As organizations continue to adopt new digital practices and transfer to more cloud-native strategies, digital security becomes increasingly important. Cloud migration can help businesses achieve maximum productivity, but the bigger digital landscape that it provides also means more opportunities for cyber attacks.
What is Cloud Security?
Cloud security is made up of a wide variety of procedures, technologies, policies, services, and controls that are designed to protect cloud-based applications and systems from various kinds of attacks.
There are three main categories of cloud security:
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): any on-demand application software that is ready-to-use and cloud-hosted.
- Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): back-end infrastructure that provides on-demand access to both physical and virtual servers for managing workloads and running cloud-based applications
- Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS): any on-demand access to a ready-to-use, cloud-hosted platform, primarily used for developing, running and maintaining various applications.
The Shared Responsibility Model
Some organizations use a shared responsibility model for their cloud security. This model delineates security responsibilities between the customer and the provider to ensure more robust security and safer processes.
The shared responsibility model establishes the responsibilities and accountability that:
- Are always the provider’s
- Are always the customer’s
- Depend on the service model
Cloud Security Challenges
Broader Area of Attack
Complex cloud environments with dynamic workloads require tools that must work seamlessly across any applicable providers and at scale. Because of the cloud’s ever-evolving landscape, risks of Malware, Zero-Day, Account Takeover, and other attacks are always a concern.
Granting user privileges to those outside an organization or to those who have not been properly trained can lead to malicious attacks, data deletion, and other security risks. This makes it more important than ever to keep privileges organized and grant them only to those in an organization who need them.
Compliance and Legal
While cloud providers are backed by accreditation programs, it is still the responsibility of customers to ensure that their processes are compliant with government regulations. Because of the dynamic landscape that comes with cloud computing, this can become complicated
Security That Evolves
First introduced in 2010, Zero Trust is a principle according to which a system does not automatically trust anyone or anything outside an organization’s network and requires verification and inspection. Users who have access are confined to using only the tools and applications that they require. Furthermore, Zero Trust requires developers to ensure that any web-facing applications have the proper security.
Security Service Edge (SSE)
Zero Trust is an important part of SSE, which provides secure access to the internet and an organization’s private applications, as well as SaaS and cloud applications. This allows for more streamlined and robust security while also making costs more predictable and reducing operational overhead.
The Pillars of Cloud Security
To ensure that there are no gaps in security between cloud-based applications and that security solutions can scale in a dynamic cloud environment, there are several best practices organizations should follow.
Identity and Access Management (IAM)
IAM helps to regulate access to tools and applications in cloud environments. This ensures that there are no users within the cloud who have access where they shouldn’t.
Data Protection and Encryption
Encryption should be used for any and all transport layers, and all file shares should be secured. Good data storage practices should also be followed, such as terminating orphan resources and detecting and optimizing misconfigured buckets.
The use of asset and configuration management systems and vulnerability scanners is beneficial for cloud security and offers a better view of the landscape, as well as any threats looming over the horizon. Anomaly detection algorithms also use AI to quickly detect unknown threats and determine the best course of action.
Incident response should be automated as much as possible. By automating responses to the most common threats and security breaches, IT teams can spend time working on more complex tasks that require human solutions.
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