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Secure your Cloud in 2024 | A Comprehensive Guide

As highlighted in the 2019 Cloud Security Report, a significant 93% of cybersecurity professionals express considerable concern regarding the state of cloud security. Over the preceding 12 months, approximately 30% reported facing incidents directly associated with vulnerabilities in public cloud systems. Principal security issues encompass data loss, data privacy, compliance, inadvertent exposure of credentials, and apprehensions linked to data sovereignty.

The heightened apprehension surrounding cloud security is well-founded, especially considering the escalating migration of applications and data to cloud platforms. The potential fallout from a security breach is substantial. However, effective strategies exist to proactively mitigate risks or respond adeptly post-breach. According to Ponemon, a pivotal measure in this context is the “extensive use of encryption.” Other critical factors for risk mitigation include implementing robust data loss prevention measures, sharing intelligence on potential threats, and establishing comprehensive plans for business continuity management. In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss the various factors of cloud security you need to know before availing any cloud services provider.

Cloud Security Is A Shared Responsibility

In the domain of cloud computing, the assurance of security is a joint venture shared between the cloud provider and the customer. The Shared Responsibility Model articulates three fundamental categories of responsibilities: those perpetually held by the provider, those consistently falling within the customer’s domain, and those contingent upon the service model – be it Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), or Software as a Service (SaaS), such as cloud-based email solutions.

The provider consistently shoulders responsibilities related to safeguarding the foundational infrastructure, encompassing access control, patching, and configuration of the physical hosts and network supporting the compute instances, storage, and other essential resources.

Conversely, customers consistently assume responsibilities such as overseeing users and their access privileges through identity and access management, fortifying cloud accounts against unauthorized access, encrypting and fortifying cloud-based data assets, and actively managing their security posture to ensure compliance. The delineation of these responsibilities is pivotal in establishing a resilient and secure cloud environment.

How Does Cloud Security Work?

Each facet of cloud security endeavors to fulfill one or more of the following goals:

  • Enable the retrieval of data in the event of data loss.
  • Safeguard storage and networks from unauthorized and malicious data access.
  • Serve as a preventive measure against human errors or negligence that could lead to data leaks.
  • Mitigate the consequences of any compromise to data or systems.

Data Security

Data security constitutes a pivotal component within cloud security, primarily focusing on the technical aspects of thwarting potential threats. Utilizing various tools and technologies, both providers and clients can establish protective barriers, controlling access and visibility to sensitive data. Among these tools, encryption stands out as one of the most potent. Encryption functions by scrambling data, rendering it readable only to those possessing the encryption key. In the unfortunate event of data loss or theft, the encrypted data remains effectively unreadable and devoid of meaning. Additionally, safeguarding data during transit is prioritized in cloud networks, with an emphasis on protective measures such as virtual private networks (VPNs).

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Identity And Access Management

Identity and Access Management (IAM) involves the allocation of access privileges to user accounts, encompassing the administration of authentication and authorization processes. Central to IAM is the implementation of access controls, essential for limiting both legitimate and malicious users from gaining entry and jeopardizing sensitive data and systems. IAM encompasses various methods, including password management and multi-factor authentication, to enhance security measures.

Identify and access management

Data Retention And Business Continuity

Implementing data retention (DR) and business continuity (BC) plans involves employing technical strategies to safeguard against potential data loss disasters. A critical component of both DR and BC initiatives is the integration of data redundancy measures, such as creating backups. Additionally, ensuring uninterrupted operations through the implementation of technical systems is paramount. Robust BC plans should also include frameworks for regular testing of backup integrity and the provision of detailed recovery instructions to employees.

Data retention and business continuity importance

What Makes Cloud Security Different?

Modernized cyber security solutions, particularly cloud security, distinguish themselves from legacy IT models in several key aspects.

Data Storage

One major distinction lies in data storage. Traditional IT heavily depended on onsite data storage, requiring organizations to construct in-house IT frameworks for customized security controls, which proved expensive and inflexible. In contrast, cloud-based frameworks alleviate the costs associated with system development and maintenance. However, this shift also entails a reduction in user control over security measures.

