Cloud security is a subset discipline of cyber security that focuses on securing cloud computing systems. This means keeping data private and secure across different online-based infrastructures, applications, and platforms. Securing these systems also involves the efforts of cloud providers and the clients that operate them, whether individual, small to medium business, or enterprise users.
Let’s understand Cloud Security in detail.
What is Cloud Security?
Cloud Security is a collection of technology, protocols, and best practices that safeguard cloud computing environments, applications executing in the cloud, and data kept in the cloud. Securing cloud services starts with understanding what precisely is being made secure and what system aspects must be handled.
The backend development against security exposures is primarily within the hands of cloud service providers. Apart from picking a security-conscious provider, clients should concentrate mostly on proper service configuration and safe use habits. In addition, clients must ensure that any end-user hardware and networks are properly secured.
Cloud Security protects the following components- Physical Networks, Data Servers, Data Storage, Computer Virtualization Frameworks, Operating Systems, Run time Environments, Middleware, Data, apps, and so on. However, the ownership of these components is in co-relation with Cloud Computing.
The components are safe based on two perspectives i.e. Cloud service types and Cloud Environments.
Cloud Service Types
These services are offered by third-party cloud providers and are used in dealing with cloud-based infrastructure.
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
- Platform as a Service (PaaS)
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
- The core of any third-party cloud service
These are the deployment models in which more than one cloud makes systems for the end user.
- Public Cloud Environment
- Private Cloud Environment
- Multi-Cloud Environment
- Hybrid Cloud Environment
How does Cloud Security work?
Cloud security mechanisms bear two forms: those provided by Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) and those executed by customers. Also, it is crucial to note that managing security is rarely the complete responsibility of the CSP or the customer.
To clarify, Cloud Security operates in the following environments –
1) Public Cloud Services– hosted by CSPs
2) Private Cloud Services- for single organizations
3) Hybrid Cloud Services- for both public and private networks
Purpose of Cloud Security
The primary intent behind cloud security in any of these environments is to achieve the following goals:
🞛 Data Security
This aspect deals with the technical side of threat prevention. Tools and technologies allow providers to block access and visibility of sensitive data. Among such tools, Encryption is one of the most robust tools available. Encryption scrambles your data so that it’s only readable by the individual who has the encryption key. If your data is lost, it will virtually become unreadable and pointless. Data transit protections such as VPNs (virtual private networks) are also highlighted in cloud networks.
🞛 Identity and Access Management (IAM)
IAM tools and services let businesses deploy policy-driven enforcement protocols for all users who try to access both on-premises and cloud-based services. The main functionality of IAM is to make digital identities for each user so they are actively monitored and restricted when crucial during all data interactions.
The main priority is on policies for threat prevention, detection, and mitigation. With businesses, aspects like threat intel can assist with tracking and focusing on threats to maintain crucial systems secure. Individual cloud clients could profit from valuing safe user behavior policies and training. These apply largely to organizational environments, though rules for safe use and response to threats are useful for any user.
🞛 Data Retention and Business continuation in crisis
Regardless of security measures and top-notch cloud infrastructure, there is a high risk of a data breach in any organization. Businesses must have a redundancy plan to sustain such data breaches or external threats. They should quickly act on the discovered vulnerabilities or significant system outages as soon as possible. Doing so helps in maintaining stability and minimizes the risk of a major loss in terms of data and business. However, this is only possible if you have set up the Firewall for monitoring the Cloud Network for your organization.
🞛 Legal Compliance
It is important for organizations to abide by the legal guidelines set by government entities for safeguarding user privacy.
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Now we have a glimpse of how cloud security operates let’s have a peek at some tools.
Cloud Security Tools
Here are some specific Cloud Security Tools,
🞛 Cloud Workload Protection Platform (CWPP)
CWPP is a security mechanism that discovers workloads that exist within an organization’s cloud-based deployments and on-premises infrastructure. Once these workloads have been located, the solution will execute a vulnerability check to identify any potentially exploitable security problems with the workload based on specified security policies and known vulnerabilities.
