AlienVault® has released the results of a survey showing that cloud security remains a thorn in the side of security professionals, with many still struggling to monitor this environment effectively.

Conducted at RSA 2017, 974 conference participants weighed in on cloud security and IoT monitoring to provide an inside look at the challenges and concerns plaguing companies today, along with the opportunities and benefits associated with each technology.

Perhaps the most startling survey statistic is that one third of show attendees describe the state of security monitoring within their organization as “complex and chaotic.” Likely a significant factor in this outcome, survey results reveal a major disconnect between respondents’ beliefs and their actions when it comes to cloud security and IoT. For example:

Forty-two percent of respondents are less confident in their ability to detect threats in the cloud vs. on-premises, yet 47% would rather monitor a cloud environment than an on-premises network.

Sixty-two percent state that they are worried about IoT devices in their environment, yet 45% believe IoT benefits outweigh the risks. Frighteningly, 43% of respondents say their company does not monitor IoT network traffic at all, and an additional 20% aren’t even sure of the answer.

“The driving force behind cloud and IoT is the availability and analysis of information, but they must be managed and monitored in the right way. If data is misused, or inadequately protected, the consequences can be severe,” said Javvad Malik, security advocate at AlienVault. “According to the survey findings, many companies are using these impacting technologies to reap the technological and business benefits they provide, but they are doing so without proper monitoring – leaving their company at greater risk of attack.”

When it comes to monitoring security threats in the cloud, an alarming number of respondents reported being left in the dark when decisions are made. According to the survey, 39% of respondents are using more than 10 different cloud services within their organization, and 21% don’t know how many cloud applications are being used. In addition, 40% state that their IT team is not always consulted before a cloud platform is deployed, meaning that they are unable to offer guidance and advice, or do due diligence on a platform or service.

The survey also asked participants what concerned them most about cloud security. While malware was rated as the highest concern, with 47% of respondents worrying about it, some of the other responses shed light on why so many security professionals view their environments as complex and chaotic. 42% of respondents are concerned about a lack of visibility in the cloud, and 21% are worried about the cloud-based services they use producing “too many logs.” This finding also points to the problems associated with auditing cloud environments in the event of an incident.

“Most organizations are drowning in ineffective preventative measures and draining resources with investments in expensive, disjointed solutions. This unfortunate combination is likely a tremendous factor in producing the chaos, complexity and confusion experienced by so many companies,” continued Malik. “It’s time for organizations to focus on what they do have control over – threat detection and incident response — and implement a unified solution that can monitor on-premises, cloud and hybrid environments. Simplifying security in this way enables companies to immediately identify and respond to threats, and in today’s cybersecurity landscape, this is the best strategy to mitigate risk.”