The cloud is not as secure as business leaders hope, and yet, many businesses still rely on the cloud for essential services like application distribution and data storage. If you are worried about the security of the cloud environment your business utilizes every day, you need to ensure that your cloud security provider can support your cloud with the following six pillars of cloud security:
Effective Identity and Access Management
The more granular your identity and access management policies and controls, the better. You should try to keep the majority of your cloud data and applications tightly locked, providing as minimal access privileges as you can manage without hindering your teams’ ability to carry out their tasks effectively. As you grant more extensive privileges, you should increase the levels of identity authentication required. And, it should go without saying, but you should continuously remind your staff of the importance of identity and access management hygiene, specifically strong passwords, permission time-outs and the like.
Isolated Networks and Micro-segments
Not every section of the cloud needs to be accessible from every section of the business network — and vice versa. It might be wise to deploy business-critical resources and apps in isolated sections of a cloud network, like a Virtual Private Cloud, which only a small number of highly trusted IT leaders have access to. You can also micro-segment workloads from one another, to protect all projects from the vulnerabilities of one. There are various strategies and techniques for segregating your network for enhanced security, and you can work with your security operations center to create a system that makes sense for your organization.
Consistent Application of Relevant Policies and Processes
Working to produce a guidebook of security policies is a waste of time unless you are going to work even harder to enforce those policies consistently. You need to take the time to train staff in relevant security policies, processes and practices — and retrain them on a regular basis — and impose harsh penalties on workers who flagrantly neglect to uphold the organizational security strategy. This is especially essential when it comes to managing security related to compliance, as not just individual employees but the entire company could suffer due to failure to comply with existing regulations.
A next-generation firewall is a combination of a traditional network firewall and a web application firewall, which granularly inspects and controls all traffic. Typically deployed closer to servers running workloads, these firewalls can more effectively recognize malicious traffic and thwart attacks, keeping the cloud, the network and the entire business safer. Even better, next-generation firewalls automatically update with new rules, so there is no period in which the firewall will be operating on out-of-date information.
Enhanced Data Protection at All Layers
Perhaps the most important component of enhanced data protection is encryption, which should be occurring at all transport layers and within all communications inside and outside the organization. Additionally, data protection can be improved through the maintenance of good data storage hygiene, which will involve monitoring for misconfigurations and eliminating unused resources. Overall, you should continuously check on the status of data protection and make improvements to keep your cloud secure.
Real-time Threat Detection
A security solution that informs you after a threat has infiltrated your cloud and stolen your data is not particularly valuable. Instead, you need security tools that search for signs of approaching threats and take appropriate actions to remediate those threats as swiftly as possible. Many of the more robust threat intelligence systems use large and diverse logs of cross-referenced data that allows for the accurate visualization of the threat landscape. AI further improves the efficacy of threat detection tools, so you may consider investing in a cutting-edge AI solution to protect your cloud today and into the future.
The cloud has dozens of benefits that all but compel businesses to migrate their data and applications to cloud environments. However, in doing so, many business leaders neglect to consider security. By building the above six pillars into your cloud security strategy, you can radically reduce your risk and enjoy easier compliance for years to come.