing remote access and monitoring of all privileged sessions. They also need to verify who is requesting access, the context of the request, and the risk of the access environment. These are all essential elements of a Zero Trust Privilege strategy, with Centrify being an early leader in this space.

6 Ways To Increase Security in AWS

The following are six best practices for increasing security in AWS and are based on the Zero Trust Privilege model:

  1. Vault AWS Root Accounts and Federate Access for AWS Console

Given how powerful the AWS root user account is, it’s highly recommended that the password for the AWS root account be vaulted and only used in emergencies. Instead of local AWS IAM accounts and access keys, use centralized identities (e.g., Active Directory) and enable federated login. By doing so, you obviate the need for long-lived access keys.

  1. Apply a Common Security Model and Consolidate Identities

When it comes to IaaS adoption, one of the inhibitors for organizations is the myth that the IaaS requires a unique security model, as it resides outside the traditional network perimeter. However, conventional security and compliance concepts still apply in the cloud. Why would you need to treat an IaaS environment any different than your own data center? Roles and responsibilities are still the same for your privileged users. Thus, leverage what you’ve already got for a common security infrastructure spanning on-premises and cloud resources. For example, extend your Active Directory into the cloud to control AWS role assignment and grant the right amount of privilege.

  1. Ensure Accountability

Shared privileged accounts (e.g., AWS EC2 administrator) are anonymous. Ensure 100% accountability by having users log in with their individual accounts and elevate privilege as required. Manage entitlements centrally from Active Directory, mapping roles, and groups to AWS roles.

  1. Enforce Least Privilege Access

Grant users just enough privilege to complete the task at hand in the AWS Management Console, AWS services, and on the AWS instances. Implement cross-platform privilege management for AWS Management Console, Windows and Linux instances.

  1. Audit Everything

Log and monitor both authorized and unauthorized user sessions to AWS instances. Associate all activity to an individual, and report on both privileged activity and access rights. It’s also a good idea to use AWS CloudTrail and Amazon CloudWatch to monitor all API activity across all AWS instances and your AWS account.

  1. Apply Multi-Factor Authentication Everywhere

Thwart in-progress attacks and get higher levels of user assurance. Consistently implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) for AWS service management, on login and privilege elevation for AWS instances, or when checking out vaulted passwords.

Conclusion

One of the most common reasons AWS deployments are being breached is a result of privileged access credentials being compromised. The six best practices mentioned in this post are just the beginning; there are many more strategies for increasing the security in AWS.  Leveraging a solid Zero Trust Privilege platform, organizations can eliminate shared Amazon EC2 key pairs, using auditing to define accountability to the individual user account level, execute on least privilege access across every login, AWS console, and AWS instance in use, enforce MFA and enable a common security model.

Where Cloud Computing Jobs Will Be In 2019

  • $146,350 is the median salary for cloud computing professionals in 2018.
  • There are 50,248 cloud computing positions available in the U.S. today available from 3,701 employers and 101,913 open positions worldwide today.
  • Oracle (NYSE: ORCL), Deloitte and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) have the most open cloud computing jobs today.
  • Java, Linux, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Software Development, DevOps, Docker and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) are the most in-demand skills.
  • Washington DC, Arlington-Alexandria, VA, San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA, New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY, San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA, Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL, are the top five cities where cloud computing jobs are today and will be in 2019.

Demand for cloud computing expertise continues to increase exponentially and will accelerate in 2019. To better understand the current and future direction of cloud computing hiring trends, I utilized Gartner TalentNeuron. Gartner TalentNeuron is an online talent market intelligence portal with real-time labor market insights, including custom role analytics and executive-ready dashboards and presentations. Gartner TalentNeuron also supports a range of strategic initiatives covering talent, location, and competitive intelligence.

Gartner TalentNeuron maintains a database of more than one billion unique job listings and is collecting hiring trend data from more than 150 countries across six continents, resulting in 143GB of raw data being acquired daily. In response to many Forbes readers’ requests for recommendations on where to find a job in cloud computing, I contacted Gartner to gain access to TalentNeuron.

Key takeaways include the following:

  • $146,350 is the median salary for cloud computing professionals in 2018.  Cloud computing salaries have soared in the last two years, with 2016’s median salary being $124,300 a jump of $22,050. The following graphic shows the distribution of salaries for 50,248 cloud computing jobs currently available in the U.S. alone. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.