🞛 Cloud Based Security Access Broker (CASB)
CASB is an on-premise cloud-based policy between the service providers and the customer. This tool protects both service providers and customers by enforcing the network regulations that comply organization’s policy. CASB safeguards data, and cloud application use across different platforms is visible to consumers. In addition, potential threats are recognized, so that the threat of security violations can be managed along the way.
🞛 Cloud Security Poster Management (CSPM)
CSPM helps in finding and handling risks through security assessments and automated compliance monitoring. The tool automatically and continuously checks for misconfigurations that can lead to data breaches and leaks. This automated detection enables organizations to make critical changes on a constant, ongoing basis. But, it’s not the sole responsibility of the cloud hosting to deliver security. Organizations have to actively monitor and improve security as well.
Cloud Security Issues
🞛 Lack of visibility- difficult to monitor how the data is being accessed and by who
🞛 Multitenancy- multiple client infrastructures under the same cloud environment often get targeted by the hackers
🞛 Access management & shadow IT- to manage and restrict access points across on-premises systems, administering these same levels of restrictions is tough in cloud environments.
🞛 Compliance – is a source of confusion for enterprises who use public or hybrid cloud deployments. In general, accountability for data privacy and security still rests with the company, and heavy dependence on third-party solutions to handle this component can lead to costly compliance problems.
🞛 Misconfigurations- leaving default administrative passwords as it is, or not creating appropriate privacy settings leads to security issues.
How to secure the cloud?
If you are wondering how to secure the cloud security issues, here are some ways you can do it,
Encryption can help you provide cloud security. The encryption is either offered by a cloud provider or by a separate cloud security solutions provider. You go with encryption communication, sensitive data encryption, and end-to-end encryption.
However, if you are using encryption, keep in mind that the safe and secure management of your encryption keys is important. Keep a key backup and avoid keeping it in the cloud. You might also want to alter your encryption keys frequently so that if someone has access to them, they will be locked out of the system when you make the change.
🞛 Follow basic cyber security guidelines
- Use strong passwords and a password manager
- Protect every device used for accessing cloud data
- Backup data on a regular basis
- Change permissions to avoid giving full access to a specific individual or device
- Don’t use public Wifi for accessing the data
- Use Anti-virus and anti-malware software
Configuration is a vital practice in cloud security. Majority of the cloud data breaches come from basic vulnerabilities such as misconfiguration. By proper configuration, you are broadly decreasing your cloud security risk.
Here are some configuration tips you may want to consider,
- Alter the default settings
- Don’t leave the cloud storage bucket open
- Cloud vendor provides you with security controls that you can switch on
🞛 Cloud Storage and File Sharing
Cloud computing security risks have impacts on every individual consumer and business. For instance, consumers can utilize the public cloud for storing and backing up files (with the help of SaaS services like Dropbox), for services like email and office apps, or for doing tax forms and accounts.
If you operate cloud-based services then you may have to decide on how you share cloud data with others, especially if you work as a consultant or freelancer. While sharing files on Google Drive or another benefit may be an easy method to share your work with clients, you may require to check that you are managing permissions properly.
🞛 Check out the Security of your cloud provider
Security is a prominent aspect to think about when it comes to picking a cloud security provider. This is because your cyber security is no longer just your responsibility: cloud security organizations must do their part in making a secure cloud environment and share the responsibility for data security. You check for the reliability of the service provider by asking for details regarding Security Audits, Data Segmentation, Customer Data Retention, Encryption, User Data Retention, and Access management.
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Importance of Cloud Security
With the expansion in adoption of the Enterprise Cloud, business-critical applications and data migrate to authorized third-party cloud service providers (CSPs). Most significant CSPs present standard cybersecurity tools with monitoring and warning functions as part of their service offerings, but in-house information technology (IT) security staff may see these tools do not provide substantial coverage, this means there are cybersecurity gaps between what is shown in the CSP’s tools and what the enterprise requires. And this risks data loss or exploits.
Because no organization or CSP can eliminate all security threats and vulnerabilities, business supervisors must balance the benefits of adopting cloud services with the level of data security risk their organizations are willing to take.
Final Take on Cloud Security
Whether you have a small or an enterprise-level business it is critical to make sure that your network and devices are secure. If you require to have more information regarding the concepts relating to Cloud Security you can contact us and get a clear view.