Cloud security involves the procedures and technology that secure cloud computing environments against both external and insider cybersecurity threats. Cloud computing, which is the delivery of information technology services over the internet, has become a must for businesses and governments seeking to accelerate innovation and collaboration. Cloud security and security management best practices designed to prevent unauthorized access are required to keep data and applications in the cloud secure from current and emerging cybersecurity threats.
What is Cloud Security?
Cloud security, also known as cloud computing security, consists of a set of policies, controls, procedures, and technologies that work together to protect cloud-based systems, data, and infrastructure. These security measures are configured to protect cloud data, support regulatory compliance and protect customers’ privacy as well as setting authentication rules for individual users and devices. From authenticating access to filtering traffic, cloud security can be configured to the exact needs of the business. And because these rules can be configured and managed in one place, administration overheads are reduced and IT teams are empowered to focus on other areas of the business.
The way cloud security is delivered will depend on the individual cloud provider or the cloud security solutions in place. However, the implementation of its processes should be a joint responsibility between the business owner and the solution provider.
Why it is important
In the 1990s, business and personal data lived locally — and security was local as well. Data would be located on a PC’s internal storage at home, and on enterprise servers, if you worked for a company.
Introducing cloud technology has forced everyone to reevaluate cyber security. Your data and applications might be floating between local and remote systems – and always internet-accessible. If you are accessing Google Docs on your smartphone or using Salesforce software to look after your customers, that data could be held anywhere. Therefore, protecting it becomes more difficult than when it was just a question of stopping unwanted users from gaining access to your network. It requires adjusting some previous IT practices, but it has become more essential for two key reasons:
- Convenience over security. Cloud computing is exponentially growing as a primary method for both workplace and individual use. Innovation has allowed new technology to be implemented quicker than industry security standards can keep up, putting more responsibility on users and providers to consider the risks of accessibility.
- Centralization and multi-tenant storage. Every component – from core infrastructure to small data like emails and documents – can now be located and accessed remotely on 24/7 web-based connections. All this data gathering in the servers of a few major service providers can be highly dangerous. Threat actors can now target large multi-organizational data centers and cause immense data breaches.
Unfortunately, malicious actors realize the value of cloud-based targets and increasingly probe them for exploits. Despite cloud providers taking many security roles from clients, they do not manage everything. This leaves even non-technical users with the duty to self-educate on cloud security.
That said, users are not alone in cloud security responsibilities. Being aware of the scope of your security duties will help the entire system stay much safer.
Security in cloud computing is crucial to any company looking to keep its applications and data protected from bad actors. Maintaining a strong cloud security posture helps organizations achieve the now widely recognized benefits of cloud computing. It comes with its advantages as well, helping you achieve lower upfront costs, reduced ongoing operational and administrative costs, easier scaling, increased reliability and availability, and improved DDoS protection.
Here are the top security benefits of cloud computing:
- Proactive threat management: Dedicated and experienced cloud architects ensure that security is deployed over your many endpoints (access ports, devices, and applications). A solution must include matured processes, visibility, tracking, 24/7/365 monitoring, and industry-leading technology to provide a proactive and responsive threat management system via a centralized management hub. Threats like DDoS (denial of service) attacks can be thwarted with active monitoring and traffic disbursement to minimize risk.
- Data Security: The best security solutions provide data security by design. They have security protocols and policies such as strong access controls and data encryption to prevent unauthorized entities from accessing confidential information.
- Regulatory Compliance: Top-notch cloud application security providers help to ensure regulatory standards and industry-specific compliance needs. This is done through its enhanced infrastructure and managed security services.
- Greater ease of scaling: Cloud computing allows you to scale with new demands, providing more applications and data storage whenever you need it. Cloud security easily scales with your cloud computing services. When your needs change, the centralized nature of this security allows you to easily integrate new applications and other features without sacrificing your data’s safety. Cloud security can also scale during high traffic periods, providing more security when you upgrade your cloud solution and scaling down when traffic decreases.
High availability and support: High availability means that cloud computing can keep business-critical systems running securely despite single component failures. Backed by constant monitoring, geo-redundancy, and failover protocols, your cloud-based data and applications are ready to support your workforce. A best-practice solution offers constant support for a company’s digital assets and provides solutions when disruptions threaten the environment. This includes live monitoring 24/7/365 to address issues in real-time.
How should you approach Cloud Security?
The way to approach cloud security is different for every organization and can be dependent on several variables. However, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has made a list of best practices that can be followed to establish a secure and sustainable cloud computing framework.
The NIST has created necessary steps for every organization to self-assess their security preparedness and apply adequate preventative and recovery security measures to their systems. These principles are built on the NIST’s five pillars of a cybersecurity framework: Identity, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover.
Another emerging technology in cloud security that supports the execution of NIST’s cybersecurity framework is cloud security posture management (CSPM). CSPM solutions are designed to address a common flaw in many cloud environments – misconfigurations.
Cloud infrastructures that remain misconfigured by enterprises or even cloud providers can lead to several vulnerabilities that significantly increase an organization’s attack surface. CSPM addresses these issues by helping to organize and deploy the core components of cloud security. These include identity and access management (IAM), regulatory compliance management, traffic monitoring, threat response, risk mitigation, and digital asset management.