Security has been a significant issue for businesses contemplating the public cloud since the dawn of the cloud technology age. Data storage and application operating on infrastructure not directly managed by an organization may seem insecure to many.
According to CloudPassage’s 2021 AWS Cloud Security Report, Cloud platforms’ Misconfiguration (71%), exfiltration of sensitive data (59%), and unsecured APIs (54%) are the top cloud security concerns confronting cybersecurity professionals. Additionally, 95% of poll respondents expressed extreme to moderate anxiety regarding public cloud security.
These reservations are unquestionably warranted. There are certain advantages to using (IaaS) public cloud infrastructure instead of on-premises data centers, but there are also some disadvantages to public cloud architecture. For example, IDC’s 2021 State of Cloud-based Security Report finds that 79% of polled businesses had experienced cloud data breaches in the past 18 months.
What Exactly Is Cloud Security?
Cloud security encompasses all technology and processes that safeguard an organization’s cloud infrastructure from public and private cyber threats. Cloud security is becoming increasingly crucial as more companies turn to the cloud as their business’s future. Cloud security ensures that the lights stay on, allowing organizations to concentrate on pushing forward.
Cloud Security: 12 Tips for Your Best Defense
While cloud security is continuously developing, a few recommended practices for maintaining cloud environment security have stayed consistent throughout time. Whether you’re using cloud solutions now or planning to do so shortly, these guidelines and tools can help you keep essential apps and data safe.
1. Recognize The Shared Responsibility Model You Have With Others
Private data centers place all security responsibilities on the company’s shoulders operating the data center in question. It’s considerably more challenging to use the public cloud, though. Although the cloud client is ultimately responsible for IT security, the cloud provider does accept part of that duty. It’s a shared responsibility approach, according to cloud and security experts.
For example, Amazon Web Services, which offers infrastructure as a service, and Microsoft Azure, which provides a platform, provide documentation to help customers understand their roles and responsibilities while deploying various types of infrastructure. For example, the figure below demonstrates that Microsoft is in charge of application-level controls in SaaS models, whereas the client is in charge of IaaS installations. The duty for PaaS models is shared between Microsoft and its users.
Enterprises selecting a cloud vendor should evaluate its shared security responsibility rules and determine who is responsible for certain parts of cloud security. It can help avoid misunderstandings and faulty communication. On the other hand, clear duties reduce the risk of specific security needs slipping through the gaps and leading to an incident.
2. Inquire Specifically About Security with Your Cloud Provider
Along with establishing shared obligations, companies should probe their public cloud suppliers’ security procedures and processes. Despite popular belief, security approaches and methodologies can differ widely among prominent suppliers.
Organizations should inquire about a wide range of factors to determine how well a specific cloud provider compares, including the following:
● What part of the world are the servers located in?
● What is the process followed by the service provider in the event of a security incident?
● What is the provider’s recovery strategy in the event of a disaster?
● When it comes to access components, what safeguards does the service provider employ?
● In what capacity is the service provider ready to assist?
● Is there any new information on the provider’s security?
● How secure is the service provider’s encryption?
● Exactly who in the provider’s organization has access to the cloud data?
● What are the types of authentication that the service provider supports?
● What regulations does the service provider adhere to?
3. Implement an Identity and Access Management System (IAMS)
Unauthorized access is the fourth most significant danger to the public cloud security noted in CloudPassage’s study (rising at a rate of 53% in 2020, up from 42% in 2020). Hackers are getting better at obtaining access to sensitive data, but a good identity management (IAM) system can help reduce the risk.
Experts propose that businesses search for an identity and access management (IAM) solution to create and implement the least privileged access restrictions. Role-based permission capabilities should also be a part of these policies. In addition, even if criminal actors succeed in stealing usernames and passwords, MFA can minimize the danger of malicious actors obtaining access to critical information even more.
IAM solutions for hybrid settings, such as private data centers and cloud deployments, may be desirable for some organizations. End users will like the ease of use, and security personnel will appreciate implementing uniform standards throughout all IT environments.
4. Educate Your Employees
Organizations should teach all employees about cybersecurity risks and how to handle them to prevent hackers from gaining access to cloud computing tools’ login credentials. Basic security information, such as how to generate a secure password and recognize social engineering attempts, should be included in comprehensive training, as should more sophisticated topics such as risk management.
Training on cloud security should assist staff in grasping the dangers of shadow IT, maybe most crucially. Most businesses make it far too simple for employees to deploy their systems and tools without the awareness or assistance of the IT team. In addition, it’s impossible to assess all vulnerabilities without top-to-bottom access to all platforms that communicate with the company’s data. Therefore, companies must communicate this danger and emphasize the ramifications for the business.
Additionally, companies must spend money on security personnel training. As the threat environment changes daily, IT security professionals must know the latest threats and solutions to stay aware of the latest dangers.
