Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of organizations already had or planned to use cloud-based infrastructure. In the wake of COVID-19, cloud adoption has rapidly accelerated and cloud services have been at the core of organizations’ digital transformation efforts to support a remote workforce.
When moving to the cloud, selecting a cloud service provider – also known as cloud computing providers – can be difficult due to the variety of options available. Beyond the customizations and optimizations offered by different cloud services providers, an important consideration when evaluating cloud options is the aspect of cloud security.
Cloud services providers allow an organization to lease infrastructure from them rather than maintaining an in-house data center. These cloud services come in a variety of service models, including:
A certain provider may only offer specific service models, and each provider’s implementation may be different. This means that certain providers may have specializations or optimizations that are more or less effective at meeting an organization’s specific business needs and use cases.
One of the most important considerations when selecting a cloud services provider is whether a public or private cloud meets an organization’s business and security requirements. However, this does not have to be an either-or decision as hybrid and multi-cloud deployments enable a company to take advantage of the benefits of both public and private clouds.
A public cloud deployment is hosted on shared infrastructure. The cloud service provider uses virtualization to host multiple different customers’ infrastructure on the same server while isolating these deployments from one another. Examples of public cloud service platforms include:
A public cloud deployment provides a number of advantages to an organization but has its downsides as well. Some important considerations when considering a public cloud deployment include:
Public cloud deployments offer a number of benefits when compared to hosting a data center on-premises. However, the unique environment of the cloud also introduces new security considerations.
Like public cloud deployments, private clouds are implemented using infrastructure leased from a cloud services provider. Unlike a public cloud, a private cloud deployment is hosted on a dedicated infrastructure. The most commonly used private cloud service providers include:
A private cloud deployment splits the difference between an on-premises data center and a public cloud deployment. Some of the important considerations associated with a private cloud deployment include:
The choice of a private cloud reduces some of the cost, flexibility, and scalability benefits of the cloud as compared to a public cloud deployment. However, these downsides may be offset by the increased privacy and security that a private cloud deployment offers.
An organization is not limited to the choice between a public and a private cloud deployment. Two other options are hybrid and multi-cloud deployments.
A hybrid cloud incorporates both a private and a public cloud. The use of private cloud infrastructure provides all of the security benefits of dedicated infrastructure, which can be invaluable for data security and regulatory compliance. On the other hand, a public cloud has a number of benefits in terms of cost, flexibility, and scalability. A hybrid cloud deployment uses both a public and a private cloud and allows data and applications to move between them as needed, providing the best of both worlds.
The diversity of options and the specializations of different cloud providers may mean that different platforms are best-suited to different use cases. As a result, many organizations adopt a multi-cloud deployment, where applications and data are hosted on the cloud platform that is best suited to them. This enables an organization to develop
One of the main selling points of the cloud is that it allows an organization to outsource many of the responsibilities associated with its infrastructure to a third-party cloud services provider. However, transitioning to a cloud-based deployment does not mean that an organization gives up full control over its infrastructure or full responsibility for securing it.
Since a cloud services provider has full control over certain parts of the infrastructure that it leases to its customers, it also has the responsibility for securing these components. However, the customer is responsible for securing the parts of their infrastructure stack that remain under their control.
The breakdown of security responsibilities depends on the cloud services model that a customer selects. Cloud services providers delineate this breakdown in a Shared Responsibility Model. Based on the cloud services model used, a cloud customer can identify which security responsibilities are wholly theirs and which are shared with their cloud services provider.
Cloud services providers often offer tools designed to help their customers meet their security responsibilities, such as AWS Security Groups. However, these tools differ from one platform to another, and many cloud customers lack a full understanding of the shared responsibility model, their security responsibilities, and how to properly configure the available security settings.
This problem is exacerbated in multi-cloud deployments (which most organizations adopt), where an organization is responsible for learning to secure multiple different cloud platforms. As a result, security misconfigurations are the most common cause of data breaches and security incidents in the cloud.
Securing cloud-based infrastructure can be difficult, and few organizations have the knowledge and expertise in-house to effectively secure multi-cloud deployments. Since the provided tools are often vendor-specific and many traditional security solutions do not work effectively in the cloud, it can be very difficult to achieve consistent visibility, threat detection, and security policy enforcement across an organization’s entire cloud-based infrastructure.
Partnering with a cloud security provider can help an organization to ensure that its move to the cloud doesn’t create additional security challenges and risks. A cloud security company offers an organization the tools and capabilities that it needs to secure its cloud-based infrastructure, which include:
The cloud offers organizations several benefits, but it creates new and unique security risks as well. Check Point’s cloud security solutions support AWS, Azure, GCP, and all other major cloud platforms.
To learn more about the threats and challenges that organizations are facing in the cloud, check out Check Point’s 2020 Cloud Security Report. You’re also welcome to sign up for free trials of Check Point’s cloud security solutions to ensure that your move to the cloud doesn’t expose your organization to attack.