As we stepped into 2024, the cloud security landscape continued its rapid evolution fuelled by AI and the continuously changing threat landscape. This evolution is  also underpinned by an increasing cloud security spending exceeding $6 billion. On the other side, there has been a steep increase in exploitation of cloud environments by 95%.

As we analyze industry research reports, we have incorporated our Eviden’s cybersecurity and cloud expertise. As an outcome, we have identified the following key trends that are likely to shape the cloud security domain for 2024 and beyond:

Trend 1: Acceleration of GenAI for cybersecurity
The rise in Generative AI, especially in cybersecurity through LLMs, is transforming both attack sophistication and cyber defense capabilities.

Trend 2: Accelerated adoption of cloud sovereignty and data privacy
Europe leads the charge in digital sovereignty and data privacy, driven by regulations like the NIS2, the EU Cybersecurity Act, and initiatives like GAIA-X.

Trend 3: Interoperable Cybersecurity Mesh across Cloud, IT/OT and Edge
The integration of cloud, edge, and IT/OT infrastructure through Cybersecurity Mesh Architecture will enhance detection and response capabilities.

Trend 4: Consolidation of preventive and detective measures for hybrid cloud
The merging of CNAPP and SecOps workflows signals a consolidated approach to hybrid cloud security.

Trend 5: Influence of geopolitical events on cloud security
Geopolitical tensions are set to amplify cloud-based threats, impacting hybrid and multicloud environments globally.

In the following section, we’ll dive into these trends and their impact in detail.

Trend 1: Adoption of Generative AI for Cybersecurity

One of the most significant shifts in cybersecurity for 2024 and beyond is the large-scale adoption of Generative AI (GenAI) by both attackers and defenders. According to Eviden’s predictions for 2024, we can expect a 50% increase in GenAI usage in product development and a similar surge in demand for AI-based cybersecurity services.

Malicious actors are harnessing GenAI for more sophisticated and targeted phishing attacks, leveraging LLMs for improved quality and scale. This trend is also highlighted by the growing sophistication of social engineering techniques, including deepfake-generated content.

On the defensive side, GenAI is transforming cybersecurity practices for security teams. Key applications include security content creation, attacker behavior prediction, and defender knowledge articulation. This also impacts  securing GenAI against LLM-based attacks like prompt injection. LLMs are proving vital in analyzing extensive data sets for threat identification and response strategies. Hyperscalers like Google and Microsoft are leading this trend with specialized cloud LLM services for cybersecurity, such as Google’s Sec-PALM-2 and Microsoft’s Security Copilot.

Additionally, the emergence of privacy-preserving LLMs also contributes to this, particularly for sectors interacting with confidential data like healthcare and governments. This highlights a crucial balance between leveraging GenAI’s capabilities and maintaining data privacy and sovereignty.

Trend 2: Accelerated adoption of cloud sovereignty and data privacy

As we move along in 2024, the convergence of digital sovereignty and data privacy continues to be a driving force, especially in Europe. This trend is largely driven by governmental pressures for the localization of sensitive data within the region.

Regulations such as the EU Cybersecurity Act and the revised NIS2 directive are increasingly shaping digital sovereignty across Europe. The upcoming EU Cybersecurity Certification Scheme for Cloud Services (EUCS), although voluntary, is expected to be a significant factor. Once adopted, it could restrict non-EU cloud providers from offering high-level services to European companies, thereby limiting EU cloud customers’ access to these services.

Initiatives like Gaia-X are set to further promote the standardization of sovereign cloud services. For cloud customers, the importance of meeting certification schemes will be particularly relevant, both for sensitive data localization and additional encryption controls such as external key encryption services.

As we look forward to 2024 and beyond, we expect a shift towards the large-scale adoption of sovereign cloud offerings. Major hyperscalers like AWS, Google and Microsoft have already responded to the growing adoption by supporting customers in meeting their sovereignty needs.

Trend 3: Interoperable Cybersecurity Mesh across Cloud, IT/OT and Edge

For 2024, we predict a shift in cloud security with the adoption of Cybersecurity Mesh Architecture (CSMA) to integrate cloud environments with edge, and IT/OT infrastructure. This aligns with our forecast for around 45% expected growth for interoperability. CSMA essentially acts as a central security layer, connecting and securing a diverse array of security solutions across the organization. The key components of a CSMA include context-aware security, identity-centric perimeters, as well as proactive, real-time defense.

We particularly see that CSMA will enable transformation from a fragmented set of security solutions across IT/OT and Cloud into an integrated cybersecurity mesh for high interoperability and interconnectivity from cloud environments to edge devices and IT/OT systems. The integration facilitated by CSMA ensures that existing security investments are optimized. This efficiency not only improves security but also maximizes the value of previous security expenditures.

An integrated and interoperable CSMA also allows organizations to understand their cloud security posture from a business risk perspective, including compliance. The integrations support effective risk management and prioritization.

Trend 4: Consolidation of preventive and detective measures for hybrid cloud

In the previous year, we had anticipated a rise in malicious behavior in a hybrid world. This is required as organizations move away from traditional data centers towards more modernized IT environments.

For 2024, we expect the continuation of a consolidation of detective and preventive measures around integrated SecOps workflows and CNAPP. The consolidation reflects a holistic strategy that encompasses the entire lifecycle of cloud applications and infrastructure security across development and operations. A crucial piece for this convergence that organizations are increasingly adopting and focusing their efforts on is Cloud-Native Application Protection Platforms (CNAPP). These platforms are instrumental in enhancing posture management by preventing misconfigurations, enforcing best practices, and monitoring policy adherence. This approach is a progression from the earlier Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) and Cloud Workload Protection Platform (CWPP), incorporating broader concepts including Cloud Infrastructure Entitlements Management (CIEM).

Despite the advancements in cloud native protection, there’s still a gap. CNAPP solutions provide insights into potential security weaknesses for cloud applications and infrastructure but lack real-time detection and response. That’s where we see consolidated SecOps workflows aligned with an integrated CSMA provide effective detection, investigation, and response capabilities.

Trend 5: Influence of geopolitical events

Threat actors are increasingly compromising cloud environments and utilizing cloud-native services for exploitation. In recent years, cloud exploitation attacks surged by 95%, while the number of ‘cloud-conscious’ threat actors nearly tripled.

In 2024, the geopolitical landscape is very likely to impact cloud-based threats, particularly due to rising tensions in areas like Israel, Gaza, and Ukraine, which have given rise to hacktivism and state-sponsored activities.

The year will be marked by high-profile events such as the US and EU parliament elections, and major sports events like the Paris Olympics. These important global events are likely to be targeted by cybercriminals and nation-states. For cloud environments in particular, we anticipate a significant expansion of e attack surface around cloud-based phishing, misinformation campaigns and data breaches. This is also likely to result in an increase in sophisticated attacks targeting hybrid and multicloud environments, with a focus on misconfigurations and identity issues. These tactics allow threat actors to move laterally across cloud platforms.

In response to these evolving threats for geopolitical events, organizations must adopt a proactive approach to cloud security. This includes a zero-trust security strategy and consolidated SecOps workflows spanning hybrid cloud, edge and IT/OT environments.

Ready for risk, aspiring for greatness in 2024.

Major trends for this year and beyond are evolving around harnessing the power of generative AI. In addition to that, we also foresee an increase in the adoption of cloud sovereignty and interoperable cybersecurity mesh architecture across cloud, IT/OT, and edge. These trends, along with evolving hybrid cloud security measures and geopolitical influences, drive digital business resilience. As your organization braces for these changes, have you considered how prepared you are to navigate this new landscape?

Connect with Eviden, your leading managed security service provider, to successfully navigate your business through these trends in the cloud security landscape for 2024 and beyond.