  • The Hiring Scale is 78 for jobs that require cloud computing skill sets, with the average job post staying open 46 days. The higher the Hiring Scale score, the more difficult it is for employers to find the right applicants for open positions. Nationally an average job posting for an IT professional with cloud computing expertise is open 46 days. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.

  • Washington, DC – Arlington-Alexandria, VA leads the top twenty metro areas that have the most open positions for cloud computing professionals today. Mapping the distribution of job volume, salary range, candidate supply, posting period and hiring scale by Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) or states and counties are supported by Gartner TalentNeuron.  The following graphic is showing the distribution of talent or candidate supply.  These are the markets with the highest supply of talent with cloud computing skills.

  • Oracle (NYSE: ORCL), Deloitte and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) have the most open cloud computing jobs today. IBM, VMWare, Capital One, Microsoft, KPMG, Salesforce, PricewaterhouseCoopers, U.S. Bank, and Booz Allen Hamilton, Raytheon Corporation, SAP, Capgemini, Google, Leidos and Nutanix all have over 100 open cloud computing positions today.

2018 Roundup Of Cloud Computing Forecasts And Market Estimates

Cloud computing platforms and applications are proliferating across enterprises today, serving as the IT infrastructure driving new digital businesses. The following roundup of cloud computing forecasts and market estimates reflect a maturing global market for cloud services, with proven scale, speed and security to support new business models.

CIOs who are creating compelling business cases that rely on cloud platforms as a growth catalyst is the architects enabling these new business initiatives to succeed. The era of CIO strategist has arrived. Key takeaways include the following:

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) accounted for 55% of the company’s operating profit in Q2, 2018, despite contributing only 12% to the company’s net sales. In Q1, 2018 services accounted for 40% of Amazon’s revenue, up from 26% three years earlier. Source: Cloud Business Drives Amazon’s Profits, Statista, July 27, 2018.

  • 80% of enterprises are both running apps on or experimenting with Amazon Web Services (AWS) as their preferred cloud platform. 67% of enterprises are running apps on (45%) and experimenting on (22%) the Microsoft Azure platform. 18% of enterprises are using Google’s Cloud Platform for applications today, with 23% evaluating the platform for future use. RightScale’s 2018 survey was included in the original data set Statista used to create the comparison. Source: Statista, Current and planned usage of public cloud platform services running applications worldwide in 2018. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier viewing.

  • Enterprise adoption of Microsoft Azure increased significantly from 43% to 58% attaining a 35% CAGR while AWS adoption increased from 59% to 68%. Enterprise respondents with future projects (the combination of experimenting and planning to use) show the most interest in Google (41%). Source: RightScale 2018 State of the Cloud Report. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier viewing.

  • Wikibon projects the True Private Cloud (TPC) worldwide market will experience a compound annual growth rate of 29.2%, reaching $262.4B by 2027. The firm predicts TPC growth will far outpace the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) growth of 15.2% over the same period. A true private cloud is distinguished from a private cloud by the completeness of the integration of all aspects of the offering, including performance characteristics such as price, agility, and service breadth. Please see the source link for additional details on TPC. Source: Wikibon’s 2018 True Private Cloud Forecast and Market Shares. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier viewing.

  • Quality Control, Computer-Aided Engineering, and Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) are the three most widely adopted systems in the cloud by discrete and process The survey also found that 60% of discrete and process manufacturers say their end users prefer the cloud over on-premise. Source: Amazon Web Services & IDC: Industrial Customers Are Ready For The Cloud – Now (PDF, 13 pp., no opt-in, sponsored by AWS). Please click on the graphic to expand for easier viewing.

  • The Worldwide Public Cloud Services Market is projected to grow by 17.3 3% in 2019 to total $206.2B, up from $175.8B in 2018 according to Gartner. In 2018 the market will grow a healthy 21% up from $145.3B in 2017 according to the research and advisory firm. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) will be the fastest-growing segment of the market, forecasted to grow by 27.6% in 2019 to reach $39.5B, up from $31B in 2018. By 2022, Gartner expects that 90% of enterprises purchasing public cloud IaaS will do so from an integrated IaaS and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and will use both the IaaS and PaaS capabilities from that provider. Source: Gartner Forecasts Worldwide Public Cloud Revenue to Grow 17.3 Percent in 2019.

