logo Shubham Rajpara
July 30, 2021
10 Min Read

Cloud Computing Security 101
logo Shubham Rajpara
July 30, 2021 | 10 Min Read

Cloud Computing Security 101

Cloud Computing Security is now "The talk of the Town"! This improved technology has the potential to improve businesses. 

Cloud computing security or, more simply, cloud security refers to a wider set of, policies, methods, technologies, applications, and controls put in place to protect virtualized IP, data, applications, services, and the associated infrastructure of cloud computing

This is done through security tools like SaaS (software as a service) solutions, IaaS (infrastructure as a service) solutions, and PaaS (platform as a service) solutions that offer security to businesses. 

Cloud computing security enables restriction of unwanted applications access, prevents security breaches, enables/ disable logging access, and allows control and monitoring of the activities on a system. 

Let us explore it more!

Advanced Cloud Protection Challenges 

Cloud computing security services are a recent addition to our business and working models. 

However, without proper implementation of cloud computing security services, we might dim the advantages of cloud computing security, which ends up resulting in higher costs and losses for businesses.

As more and more threats are developing and cloud protection challenges are coming up, it is even more important to keep the business safe and thus adopt a security-first attitude. However, still, there are so many challenges that emerged this year. Some cloud computing security challenges that cloud security services must deal with are:

1. Data Breach Issues

Failure to maintain the data efficiently could lead to risk susceptibility. Therefore, you need to prevent data breaches to ensure the safety of employees and customer data and get rid of security issues in cloud computing.

2. Data Privacy Concerns

All the business information may get into the wrong hands, and that needs to be secured with the best cloud computing security tools.

3. Compliance with the Regulatory Mandates

All businesses using cloud servers or networks must meet the necessary regulatory mandates like EU data protection, PCI DSS, FISMA, GLBA, HIPAA, and FERPA – to avoid security issues in cloud computing.

4. Lack of IT Knowledge

The Cloud Security Alliance “Cloud Adoption Practices & Priorities Survey Report states that 34 percent of companies are currently avoiding the cloud because they don’t believe their IT and business managers have the knowledge and experience to handle the demands of cloud computing. Therefore ensure you have knowledgeable minds on cloud computing security on-board.

5. Cloud Migration Issues

It should be ensured that the data is transferred over to another cloud without any error or vulnerability.  One tip is to break down the migration process into smaller steps to reduce the risk of critical errors that could corrupt the entire data and/or lead to vulnerabilities. 

6. Unsecured APIs

Many entry points or loopholes can be present in such cases that need to be addressed to strengthen the cloud computing security system of the business. Even if the cloud is safe and sound, intruders might be able to hijack the data by hacking into less-secure APIs. 

7. Insider Threats

According to an Intel report, insider threats are responsible for an incredible 43 percent of all breaches with only half of them being accidental.

Insider threats to Cloud Data Security should also be a concern for managing a business with cloud computing security. Make sure to limit the access- whether it is an employee or C-suite management.

8. Use of Open Source

Skip using Open Source while working upon applications so that you do not hand over any unwanted access to other parties and make your information vulnerable.

Now that you have read about cloud protection challenges let's move to the benefits of cloud computing.

Benefits Of Cloud Computing Security

Every business wants its business data and information to be safe and secure! Therefore, cloud computing security is the best way to keep everyone in the loop as and where required with a safe and secure platform. 

With cloud computing security businesses can focus on other areas that need attention rather than focusing on taking backups of data every day. 

Here are some major and simple benefits of using cloud computing security for cloud protection.

  • Scalability and Flexibility

As the business infrastructure scales up, the security system should be updated and scaled up as well. This ensures that security is not threatened when the expansion occurs. Again, this is something cloud computing security offers.

  • Coverage and Visibility

One thing is for sure - cloud data security system is really mature. All the resources are provisioned via APIs which implies complete visibility into all assets and policies. Important people can access all the data and assets at any point of the day thereby enabling 100% visibility and coverage.

  • Proactive Response

Dev SEC Ops and Amazon EC2 are some of the concepts that businesses can use to ensure a healthy response to diverse activities. Proactivity keeps the entire cloud system and the management updated. 

Types Of Cloud Computing

As people and businesses are all unique, their requirements are unique too. Thus, cloud computing security can be of various types. Moreover, there are types of security in cloud computing that allow different activities that are all unsurpassable. They are broadly categorized into three types of cloud computing services: 

  1. Private Clouds

Owned and governed by a single business or an organization. These kinds of cloud computing software are located physically on the premises of the business or the organization. It works and operates only for a particular business using its own hardware.

  1. Public Cloud 

This is a ready and easily available cloud computing resource that is open to the public. They are all hosted in any one of the public vendor's clouds which are well distributed globally. However, they are well managed with the data systems, database servers, applications, and security systems.

