Many organizations are moving some or all of their computing to the cloud. The move facilities remote workers, lowers infrastructure costs, and improves scalability. Cloud computing opens the door to more data-intensive applications and serves as an agile platform for business operations. However, the cloud, like any device connected to the internet, presents a security risk.
Finding a single and comprehensive cloud security solution is impossible. There are simply too many aspects for a single company to be competent in all areas. Even the best providers have a network of third-party integrators to help deliver best-in-class service. Understanding what cloud security does can help determine the right solution for a given implementation.
What is a Cloud Security Solution?
Cloud security solutions protect cloud-based assets through threat and vulnerability detection. Most solutions recommend corrective actions, and some provide automated responses. Cloud security software should scale to cover an organization’s infrastructure. As with on-premise solutions, cloud security covers a range of services such as the following:
Other services may include DDoS protection, monitoring, and detection, or workload protection.
Why is Cloud Security Important?
Everyone should be aware of the increasing cybersecurity threats. This one statistic should be enough to convince any enterprise that cybersecurity must be a priority:
Throughout 2020, malware increased by 358% overall and ransomware increased by 435% as compared with 2019.
Cloud deployments are vulnerable to the following:
- Network-based attacks like DDoS that block traffic, reduce response times, and may cause downtime.
- Multi-tenant environments can result in an enterprise-wide compromise
- Less visibility increases time to detect possible compromise
- Misconfigurations including misapplied software upgrades and patches create weaknesses
- Integrations such as APIs and SDKs may contain vulnerabilities
Cloud security solutions should mitigate these and other risks.
What Features Should a Cloud Security Solution Have?
The critical feature that any cloud security solution should have is the ability to integrate with other partners or solutions to deliver a complete security solution. Many providers have a marketplace or network of trusted partners that ensure that the solution provides a comprehensive security solution. Regardless of how the feature is delivered, a cloud security solution should have the following features:
Keeping data secure in transit or at rest is a shared responsibility; however, the cloud security provider should have tools available to enable data encryption. If providers do not encrypt the data automatically, they should provide a means for the client to ensure that data is stored and transmitted securely.
Providers should have well-protected physical locations with stringent access control. Individuals entering and leaving the premises should be monitored, and segmentation of digital access should be in place to reduce the potential for unauthorized access. Security providers should have a documented process for destroying or re-provisioning equipment and media to ensure the removal of all sensitive data.
Organizations cannot secure what they can’t see. A cloud security solution should have activity monitoring that lets clients see their data and who is accessing it. Tenants need visibility to ensure that sensitive data is being stored and accessed according to industry or government regulations.
Providers should offer two types of user protection. One way is offering tools that allow companies to manage their users. Tenants need to restrict user access to applications, data, and digital resources based on their job responsibilities. They also need the ability to isolate users in case of a compromise.
Secure access to the system is crucial, and providers should implement authentication features such as username and password, multi-factor authentication, and secure channel transmission of credentials. With a distributed workforce, secure user authentication can be more difficult unless the appropriate protocols are in place.
For organizations in regulated industries where HIPAA, PCI, or GDPR might apply, cloud security solutions must have demonstrated compliance with the regulations. Even for industries without specific compliance requirements, the provider should demonstrate the ability to follow best practices for protecting sensitive data.
Configuration and Change Management
Change and configuration management are essential for both the provider and the tenant. Security solutions should have a method to track changes and to notify clients of the changes to ensure vulnerabilities are not exposed. Tenants should track their changes for better control and visibility.
Vulnerability and Incident Management
Cloud security providers should be assessing potential vulnerabilities and mitigating any new threats that are detected. As a client or user, businesses should be kept informed. The services should offer continuous monitoring of applications, performance, data storage, and user behavior. Anomalies often indicate a possible threat.
Monitoring tools should be in use to detect possible attacks, malfunctions, or misuse of services. Data should be available to visualize trends in security, and logs should be available for auditing purposes. Alerts and notifications can help clients better manage their infrastructure.
How Do Cloud Security Solutions Work?
Comprehensive security solutions encompass features that are typically provided through multiple providers, whether on-premise, in the cloud, or in a hybrid environment. Their native features versus those supplied by partners or third parties determine how the solution works. That’s why understanding the security features is essential to finding the right solution for any organization. No matter the solution, it should keep a company’s digital assets protected from attack. The following vendors offer cloud security solutions for public or private clouds as well as hybrid deployments.
These vendors offer solutions in managed and unmanaged environments. The configurations range from cloud-only to hybrid implementations. Some will support containers and Kubernetes. With the advances in cloud computing, a security solution should have an infrastructure that can adapt to future developments.