  • More than $1.3T in IT spending will be directly or indirectly affected by the shift to cloud by 2022. 28% of spending within key enterprise IT markets will shift to the cloud by 2022, up from 19% in 2018. The largest cloud shift before 2018 occurred in application software, particularly driven by customer relationship management (CRM) software, with Salesforce dominating as the market leader. CRM has already reached a tipping point where a higher proportion of spending occurs in the cloud than in traditional software. Source: Gartner Says 28 Percent of Spending in Key IT Segments Will Shift to the Cloud by 2022.

  • IDC predicts worldwide Public Cloud Services Spending will reach $180B in 2018, an increase of 23.7% over 2017. According to IDC, the market is expected to achieve a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.9% with public cloud services spending totaling $277B in 2021. The industries that are forecast to spend the most on public cloud services in 2018 are discrete manufacturing ($19.7B), professional services ($18.1B), and banking ($16.7B). The process manufacturing and retail industries are also expected to spend more than $10B each on public cloud services in 2018. These five industries will remain at the top in 2021 due to their continued investment in public cloud solutions. The industries that will see the fastest spending growth over the five-year forecast period are professional services (24.4% CAGR), telecom (23.3% CAGR), and banking (23.0% CAGR). Source: Worldwide Public Cloud Services Spending Forecast to Reach $160 Billion This Year, According to IDC.
  • Discrete Manufacturing is predicted to lead all industries on public cloud spending of $19.7B in 2018 according to IDC. Additional industries forecast to spend the most on public cloud services this year include Professional Services at $18.1B and Banking at $16.7B. The process manufacturing and retail industries are also expected to spend more than $10B each on public cloud services in 2018. According to IDC, these five industries will remain at the top in 2021 due to their continued investment in public cloud solutions. The industries that will see the fastest spending growth over the five-year forecast period are Professional Services with a 24.4% CAGR, Telecommunications with a 23.3% CAGR, and banking with a 23% CAGR. Source: Worldwide Public Cloud Services Spending Forecast to Reach $160 Billion This Year, According to IDC.

Additional Resources:

By 2020 83% Of Enterprise Workloads Will Be In The Cloud

  • Digitally transforming enterprises (63%) is the leading factor driving greater public cloud engagement or adoption today.
  • 66% of IT professionals say security is their most significant concern in adopting an enterprise cloud computing strategy.
  • 50% of IT professionals believe artificial intelligence and machine learning are playing a role in cloud computing adoption today, growing to 67% by 2020.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning will be the leading catalyst driving greater cloud computing adoption by 2020.

These insights and findings are from LogicMonitor’s Cloud Vision 2020: The Future of the Cloud Study (PDF, free, opt-in, 9 pp.). The survey is based on interviews with approximately 300 influencers LogicMonitor interviewed in November 2017. Respondents include Amazon Web Services AWS re:Invent 2017 attendees, industry analysts, media, consultants and vendor strategists. The study’s primary goal is to explore the landscape for cloud services in 2020. While the study’s findings are not statistically significant, they do provide a fascinating glimpse into current and future enterprise cloud computing strategies.

Key takeaways include the following:

  • 83% Of Enterprise Workloads Will Be In The Cloud By 2020. LogicMonitor’s survey is predicting that 41% of enterprise workloads will be run on public cloud platforms (Amazon AWSGoogle Cloud PlatformIBM CloudMicrosoft Azure and others) by 2020. An additional 20% are predicted to be private-cloud-based followed by another 22% running on hybrid cloud platforms by 2020. On-premise workloads are predicted to shrink from 37% today to 27% of all workloads by 2020.

  • Digitally transforming enterprises (63%) is the leading factor driving greater public cloud engagement or adoption followed by the pursuit of IT agility (62%). LogicMonitor’s survey found that the many challenges enterprises face in digitally transforming their business models are the leading contributing factor to cloud computing adoption. Attaining IT agility (62%), excelling at DevOps (58%), mobility (55%), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (50%) and the Internet of Things (IoT) adoption (45%) are the top six factors driving cloud adoption today. Artifical Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning are predicted to be the leading factors driving greater cloud computing adoption by 2020.

  • 66% of IT professionals say security is their greatest concern in adopting an enterprise cloud computing strategy. Cloud platform and service providers will go on a buying spree in 2018 to strengthen and harden their platforms in this area. Verizon (NYSE:VZ) acquiring Niddel this week is just the beginning. Niddel’s Magnet software is a machine learning-based threat-hunting system that will be integrated into Verizon’s enterprise-class cloud services and systems. Additional concerns include attaining governance and compliance goals on cloud-based platforms (60%), overcoming the challenges of having staff that lacks cloud experience (58%), Privacy (57%) and vendor lock-in (47%).

