What is Cloud Computing Security?

Cloud computing security is a set of policies and procedures put in place to define how cloud-based systems, resources and data are protected. Learn what cloud computing security is and what an organization should consider when deploying a cloud security solution, including network security, posture management, workload protection for containers and serverless applications.

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What is Cloud Computing Security?

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing, by definition, enables an organization to lease data storage and computing resources rather than operating their own solutions in-house. Instead of operating infrastructure that is owned by the organization and located within their network perimeter, companies lease resources from a cloud service provider (CSP).

Cloud computing is offered under a number of different models and provides organizations with the ability to take advantage of the benefits of economy of scale with regard to their computing infrastructure.  For example, cloud customers have the ability to take advantage of different consumption models:

  • Elastic Resources: Organizations can easily upgrade to better plans when needed.
  • Metered Services: Companies pay for the resources that they use, rather than a specific plan.

Cloud computing security is an organization’s approach to protecting these cloud-based resources. This includes both security solutions deployed to protect the organization’s cloud deployment and the policies and procedures put in place to define how cloud-based systems and data are protected.

Robust cloud computing security is essential to ensuring regulatory compliance and protecting customer privacy.  However, cloud-based environments are very different from the on-premises ecosystems that organizations are accustomed to protecting. These differences create various cloud security challenges:

Challenge #1: Cloud Security Posture Management

An organization’s security posture refers to its ability to minimize cyber risk to the company. This encompasses everything from designing a robust security strategy to properly configuring security controls to deploying and operating the appropriate security tools.

The use of cloud computing security requires cloud security posture management. Traditional solutions are less effective in a cloud environment, and organizations require solutions designed to secure cloud environments and appropriately configure CSP-provided security controls and monitoring tools.

The difference between on-premises and cloud-based environments also impacts an organization’s legal and regulatory responsibilities. Compliance and governance in the cloud is different than in on-premises environments. Companies must take cloud-focused approaches to achieve the level of visibility, access control, and infrastructure certification required for compliance.

Challenge #2: Cloud Network Security

Securing data and applications in public, private and hybrid clouds requires different approaches and tools than on-premises data centers. Companies must cope with data storage outside of their network perimeters on infrastructure that they don’t own and that may be shared with other users. Securing sensitive data in the cloud requires proper configuration of CSP-provided settings and deployment of cloud-native security solutions.

In addition to protecting cloud-based data storage, companies also must deploy solutions for web applications and API protection for their cloud environments. The cloud provides a number of advantages for an organization’s applications; however, applications in the cloud are outside the traditional perimeter and running on infrastructure that the company lacks ownership and full visibility into. Protecting cloud-native applications requires cloud-native security solutions, including workload protection for serverless and containerized applications.

Challenge #3: Cloud Intelligence and Threat Hunting

Effectively securing a cloud environment requires the ability to identify and respond to potential cyber threats. To accomplish this, an organization needs a cloud computing security solution with certain capabilities:

  • Cloud Intelligence: Cybercriminals target cloud environments with different attacks than on-premises data centers. Protecting against these attacks requires knowledge of the current threats to cloud infrastructure.
  • Visibility: Organizations can only defend against the attacks that they can detect. In the cloud, where companies are leasing their infrastructure from a CSP, different approaches and tools are required to achieve the visibility that they need.
  • Detection: With limited visibility and control over cloud environments, detection of threats becomes more complex. Organizations must leverage CSP-provided and cloud-native security solutions to rapidly identify cyber threats to their cloud environments.
  • Alerts: Many organizations suffer from alert overload, and deploying multiple different cloud environments can exacerbate this issue. Effectively securing both on-premises and cloud-based infrastructure requires an integrated security solution.
  • Automatic Remediation: Cyber threats are fast-moving and can rapidly cause damage to an organization’s cloud infrastructure. Automatic remediation enables an organization to minimize the damage and expense caused by a cyberattack through rapid response.

Prevention vs Protection

In the cloud, as well as any network environment, an organization can deploy solutions for threat prevention, protection, or both. Threat prevention offers the ability to block threats before they occur, while protection deals with ongoing threats to the enterprise.

In general, prevention is better than protection since it eliminates the cost and damage caused by cyber threats to the organization. However, prevention of every potential threat is impossible, making it necessary to deploy solutions capable of preventing as many threats as possible while also offering threat detection and protection capabilities.

Implementing Robust Cloud Computing Security

Minimizing the danger posed by cyber threats to your cloud-based resources requires tailored cloud security solutions. To learn more about the unique threats faced by cloud environments, check out the 2020 Cloud Security Report. Then, request a security assessment to identify any potential gaps in your current cloud security assessment and a demonstration of CloudGuard Dome 9 to learn how best to close these security holes.

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