Cloud security refers to a broad set of services, technologies, policies, and
controls used to protect cloud data, applications, and infrastructure from threats.
Shared Responsibility model for Cloud Security
Cloud security is a shared responsibility between the Cloud service provider and the customer, Cloud service providers are responsible for security “of” the cloud and the Customers are responsible for security “in” the cloud. The shared responsibility model has three categories, they are the responsibilities that are always taken care by the customer, responsibilities that are always taken care by the Cloud service provider’s and responsibilities that depend on the service model: Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS).
The cloud security responsibilities of a cloud service provider is to safe guard the entire cloud infrastructure including database, storage, compute, networking, regions, availability zones and edge locations.
The cloud security responsibilities of a customer is to manage the application, platform, Users (Identity Access management) and customer data. The customers also have the responsibility of managing network and firewall configurations, network traffic encryption, server side encryption and data integrity.
Advanced Cloud Security Challenges
Public clouds are multitenant and does not have clear perimeters, it might be a distress for organizations that need to meet strict regulatory compliance standards. It is even more challenging while adopting the modern cloud approaches such as containers, distributed serverless architectures, automated Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) methods.
Public cloud is now a most common attack surface for the modern day hackers to intrude the workloads and data in the cloud by exploiting poorly secured cloud ingress ports. Most of the malicious threats such as Zero-Day, Malware and Account Takeover have become a day-to-day reality for some of the cloud-oriented organizations.
Attaining visibility into the cloud remains to pose a challenge for the organizations. Generally in IaaS service model, the infrastructure layer is not exposed to the customers, the cloud service provider will have full control over it. But even in the PaaS and SaaS models, cloud customers are unable to track and visualize their cloud assets or cloud environments.
In an ever-changing public cloud landscape cloud assets are provisioned and decommissioned dynamically. In such dynamic environments, the constantly changing cloud workloads, relying on the traditional security tools and security policies cannot guarantee security for the organizations data in the cloud.
With the increasing speed of DevOps CI/CD security professionals must implement “shift left” security. Organizations must ensure that suitable security parameters are embedded into the development pipeline, and this will guarantee cloud-agnostic protections across all the clouds.
Organizations often underestimate the importance of the privilege access management over Identity access management. Configuring user roles, assigning privileges beyond what is required is a biggest security risk for the organizations. For instance, giving database access and read, write delete permissions for a trainee may lead to accidental loss of data. Privilege access management, helps organizations ensure that Users have only the necessary levels of access to do their jobs
Cloud environments can make your organization more agile and productive and can add to the complexity of your IT infrastructure if not carefully managed. In order to consistently manage security in hybrid and multicolour environments, organizations have to integrate security protocols and tools that work seamlessly across public cloud providers, private cloud providers, and on-premise deployments—including branch office edge protection for geographically distributed organizations.
Regardless of the industry vertical, regular audits and compliance assessments are something that every organization has to surpass. For many information security frameworks and regulations, like HIPAA, PCI compliance, or SOC 2 requirements, a cloud governance framework can help organizations to easily demonstrate and prepare for these compliances. As cloud governance provide archive of the entire system history, it is very easy for them to document the compliance.
Zero Trust and Why You Should Embrace It
Zero Trust simply says “Trust nothing, always verify”. It is a strategic initiative to prevent security attacks or data breaches by having No Trust on any User, Device or Applications within or outside the organizations perimeter.
Zero Trust advantages
Zero Trust model provides inbuilt security intelligence which constantly monitors how access is granted (or denied) inside or outside organizations perimeters. Unlike traditional security models, the Zero trust model has more number of security checkpoints. More the security checkpoints, more the validation of events, which ultimately lead to a high-end security control over the network.
Segmentation or micro perimeter is the strategy used to get easy and faster control over threats. With the Concept of segmentation, IT staff are able to identify and trap the threats with-in the segment and block the threat advancement.
Overall network performance is improved system traffic is more easily modulated from one segment to the next, as fewer hosts and endpoints per segment.
Deployment of the Zero Trust model is often considered as complex and costly. Implementing a Zero Trust access model does not enforce organizations to rip and replace existing technology. Zero Trust is not a product, it’s a systematic approach to gain cyber resilience. It doesn’t require complex deployments, organizations can start with simple access scenario built on the basics of identity and device, which are already existing.
The 6 Pillars of Robust Cloud Security
Cloud solution providers such as AWS (amazon web services), Google Cloud platform (GCP), Microsoft Azure and Alibaba offer native security features and services to their customers, additional third-party solutions are important to attain enterprise-grade security against targeted attacks data breaches and data leaks in the cloud environment. These services providers will not provide end-to-end security in a typical hybrid cloud model. A third-party security stack/cloud native security platforms provides centralized visibility and policy-based granular control necessary to deliver the following industry best practices
In a complex infrastructure working with individual IAM level is often a tedious task for the security professionals, rather they can work with groups and roles, making it easy to update IAM definitions as per the changing business requirements. Limit the access privileges to cloud assets and APIs for users in regards with their role and tasks. The more you apply privilege access, the higher the levels of authentication.
In a cloud provider’s network, there are logically isolated sections such as Virtual Private Clouds (AWS and Google) or vNET (Azure). Deploying Business resources and apps in such VPC gives organizations the capability to control a virtual network which is logically isolated from the public cloud tenants, generating a private, secure place on the public cloud. Use subnets to micro-segment workloads from each other, with granular security policies at subnet gateways.
Cloud security providers provide robust Cloud Security Posture Management, auditing for configuration deviations, constantly applying governance and compliance rules and templates when provisioning virtual servers, and remediating automatically where possible.
A next generation web application firewall helps safeguard all application, especially cloud-native distributed apps. These firewalls are and is deployed closer to micro services that are running workloads, so that it can inspect and control traffic in and out of web application servers, automatically updates WAF rules in reply to traffic behaviour changes.
Enhanced data protection with preserving good data storage resource hygiene such as identifying misconfigured buckets and eliminating orphan resources, by applying encryption at all transport layers, continuous compliance risk management and secure file shares and communications.
A Next Gen Cyber Threat Intelligence framework helps organizations in finding a holistic approach towards managing risk by detecting and remediating known and unknown threats in real-time. Cyber security Intelligence can strengthen organizations security posture it allows security teams to determine which threats pose the greatest risk to organization’s infrastructure so that it is rectified on priority.