  • Just 27% of respondents predict that by 2022, 95% of all workloads will run in the cloud. One in five respondents believes it will take ten years to reach that level of workload migration. 13% of respondents don’t see this level of workload shift ever occurring. Based on conversations with CIOs and CEOs in manufacturing and financial services industries there will be a mix of workloads between on-premise and cloud for the foreseeable future. C-level executives evaluate shifting workloads based on each systems’ contribution to new business models, cost, and revenue goals in addition to accelerating time-to-market.

  • Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform are predicted to gain market share versus Amazon AWS in the next three years, with AWS staying the clear market leader. The study found 42% of respondents are predicting Microsoft Azure will gain more market share by 2020. Google Cloud Platform is predicted to also gain ground according to 35% of the respondent base. AWS is predicted to extend its market dominance with 52% market share by 2020.

Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2017 Adds 5G, Edge Computing For First Time

  • Gartner added eight new technologies to the Hype Cycle this year including 5G, Artificial General Intelligence, Deep Learning, Edge Computing, Serverless PaaS.
  • Virtual Personal Assistants, Personal Analytics, Data Broker PaaS (dbrPaaS) are no longer included in the Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies.

The Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2017 provides insights gained from evaluations of more than 2,000 technologies the research and advisory firms tracks. From this large base of technologies, the technologies that show the most potential for delivering a competitive advantage over the next five to 10 years are included in the Hype Cycle.

The eight technologies added to the Hype Cycle this year include 5G, Artificial General Intelligence, Deep Learning, Deep Reinforcement Learning, Digital Twin, Edge Computing, Serverless PaaS and Cognitive Computing. Ten technologies not included in the hype cycle for 2017 include 802.11ax, Affective Computing, Context Brokering, Gesture Control Devices, Data Broker PaaS (dbrPaaS), Micro Data Centers, Natural-Language Question Answering, Personal Analytics, Smart Data Discovery and Virtual Personal Assistants.

The three most dominant trends include Artifical Intelligence (AI) Everywhere, Transparently Immersive Experiences, and Digital Platforms. Gartner believes that key platform-enabling technologies are 5G, Digital Twin, Edge Computing, Blockchain, IoT Platforms, Neuromorphic Hardware, Quantum Computing, Serverless PaaS and Software-Defined Security.

Key takeaways from this year’s Hype Cycle include the following:

  • Heavy R&D spending from Amazon, Apple, Baidu, Google, IBM, Microsoft, and Facebook is fueling a race for Deep Learning and Machine Learning patents today and will accelerate in the future – The race is on for Intellectual Property (IP) in deep learning and machine learning today. The success of Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, Google’s Google Now, Microsoft’s Cortana and others are making this area the top priority for R&D investment by these companies today. Gartner predicts deep-learning applications and tools will be a standard component in 80% of data scientists’ tool boxes by 2018. Amazon Machine Learning is available on Amazon Web Services today, accessible here.  Apple has also launched a Machine Learning JournalBaidu Research provides a site full of useful information on their ongoing research and development as well. Google Research is one of the most comprehensive of all, with a wealth of publications and research results.  IBM’s AI and Cognitive Computing site can be found here. The Facebook Research site provides a wealth of information on 11 core technologies their R&D team is working on right now. Many of these sites also list open positions on their R&D teams.
  • 5G adoption in the coming decade will bring significant gains for security, scalability, and speed of global cellular networks – Gartner predicts that by 2020, 3% of network-based mobile communications service providers (CSPs) will launch 5G networks commercially. The Hype Cycle report mentions that from 2018 through 2022 organizations will most often utilize 5G to support IoT communications, high definition video and fixed wireless access. AT&T, NTT Docomo, Sprint USA, Telstra, T-Mobile, and Verizon have all announced plans to launch 5G services this year and next.
  • Artificial General Intelligence is going to become pervasive during the next decade, becoming the foundation of AI as a Service – Gartner predicts that AI as a Service will be the enabling core technology that leads to the convergence of AI Everywhere, Transparently Immersive Experiences and Digital Platforms. The research firm is also predicting 4D Printing, Autonomous Vehicles, Brain-Computer Interfaces, Human Augmentation, Quantum Computing, Smart Dust and Volumetric Displays will reach mainstream adoption.

Sources:

Gartner Identifies Three Megatrends That Will Drive Digital Business Into the Next Decade

Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2017 (client access required)

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