Scaling Speed

When scaling organizational IT systems, cloud security requires distinctive consideration. The modular and swiftly deployable nature of cloud-centric infrastructure and applications is noteworthy. Although this adaptability ensures that systems remain seamlessly aligned with organizational changes, it does raise concerns when an organization’s demand for upgrades and convenience surpasses its capacity to keep pace with security measures.

End-user System Interfacing

Interfacing with end-user systems is a critical aspect of both organizational and individual engagement with cloud systems. Security measures must extend across various systems and services, requiring the maintenance of access permissions at the end-user device, software, and network levels. Furthermore, providers and users need to remain vigilant regarding potential vulnerabilities that may arise due to unsafe setup and system access behaviors.

Types of Cloud Environment

In your search for cloud-based security, you will encounter three primary types of cloud environments. The leading options in the market comprise public clouds, private clouds, and hybrid clouds.

Types of Cloud

Public Cloud

Public cloud services are provided by external cloud service vendors, eliminating the necessity for companies to establish infrastructure, as all aspects are managed by the service provider. Users generally access these services through web browsers. The security of public clouds relies heavily on essential features such as access control, identity management, and authentication.

Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid clouds merge the scalability inherent in public clouds with the enhanced resource control provided by private clouds. Connecting diverse environments, like a private cloud and a public cloud, enables seamless scaling based on demand. Effectively implemented hybrid clouds empower users to access all their environments through a unified and integrated content management platform.

Private Cloud

Private clouds generally boast a higher level of security compared to public clouds, primarily due to their dedication to a single group or user and dependence on the firewall of that specific group or user. The isolated environment of these clouds enhances their security against external threats, given their exclusive accessibility by a single organization. Nevertheless, private clouds encounter security challenges from certain risks like social engineering and breaches. Additionally, scaling these clouds can prove challenging as the company’s requirements expand.

Cloud Security Tools

Tools of Cloud Security

Cloud Access Security Broker

If your employees are utilizing unauthorized cloud applications or services without proper approval, and you seek comprehensive visibility into user activities across various cloud environments, cloud access security brokers (CASBs) can assist. CASBs scrutinize network traffic between the cloud provider and on-premises devices, ensuring compliance with your security policies while managing and safeguarding cloud-stored data. When selecting a CASB tool, it is crucial to prioritize the following core features:

Visibility – such as shadow IT detection
Compliance – including user authentication and authorization
Data security – encompassing encryption and tokenization
Threat protection – incorporating real-time malware detection

 

Cloud Workload Protection Platform

The simplicity of setting up cloud services often leads many businesses to neglect crucial security settings and configurations. However, given the escalating range of threats, including denial of service attacks, data breaches, and phishing attacks, IT leaders must safeguard their workforce at both the workload level and the endpoint.

A Cloud Workload Protection Platform (CWPP) offers comprehensive visibility, enabling the monitoring of workload behavior and the detection and response to misconfigurations or intrusions. The strategic data collected is presented through a dashboard. Furthermore, CWPP enhances system hardening and overall vulnerability management by identifying outdated and weak business applications, along with user permission settings.

Cloud Security Posture Management

IT professionals frequently utilize Cloud Security Posture Management (CPSM) solutions to identify potential compliance risks and misconfiguration issues within the cloud, overseeing the overall cloud posture of an organization. These solutions operate by consistently evaluating and recognizing cloud assets and data across various cloud platforms utilized by a business, even detecting shadow IT unbeknownst to the IT team.

CSPM then generates a detailed report outlining any misconfigurations in settings, enabling IT teams to rectify issues and enhance the overall cloud posture of the company. These solutions persistently monitor cloud environments in real time, spotlighting both internal and external issues and errors that could introduce vulnerabilities.


Want to know more about the cloud security and its need? Read our latest blog post here.

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