July 15, 2022
Cloud Security

What to Look for in a Cloud Security Platform

Cloud based platforms are becoming more prominent and this requires more security. Here's what you should look for in a cloud security platform:

Adopting cloud-based computing is a popular strategy for businesses aiming to reduce expenses, improve productivity, and ensure that critical data and systems are available to employees at all times. 

While transitioning to the cloud implies some degree of scalability, business operations can be improved by cloud technologies, which is precisely why most businesses are gradually switching from on-premise servers to cloud service providers, making this the perfect opportunity to discuss cloud security. 

What Is Cloud Security?

Cloud security, also known as cloud computing security, is a branch of cybersecurity that comprises a group of security policies, security controls, procedures, and technologies that safeguard the cloud data across cloud infrastructure, cloud-based apps, and other platforms.

These security measures are set up to protect the hosted cloud data, assist with regulatory compliance, safeguard consumer privacy, and establish authentication policies for particular users and devices. These measures can be customized further to precisely meet the requirements of the company, from verifying cloud access to traffic filtering. 

Cloud security implementation greatly depends on the individual cloud service provider or the cloud security solutions already in place. However, the implementation of said security measures is a joint responsibility shared by both the business owner and the solution provider. Cloud security breaks down into the following categories: 

  • Data Loss Prevention and Data Security — Ensures that your data is readable only by you and rendered meaningless if lost or stolen. This is usually achieved through data encryption, with added layers of network security for data transit
  • Identity and Access Management (IAM) — Refers to accessibility permissions and access control, which serves to restrict legitimate and nefarious users from compromising sensitive data
  • Threat Prevention, Detection, and Mitigation — Threat intelligence helps with safeguarding critical systems
  • Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity — Involves tech disaster recovery measures, such as data backups
  • Legal Compliance — revolves around user privacy protection, as enforced by governments 

What Makes Cloud Security Crucial?

Security threats have evolved along with the digital landscape, and they specifically target cloud computing systems due to a number of vulnerabilities and security risks. Without any proactive security measures in place, an organization may encounter serious governance and compliance issues when handling client information.

Admittedly, cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure offer native security services; supplementary third-party solutions are essential in preventing data breaches and other security issues associated with cloud computing environments.

The use of cloud environments and IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS computing models has increased in modern businesses and organizations, and as companies continue to transition to cloud computing, understanding the security requirements for data protection has become critical.

Thankfully, the previously mentioned as-a-service models allow organizations to outsource many of the time-consuming IT-related workloads to the aforementioned third-party cloud-security services, such as Tenacity — an AWS cloud management platform. Get more info about Tenacity here.

What Developers Need to Know About Cloud Security

Developers have an entirely different problem-solving methodology compared to operational personnel. Software engineers will frequently use code to solve problems, but they sometimes have a very limited understanding of how cloud computing really works. 

However, with the introduction of DevOps — a methodology that automates processes between software development and IT security teams — cloud developers and cloud ops are frequently on the same team, if not the same role. This positively impacts the quality of cloud applications and services.

Developers in the past didn’t pay much attention to operational behavior and security, but with the advent of DevOps, and by extension, CloudOps, developers are now burdened with operational and security responsibilities, as well.

What DevOps Teams Should Look for in Cloud Security Platforms

Before we dive into an extensive list of what developers should look for in cloud security, let’s cover some of the security challenges associated with cloud computing: 

  • The use of the public cloud means you’re sharing resources with other subscribers, and single unauthorized access into their network has the potential to compromise their entire system 
  • Cloud environments are highly vulnerable to net-based attacks, like denial-of-service (DDoS), which can result in speed issues, and unpredictable downtime
  • Unauthorized access requires a longer detection time than with on-premises data centers and operating systems, which also poses a significant delay in reporting and remediation of said breaches
  • Misconfigurations, no matter how small, present an opening for an attack, which means that all updates must be carefully configured
  • Integrations are much easier on the cloud, but the various interfaces (APIs) and development kits used for integration could contain vulnerabilities 

Here are five key features DevOps teams should look for in a cloud security platform:

Straightforward Deployment

Cloud security software platforms must be simple and ready to use right out of the box, unlike completely customized solutions that may combine multi-vendor tools or proprietary services. The best possible approach is to start a trial of the AWS cloud security platform of choice, then negotiate the service-level agreement with your provider if you need a bespoke plan. Note: Some, if not most, providers require sales calls to deploy and begin securing and monitoring your cloud assets.

Compatibility With Current and Future Cloud Environments

Choosing a cloud security platform can frequently come down to compatibility and coverage; for example, you need security tools specifically designed for AWS if the majority of your assets and sensitive data are located there. 

Platforms for multi-cloud environments must be compatible and approved to work with all major public cloud services, like AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google. Ultimately, if you’re using a private cloud environment, the security software must be flexible and able to adapt. These are important prerequisites to check for before reaching the trial level. 

Reporting and Data Analytics

Data analytics will help you visualize significant trends in your cloud security posture and allow you to take appropriate action. Furthermore, data reports can be used for auditing purposes when you’re required to provide a thorough record of where the data is stored, whether and why it was accessed, and which precautions were used to ensure data security. 

Monitoring and Detection

Your cloud security platform must use the fundamental security strategies of vulnerability monitoring and intrusion detection. First and foremost, the cloud application performance and data storage must be regularly checked for potential vulnerabilities. 

Threat intelligence should keep an eye out for unusual or suspect user behavior in real-time, indicating any access-related activity that might be considered an incursion. These two tactics form the foundation of cloud security.

Summary

Cloud security is becoming increasingly crucial as businesses shift their devices, data, and processes to the cloud. Cloud security solutions are achieved through comprehensive security policies and a security-conscious organizational culture. 

To ensure that your organization is safe from threats like unauthorized access, data breaches, malware, and other dangers, contact Tenacity — an AWS cloud security management platform — and learn more about our security services here.

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