4 Reasons Every Organization Needs Cloud Security

Cloud Security

4 Reasons Why You Need It

4 Reasons Every Organization Needs Cloud Security

As you may already know, deploying a cloud environment is no small task. You have to find a cloud service provider that is the right fit for your organization, onboard team members, make sure their skill sets are up to par, juggle credentials, and more. While it is an exciting and complex journey, there is one aspect that absolutely cannot falter, and that is cloud security.

While many organizations may believe a cloud environment can be deployed within their existing security infrastructure, this isn’t the case. Cloud security requires a different set of policies and controls that needs to be aligned with the organizations information security policies. Let’s take a closer look at four reasons why cloud security is essential to your organization, and what should be in place as you build out your security program.

1. The Shared Security Model

When it comes to cloud security, it is of the utmost importance that you have a thorough understanding of the shared security model, also known as the shared responsibility model. Many cloud buyers operate under the false notion that their cloud service provider will take care of their cloud security needs. While a service provider will secure some aspects of your environment, you will have to play a role as well. If you don’t understand what your role is, you may be leaving your organization in danger.

What does the shared security model entail?

Essentially, it is the idea that cloud security should be maintained by both the customer and cloud service provider. In this model, the cloud service provider is responsible for maintaining secure access to and for the cloud, while the customer is responsible for the security of the data within the cloud and the credentials to key software like your operating system.

While you won’t have to worry about securing such components as storage or infrastructure, you will need to know how to provide the security of things such as customer data, network and firewall configuration, server-side encryption, and more. Speak with your provider to understand what each of your responsibilities are so you can ensure you’re building the strongest, most secure foundation for your cloud environment.

2. Various Cloud Consumption Models Carry Different Levels of Risk

As more cloud consumption models come into play, your level of risk increases since SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS can all put a heavy weight on your organization’s security infrastructure. This is because as more of these models enter your organization, the chance for a security breach grows. Cloud consumption models should be monitored closely to give your organization a complete view into what is being used, how much it is being used, and where it is being used.

Without full visibility into your organization’s cloud consumption, you could easily end up paying far more than you’d like to and, ultimately, put your business at serious risk. In order to prevent a security breach, you should look into what your cloud service provider offers in terms of tools and procedures. Managed security services will help to monitor, alert and respond to cyber-threats while managing the cyber-risk. To get the ball rolling, run a shadow IT assessment for a closer analysis of the situation. This will help you identify gaps and better steer clear of compliance and security risks.

3. Internal Threats and Data Leakage

More often than not, the biggest threats to the cloud come from within. These internal threats are typically the result of authentication and authorization mismanagement, where credentials are distributed too liberally. IT teams should take care to ensure that credentials are only granted to team members who absolutely need them and know how to use them. Otherwise, data could mishandled, resulting in modifications or deletions that could cause major damage to an organization.

Speaking of data, leakage also makes a strong case for cloud security. Data can be lost or leaked from cloud storage for many reasons such as security breaches, cyber-attacks, and the aforementioned increase in cloud consumption. If you aren’t backed up, you may lose that data for good. With cloud security, you will be able to design a disaster recovery strategy in order to recover what has been lost. Without a disaster recovery strategy, your main data storage location could be at risk. Make sure every team member understands your disaster recovery process so data loss or leakage is kept to a minimum.

4. Increasingly Sophisticated Threats

The cloud is always evolving. Unfortunately, as the cloud becomes more sophisticated, so do cloud security threats. Advanced threats will target everything from cloud environments to public cloud services, which means you have to stay on the defense at all times.

More recently, it has been found that critical vulnerabilities in certain microprocessors can be exploited. Once this has been done, other programs can actually steal data that is being processed on that computer. For example, the vulnerability Meltdown and Spectre. Meltdown and Spectre refer to unique hardware vulnerabilities that are both equally dangerous. The reason these vulnerabilities pose such high-level threats is because they can occur across any device, from mobile devices to the cloud. In cloud computing instance, the exploitation of these vulnerabilities can allow cyber-criminals to escape software containers and virtual machines. Those who are able to hack into a system using Meltdown and Spectre will be able to read memory and gain access to sensitive information.

While patches have become available for sophisticated threats such as Meltdown and Spectre, they don’t prevent the threat altogether. And in some cases, they can be bypassed altogether. These patches usually make the act more difficult to execute, however, and your organization should have them in place. Speak with your cloud service provider and make sure you understand what their responsibilities are and which are yours. You will want have all the information you need on these current active threats, which patches help, and what other security measures can be taken so that you can work together to the best of your abilities.

As You Build Out Your Cloud Security Program

Designing your cloud security strategy isn’t easy. Organizations must carefully move forward with their buildout, continue to learn, and always ask questions, working hand in hand with your cloud service provider. One of the most important parts of your cloud security process is remembering that you’re stronger together. Once you’ve got that down, you’ll be able to create a cloud security strategy that can adapt and evolve alongside your organization.

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Bala Sathunathan

Bala Sethunathan

Director, Security Practice & CISO


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