What is Cloud Security?

Cloud security refers to the technologies, policies, controls, and services that protect the data, applications, and infrastructure in the cloud from insider and cyber threats. Though cloud providers extend certain security features and services, supplemental cloud security solutions aid in securing network, workloads, applications and data, to prevent your cloud environments from breaches, data leaks, and targeted attacks. According to the Shared Responsibility Model, the provider is responsible for the security, maintenance and management of the cloud provider’s infrastructure, compute and storage, while the cloud consumer is responsible for securing their own workloads, applications, and data in the cloud.

Securing the Continuously Evolving Cloud

Today, many organizations are steering away from traditional on-premises infrastructure in favor of cloud computing due to the cloud’s innovative, agile, and flexible nature. Cloud computing refers to the delivery of hosted services, including software, hardware, and storage, over the Internet. With the allure of rapid deployment, flexibility, low up-front costs, and the ability to scale, cloud computing can help you gain a strong digital presence and position your business for a successful future. But with these exciting benefits and services offered through a continuously evolving cloud, comes new cloud security challenges.

Cloud Security Challenges

According to a recent Gartner cloud adoption survey, of those on the public cloud, 81% were using more than one cloud service provider. This multi-cloud deployment approach makes it tempting to adopt too many cloud environments, making it difficult for organizations to keep track of their different clouds that each come with their own sets of features and security measures. As organizations start to adopt a cloud-first strategy, gaining visibility into one cloud, let alone several cloud environments, is difficult yet essential in maintaining strong security. In the Smarter with Gartner article “Why Organizations Choose a MultiCloud Strategy”, Michael Warrilow, VP Analyst at Gartner suggests that it’s best to take it slow when adopting a multi-cloud strategy, stating, “There are many nuances between platforms and trying to build services in more than one simultaneously is challenging” (1).

Gaining visibility into cloud traffic, user activity, potential security risks, or policy violations can help businesses quickly detect and prevent security threats, resulting in better incident response. As more and more applications are being hosted in various cloud environments, keeping up with the agile software development method of DevOps, maintaining compliance, and constantly revising policies can be difficult for organizations to manage. Additionally, with the ever-changing standards and regulations, organizations must have and maintain strong and up-to-date privacy and security requirements to meet these regulations.

Three Pillars of Cloud Security

Incident Response

  • It is essential for businesses to prepare for and mitigate cyber attacks in the cloud
  • Implementing cyber threat intelligence in your incident mitigation plan can prevent future cloud security incidents
  • An agreed upon cloud incident mitigation plan allows businesses to respond rapidly and efficiently, minimizing the impact of potential security breaches in the cloud

Visibility

  • Businesses should enable the appropriate tools and controls to view and monitor traffic as it flows within and travels in and out of their cloud environments
  • Businesses should strive to have the same visibility into their cloud that they had into their on-premises infrastructure
  • Visibility into your cloud environments is necessary to ensure compliance, resolve governance issues, and mitigate threats

Compliance

  • Cloud service providers must be compliant with evolving standards and regulations, including HIPAA, GDPR, CIS and PIC-DSS
  • Continuous monitoring and compliance in the cloud are key in ensuring that the data being stored in the cloud is secure
  • CIS Cloud Security Benchmarks are a guide of best practices to help users securely configure their cloud environments
  • Not complying with and violating cloud security regulations can result in fines and penalties, costing companies millions of dollars

Putting it All Together

Gaining a robust understanding of ever-evolving cloud features and services, along with new security responsibilities, is essential in helping you build and maintain cloud security solutions to support your business growth. As your business shifts to a cloud-focused approach, it is important that you create an incident mitigation plan, maintain visibility into your clouds, and ensure that your environments are compliant with all the necessary regulations.

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Why Organizations Choose a Multicloud Strategy

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