  1. Hybrid Clouds

Now, this is a mix of both Public and Private Cloud Computing. It is maintained over the Internet with the aid of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or any other dedicated private channel. With this, you can enjoy both the benefits of public and private cloud computing systems.

Focus Areas For Cloud Computing Security

Technology is going through a digital transformation almost every year. With new inventions, or maybe problems, we learn and work upon diverse focus areas. 

  • Cloud-First & Cloud Native Approaches

Cloud-First is the most commonly adopted approach in today's time. This involves shifting all the existing data to the cloud, eliminating the traditional way of lifting and shifting data. The migration of data becomes easier with the development of the systems.

  • Legacy Integration Challenges

Cloud Computing security focuses on areas where the integration of the previously engaged applications is used. They need to ensure that cross-platform connectivity, API creation, downtime or latency issues, data normalization, and security management are well tackled. 

  • Multi-Cloud Strategies

Addressing the multi-cloud services and cloud vendors is important now. This includes ensuring that challenges concerning technology stacks, accesses, integration, migration, security, workload needs, skills, and security are addressed successfully through proper strategies in place.

  • Hyperscale Data Centers

Customers share their data constantly with one or either data center. And, this needs to be managed to bring value through the necessary analytics. 

  • Cloud Security Solutions

Security is always a significant issue for any organization or a business, and it needs vigilance all the while it is functioning. Also, the regulatory mandates need to be followed to ensure all the privacy laws are followed well enough.

  • Cloud Backup and Retrieval

Just data collection is not enough, businesses need to make sure that there is a safe backup of all data. This safe storage should also allow hassle-free retrieval of data as and when required. 

  • Cloud-Based Network Services

This is a virtually provided cloud computing service that is even more prevalent in businesses. This enables them to manage and optimize the traffic, optimize speed, improve network performance, and scale as per the need. 

How Can You Secure Your Cloud?

Security is always the first priority for any person or organization when the data is all on the cloud. And, it can be made secure with the adoption of simple and easy steps. Make sure that the cloud service you use encrypts your file both on the computer and your cloud computing system.

Set up and update your privacy setting on the cloud for security in cloud computing. Make sure that you do not share the information with any application unless absolutely needed. Strong and unbeatable passwords are the old key method to keep any data safe and secure whether in a computer or a cloud-based system. 

Here are some of the easiest ways to secure your cloud computing system:

  • Use a Cloud Service That Encrypts
  • Read the User Agreements
  • Set Up Your Privacy Settings
  • Use Strong Passwords
  • Use Two-Factor Authentication
  • Don't Share Personal Information
  • Don't Store Sensitive Information
  • Use a Strong Anti-Malware Program
  • Install Updates to Your Operating System
  • Use Public Wi-Fi Sparingly

Yes, this can be cumbersome but also absolutely worthwhile.

The Pillars Of Robust Public Cloud Security Solutions

There might be a lot of differences between the cloud and traditional security, but organizations can get the most security with these cloud-based computing systems. It would be similar to the robust security achieved with the on-premise environment.

  • Secure Access Controls

The best security framework starts with the implementation of secure Identity Access Management (IAM) protocols. Make sure that the team members have only the necessary access to the systems, APIs, and assets as per the need of the job.

  • Zero-Trust Network Security Controls

You must secure and keep your critical assets in a separate portion of the cloud. For instance, vNET through Microsoft Azurein and a virtual private cloud through AWS. 

And, no one - or only a fewer number of people should have access to these files. These mission-important files should have the most limited access to keep them highly safe. 

Keep it isolated so that no one gets their hands on it even by chance.

  • Change Management 

It is important to work with the compliance rules and enforce them as per the organization's needs. Therefore, make sure to use the change management feature of your provider's cloud computing security system. This enables the sensitive assets to be moved or changed. Moreover, this monitors for any unusual behavior on the cloud that can be a threat to the data and information of the business.

  • Data Protection

The organization should encrypt all the information at every layer to ensure the safety of all the files and assets of the business. In addition to this, security protocols should be applied to every sharing of files, communicating applications, and other areas in the environment that is held or used.

  • Continuous Monitoring

Get the insights on the cloud-native logs that can allow a thorough comparison of the work and assets to ensure a safe environment and allow quick remediation.

5 Public Cloud Security Tools

Cloud Computing Security is really safe, modern, and easy to use for business. But, there are certain challenges faced to these Cloud security tools that can only be catered to using a limited number of tools. 

1. CrowdStrike Falcon

CrowdStrike Falcon

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Crowd strike Flacon is a next-generation protection software that aims to detect, prevent and respond to attacks. Since this is a cloud-based tool, it makes sure to be feasible and versatile for the business environment for cloud security services.

Features

  • It can be easily run by client or SaaS.
  • This is a very light digital footprint but covers the entire architecture of the cloud.
  • Offers clients flexibility while operating the tool.
  • Uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to protect from attacks.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Endpoint Isolation
  • