Cloud computing is a technology that provides countless benefits to businesses, but just like any system, it needs to be secured. Because enterprises use the cloud to store sensitive data or perform mission-critical workflows, it’s essential that the business adapt their security measures to protect its data from security threats. When it comes to cloud security, the easy way out would be to assume that your cloud provider will handle everything. Alternatively, you might think that your legacy security systems — which probably protect your on-premise infrastructure well enough — will do the trick in the cloud.
This isn’t necessarily the case, however. The cloud is more than just an extension of previously-existing technology; it has its own architecture compared to on-premise systems and presents its own security challenges that traditional security tools and practices can’t handle on their own. If a company doesn’t change its security mindset as they adopt the cloud, it won’t be able to effectively address cloud-native problems should they occur. How do you adapt your security policies when you start using a cloud deployment?
That’s the question that cloud security provider Lacework seeks to answer. Lacework helps clients automate cloud security and modify their security mindset to fit their cloud environment; allowing them to focus on innovating through cloud solutions. Their eBook, “The Definitive Guide to Public Cloud Security,” identifies the security challenges that companies adopting the cloud need to overcome; it also compares cloud security vendors based on how well they protect public cloud environments like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.
The cloud’s unique security challenges — and how to face them
Cloud environments deliver their infrastructure (such as gateways, servers, storage, compute power, and resources) virtually rather than physically. For cloud users, there is no traditional infrastructure or network architecture to deal with, so legacy security solutions don’t apply. Traditional data center defense revolved around protecting the perimeter by preventing harmful data from entering the system, as well as encrypting the data that leaves the system to ensure that it’s protected elsewhere. For the cloud, however, this isn’t enough.
Lacework breaks down four of the major unique security challenges that the cloud presents that grow the attack surface wider than you might expect:
Many cloud-based applications are broken down into several smaller functions called microservices. While microservices can improve application performance and flexibility, they can also make securing an application more complex. Every single microservice that makes up an application needs proper access control and authorization policies in place to ensure that the app is completely secure.
The DevOps process
DevOps and the cloud are often synonymous with each other, since in a cloud environment, new code is generated constantly. In a DevOps environment, code generation can often outpace security, deploying functions or services that grow the cloud attack surface.
Enterprises will often recycle resources and operational components in order to optimize cloud platforms. These assets are constantly wiped clean and reused in a dynamic cloud environment in short amounts of time — as low as seconds. Even though these workloads may only last a short time, every one needs to be secured.
Containerization is commonly used to deploy applications, functions, and microservices in tightly-controlled environments. If those containers aren’t properly configured at every level, they can create an entire new set of security problems. For example, you need to monitor the data that travels between containers, which can be difficult if you have multiple containerized instances running at one time.
What should you look for in a public cloud security provider?
Meeting these cloud security challenges isn’t an easy task without the right approach and having the right set of tools. Public cloud security providers help clients lock down their public cloud deployments and secure the data contained within. However, not every public cloud security vendor offers the same support and features. What should your business look for in a security provider for their public cloud environments?
AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud support
AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud are currently the three top public cloud vendors around the globe. As many cloud users shift to a multicloud environment, workloads and applications need to be secured in any environment that its distributed to. Providers need to be able to secure data and workloads in multiple public cloud environments so users can migrate their information anywhere safely.
Manually configuring security for every single cloud instance takes up way too much time for enterprises and employees. Major cloud security providers should allow your company to automate repetitive, labor-intensive security processes. That way, your cloud team can spend more time on high-level manual security operation.
Runtime threat detection
In order to properly secure a cloud environment, every runtime that operates in the cloud needs to be continuously monitored for threats. This extends to both host and container infrastructures; an enterprise must continuously analyze and identify suspicious activity in your cloud environment.
You can check out Lacework’s full eBook on how to adapt your security practices for the cloud here!
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