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The Frontier of Cloud Security

Updated: Apr 20, 2021

At first glance, cloud computing and cybersecurity might look like polar opposites. The first requires storing your data off-site, and the second requires building virtual walls around it, protecting your data at all costs. Cloud computing means outsourcing, trusting a vendor to keep your data and transactions safe. Cybersecurity means keeping it all close, trusting on-site staff, procedures, and protocols to do the job. Should these two approaches clash?

Quite the opposite: As more and more businesses move their computing and data to the cloud, we see a kind of symbiotic relationship develop between the two seemingly distinct practices—out of necessity. We are introducing cloud security, the business of ensuring cybersecurity when relying on cloud computing.

An inherent distrust made it hard for some IT managers to believe that letting data be stored and protected on anything other than a real mainframe computer that they could see and touch was a good idea. It’s even harder to swallow when it’s a public cloud solution vs. a private cloud. But—as they say—necessity is the mother of the convention, and only those organizations that migrate to the cloud and reap the cost savings of doing so will survive. That makes cloud computing a necessary business strategy, and that, in turn, makes cloud security necessary as well.

The importance of addressing key security and compliance needs weighs heavily on many organizations. It’s a very valid concern, as an estimated 990 million cloud servers are misconfigured. In addition to cloud misconfigurations, some of the most top-of-mind hybrid cloud and multi cloud concerns include:

  • Establishment of a cloud-ready security strategy

  • Lack of experience and expertise coupled with growing skill requirements

  • Need to address compliance requirements

  • Centralized visibility and threat management

  • An overload of new tools and technologies

  • Maintaining security policies across the private/public landscape

Organizations undertaking the move to the cloud face a blizzard of sometimes confusing buzzwords. There’s hybrid cloud, multi cloud, digital transformation, microservices and so much more. While these terms can be confusing, the key element to keep in mind is that cloud data security should be an inherent part of business-level strategy and discussion for any successful cloud migration. This includes:

Cloud Governance and Strategy

At the heart of every successful cloud security program is a well-defined strategy that includes the following criteria:

  • Establishing a security baseline for your cloud environments

  • Understanding where and what your critical data is and who has access to it

  • Defining your security, compliance and industry or regulatory requirements

  • Rationalizing on the right set of controls to meet these requirements

  • Building a target state and roadmap from which to execute

Cloud-Native Security

However, a cloud-native security approach raises some questions that need to be answered:

  • Do the native controls have the right level of maturity or provide the right level of visibility to meet your compliance requirements?

  • Which cloud-native controls make the most sense for your hybrid cloud and multi cloud environment?

  • Do you have the right skills to manage a new and rapidly growing set of security technologies?

  • How do you properly design, implement and configure these controls and integrate them into the rest of your security operations?

  • What do you do with all this new cloud security data and telemetry, and what decisions or actions can you take from it?

Cloud Security Posture Management

You should consider using cloud security posture management to address these complications and achieve the following goals:

  • Monitor a real-time cloud asset inventory continuously for compliance, regulatory reporting and auditing purposes

  • Prevent breaches by agile detection and response to cloud misconfiguration

  • Continuously harden your security and compliance posture

  • Embed security insights and automation for cloud anomalies

Cloud Workload and Container Security

Your application container environment may face security complexity and visibility challenges, limited testing time during rapid scaling and delivery, increased traffic and threats of container compromise. The following phases of container environments are major risks that can act as threat vectors:

  • Image creation, testing and accreditation

  • Registry for image storage

  • Orchestrator for retrieval

  • Container for deployment

  • Host operating system for management

DevSecOps and Application Security

By adding DevSecOps and secure development practices into your workloads, you can benefit from:

  • Culture with an agile, lean and continuous feedback mindset that aligns with security strategy, risk, governance and compliance

  • Automation for every process for speed, reliability and security, all while using modern tools

  • More opportunities to encourage innovation, as the feedback loop and collaboration leads to increasing autonomy and secure deployments

The Pillar of Cloud Security

While cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure (Azure), and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) offer many cloud native security features and services, supplementary third-party solutions are essential to achieve enterprise-grade cloud workload protection from breaches, data leaks, and targeted attacks in the cloud environment. Only an integrated cloud-native/third-party security stack provides the centralized visibility and policy-based granular control necessary to deliver the following industry best practices. This includes:

  • Granular, policy-based IAM and authentication controls across complex infrastructures.

  • Zero-trust cloud network security controls across logically isolated networks and micro-segments.

  • Enforcement of virtual server protection policies and processes such as change management and software updates.

  • Safeguarding all applications (and especially cloud-native distributed apps) with a next-generation web application firewall.

  • Enhanced data protection.

  • Threat intelligence that detects and remediates known and unknown threats in real-time.

Cymonix is ready to help you learn more about and incorporate these cloud security solutions into your enterprise as you make the journey to the cloud.

We are here to talk further.

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