5. Defining and Enforcing Policies Regarding Cloud Security
Everyone in a company should have clear written standards stating who may use cloud-based services, how to use them, and what data can be kept in the cloud by that person or organization. They must also outline the particular security methods that employees must use to safeguard cloud-based data and software.
To make sure everybody is following the policies, security personnel should have autonomous practices in place. A policy enforcement function provided by a cloud vendor may be adequate in some situations. However, in some cases, a third-party policy enforcement solution, such as CASB may be required by the organization.
In this way, zero trust is a technology that gives policymakers more control over enforcing their policies. To assess how much accessibility each person needs, what they could do with it, and how it affects the business as a whole, tools in this domain operate in conjunction with the other systems to decide.
6. Protect the Endpoints of Your Network
A cloud storage service does not reduce the need for robust endpoint security; instead, it amplifies that requirement. With the emergence of new cloud computing initiatives, there is a chance to examine old policies and ensure that the safeguards are appropriate for emerging security risks.
Endpoint security has traditionally relied on a defense-in-depth strategy involving firewall, anti-malware, penetration testing, and access control. Automation tools are needed to keep pace with the increasing number of endpoint security problems. Possibly EDR or EPP platforms can assist in this area by detecting and responding to endpoint threats.
Conventional endpoint security features are combined with active monitoring and automatic response in EDR and EPP systems. Patching, endpoints protection, Vpn, and insider threat avoidance are just a few of the security concerns addressed by these solutions.
7. Data Encryption Is Essential Both During Transit And While It Is Stored
Any cloud security plan must include encryption. Additionally, companies must verify that encrypted data is in transit through a public cloud platform since this may be the exact point when the information is most exposed to attack.
Encryption and key management are services provided by certain cloud computing companies. Encryption is also available from third-party cloud and conventional software providers. To avoid end users having to take any additional measures to comply with the company’s encryption policy, experts advocate choosing encryption software that integrates smoothly with existing work processes.
8. Make Use of Intrusion Detection Systems (IDP) Technology
One of the most successful cloud security techniques is intrusion avoidance and detection (IDPs). They keep an eye on, analyze, and respond to web traffic on-premises and cloud infrastructure settings, all from a single console. Detection and prevention systems (IDPS) track any threats they meet, notify administrators of odd behavior, and block the risks until administrators have a chance to respond.
24-hour observation and real-time notifications are both made possible by these tools. It’s virtually hard to detect a sophisticated assault on a network without IDPs.
9. Verify That Your Requirements Are Compliant
Customers’ privacy and data security are top priorities for businesses that gather personally identifiable information (PII), including retailing, medical, and financial services. Local or state governments may also have additional compliance requirements for firms located in specific regions or storing data in particular areas.
Ensure your service provider will fulfill your data security needs before creating a new cloud computing service. Review your specific compliance requirements.
10. Think About Using A CASB Or A Cloud Security Solution
Cloud security systems and services are available from dozens of firms. As a result, internal security employees may need to be supplemented if they lack cloud experience or current security solutions do not work in cloud environments.
Security brokers for cloud access (CASBs) are technologies explicitly designed for enforcing security regulations in the cloud. The use of cloud-based services has grown in popularity as more businesses have adopted it. A CASB solution, according to experts, is best appropriate for companies that employ several cloud computing technologies from various suppliers. In addition, these tools can help keep an eye out for malicious software and illegal access.
11. Carry Out Audits And Penetration Tests
Experts believe all organizations should do penetration testing to assess if existing cloud security measures are sufficient to safeguard data and apps whether a company decides to collaborate with an outside security agency or maintain its in-house security teams.
Companies should also perform frequent security audits, which should include an evaluation of the capabilities of all security suppliers; as a result, they should comply with the security requirements that stood previously agreed. Additionally, auditing access logs can help verify that only authorized users access critical cloud data and apps.
12. Activate The Security Logging System
Organizations should activate logging tools in their cloud systems in addition to performing audits. Logging makes it easy for system administrators to keep track of who is making modifications. An attacker who gets access and makes changes will have their actions documented to be remedied if and when they are discovered.
An essential problem in cloud security is misconfigurations. Strong logging capabilities will assist link the modifications that lead to a specific vulnerability so that they may be remedied and prevented in the future. Misconfiguration Additionally, logs can help identify particular individuals who have unnecessary rights to accomplish their tasks, allowing administrators to reduce those users’ access to the absolute minimum.
A Set Of Appropriate Tools Is Required To Ensure Cloud Security.
According to the experts, companies should not be deterred from utilizing public cloud services because of security concerns. Cloud-based workloads often provide fewer security risks to companies than traditional datacenter workloads.
Enterprises that do not wish to become a statistic should educate themselves about and adopt cybersecurity tools and the best practices for their cloud infrastructure.
The list mentioned above of best practices teaches us that adequate cloud security requires the appropriate tools. Therefore, businesses may avoid risks and maximize the benefits of cloud computing by following best practices for cloud security and adopting the necessary security solutions.