What is cloud security?

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Cloud computing defined

Cloud computing is defined as the delivery of on-demand services and resources provided over the internet. These services include cloud storage, networking, applications, and databases. Instead of maintaining these resources on computer hard drives, cloud computing helps businesses and their users access information readily, securely, and efficiently. 

What is cloud security?

Cloud security or cloud protection focuses on securing cloud data, applications, and environments from malicious cyber threats. Businesses facing unique challenges to achieve secure cloud computing seek to protect assets in the cloud across multiple cloud service providers (CSPs), maintain strict access control policies, safeguard network data, and ensure regulatory standards and industry-specific compliance are met. Cloud security addresses these areas to support your organization’s cloud migration and cloud data protection strategy.

Cloud computing security challenges and security risks

As organizations adopt cloud systems, they encounter multiple risks as their cloud environments expand and are shared between third party collaborators. Businesses need to develop a well-rounded security strategy to handle opportunistic advanced threats. This includes cloud security monitoring, cloud storage scanning, and cloud data protection.

Visibility over the attack surface

Undoubtedly, migrating to the cloud offers organizations several advantages, from reducing IT overhead costs to providing reliable work environments. As cloud computing evolves, businesses are tasked with defending a broader attack surface which makes achieving full network visibility burdensome. Hackers find ways to carryout data breaches by exploiting vulnerabilities and blind spots within cloud-based resources that are difficult to monitor with standard cybersecurity tools.

Access control

Cloud security controls are often flexibly configured and unnecessarily grant user access to data and assets they may not fully require. Assigning loose privilege control poses data leakage risk to organizations with cloud users who are inexperienced.

Misconfigurations

Cloud misconfigurations are a leading cause of data leaks, cloud breaches, and cyberthreats. A misconfiguration in the cloud involves errors, skill gaps, and vulnerabilities that leave your cloud environment susceptible to cyberattacks.

Cloud compliance regulations

Cloud compliance is a critical concern for cloud providers and businesses that need to be confident their cloud resources comply with federal, local, and state laws, such as HIPAA, GDPR, and NIST. With documents and sensitive data being stored and shared readily in the cloud, businesses need to be confident their cloud network security remains up to date through compliance audits and the use of cloud security tools.

Complex multi-cloud environments

The cloud is constantly everchanging and consists of several types of cloud computing, including public, private, hybrid, and multi-cloud environments.

A challenge with multi-cloud environments is that they are heavily favored by enterprises, but require seamless cloud security tools to monitor access control and suspicious events on all fronts.

Whereas in the public cloud model, a cloud service provider (CSP) hosts the public cloud services. Neither the customer nor the CSP is fully responsible for maintaining secure cloud hosting. As a result, the Shared Responsibility Model helps address the responsibilities of cloud monitoring and cloud security based on cloud service variables.

What is the Shared Responsibility Model?

The Shared Responsibility Model is a framework developed for software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and infrastructure as a services (IaaS) cloud services that addresses the cloud security responsibilities of the user versus the responsibilities the CSP. Depending on the type of cloud service, the model outlines the responsibilities of the customer. Customer responsibility can include endpoint security, network, workload, misconfigurations, and data protection. Vendor responsibility can include applications, platform, and overall infrastructure security.

The Shared Responsibility Model helps alleviate customers from overwhelming operational responsibilities as workloads and applications are moved to the cloud. The model is used as a guide for cloud service providers to close responsibility gaps between CSP and the organizations they serve. Without the model, these gaps can leave your business susceptible to cloud cyberattacks.

How to secure cloud storage for your business

Factors your organization should consider to improve cloud network security:

  • Choosing cloud data security with encryption
  • Creating strong passwords
  • Implementing two-factor authentication
  • Practicing good data storage hygiene and best practices
  • Using an anti-malware cloud security tool

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Cloud Security FAQs

Cloud security is broken up into three main models: infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and software-as-a-serve (SaaS).

IaaS cloud services use APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) to manage the cloud with a few caveats. Cloud APIs are easily accessible through the web and lack a secure environment. In an IaaS landscape, cloud service providers (CSPs) and Network Packet Brokers (NPB) work together to leverage security tools to provide advanced visibility in the cloud.

PaaS cloud services rely on CSPs to secure the cloud. Utilizing a Cloud Application Security Platform (CASP) can play an important role in protecting valuable information.

SaaS cloud services work with Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASB) to handle capabilities, such as log data, audit, encryption, and access control, to support the threat investigation process and prevent cyberattacks.

The Shared Responsibility Model is a framework designed for cloud services such as software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) that compares the duties of the customer and the CSP in terms of cloud security.

The definition of cloud security:

Protecting cloud data, applications, and environments from malicious cyber threats is the fundamental goal of cloud security or cloud protection. 

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