By Guilherme (Gui) Alvarenga, Product Marketing Manager, Cloud Security
Cloud security is a complex topic from a technical perspective, but the basics are easy to grasp. If you’re like most business decision makers, security is one of your top concerns—but you may believe that the cloud applications you use are “secure enough” for your needs.
Is this really the case? And if not, what kinds of cloud security solutions do you need to improve your security?
How the Cloud Works
First, let’s explain exactly what the cloud is, and how it relates to your organizational security. Intuitively, some people believe that “cloud” storage means your data is being held in the air somehow, but this isn’t really the case. Instead, most cloud applications store data on physical servers, in datacenters around the globe. Your data is stored remotely, and provided to you upon request.
There are many advantages to this approach. Notably, you won’t have to invest time, money, or energy into building or maintaining your own servers; you’ll be relying on someone else’s for a fraction of the cost. Additionally, you’ll have access to your apps and your data from anywhere, so long as you have a device connected to the internet.
Cloud Security: Pros and Cons
Now, let’s turn our attention to security. Cloud apps and services have some security advantages and disadvantages that you’ll need to consider for your organization.
You could say that the biggest strength of cloud computing is also its biggest weakness: a separate organization is storing your data.
In some ways, this is a good thing. It means that you’ll have access to another company’s robust resources, staff, and experience to securely store your data. . However, data security is not the exclusive responsibility of your cloud service provider
Even if you’re working with a transparent business, and one that prioritizes their client’s security, you will also have a responsibility to keep your own data safe. By contrast, if you run your own applications and host your data on your own servers, you’ll have complete control and responsibility over how you operate.
Generally speaking, cloud service providers invest heavily in security of their infrastructure. They have a reputation to maintain, and their future as a business depends on their ability to continue providing a secure and reliable service. Accordingly, the biggest names in the industry tend to keep data stored separately in data centers that are geographically distant (to guard against natural disasters), and the data that’s stored is encrypted, to prevent it from being easily accessed by a malicious actor.
That said, there are still security openings that could compromise your business.
So What Are Basic Requirements When It Comes To Cloud Security?
Cloud security solutions are additional, cloud-based measures to keep your organization and its data secure. These are some of the most important protections you should seek:
- Encryption. Some cloud security solutions may be able to afford you a stronger connection. When sending or retrieving data, your organization could be vulnerable. Additional protective measures could decrease the likelihood that someone can gain access to your information.
- Threat detection. More importantly, modern cloud security solutions are equipped with better threat detection. There are several hallmarks of malicious activity; when someone attempts to hack into your account or execute a DDoS-style attack, they tend to display a certain pattern of activity. Cloud security solutions can identify this activity and immediately guard against it, neutralizing the threat. Even better, modern security solutions are equipped with artificial intelligence (AI), which continually learns to identify new threats and self-improve.
- Manual controls. Cloud security solutions also tend to offer manual controls for IT teams. While allowing the security app to work on its own can be beneficial, you may want to instate additional security measures. For example, you may want to whitelist or blacklist certain sources, giving you more customizability.
- Network Security: Whether your company utilizes AWS, Azure, or GCP, in order to efficiently perform, most companies are equipped with multiple solutions, such as Salesforce, Oracle, Alibaba, Google Suite or Office 360 that store data in their clouds. It’s important to look for a unified multi-cloud security solution that integrates all your cloud services, giving you full visibility, security and control of your cloud security network and traffic. The Check Point Cloud Security Blueprint document introduces the cloud security blueprint and describes key architectural principles and cloud security concepts.
- Transparency and observability. One of the best advantages of cloud security solutions is their ability to offer more transparency and observability. Once in place, you can keep an eye on all transactions and activity, and keep an eye out for suspicious or unusual behavior. If something ever goes wrong, you can trace it back to its source.
Cloud security solutions are also extremely important for compliance purposes. If you work in an industry that has regulatory requirements for data security or privacy, it’s important that you invest in additional tools that help you meet those requirements.
While organizations recognize that misconfigurations occur, most of them underestimate their prevalence. In fact, many misconfigurations go unnoticed. In its 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) Verizon Enterprise showed that errors constituted one of the top causes in the data breaches analized. Verizon’s researchers attributed 21% of those incidents to misconfigurations. In total, human error accounted for 22% of all breaches. According to IBM Cost of Data Breach Report, cloud misconfiguration breaches averaged $4.41 million as a result of poor configuration.
It’s also worth noting that there are a wide variety of different cloud security solutions available, make sure to select a unified multi-cloud security solution that encompasses threat prevention and network protection, Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM), workload protection, application security, and cloud intelligence.
Additional Security Measures
Even with the best cloud services providers and robust cloud security solutions in place, there are still going to be vulnerabilities within your organization. For example, if an employee chooses a weak password, or if they fall for a phishing scheme, it may be easy for a malicious actor to gain access to your information in the cloud.
Accordingly, in addition to installing and using cloud security solutions, it’s important to integrate better security measures at every stage of your organization. In many cases, even basic training can dramatically increase the collective security of your organization.
Do you want to read more about cloud security? Download the Check Point Cloud Security Blueprint, which introduces the cloud security blueprint and describes key architectural principles and cloud security concepts.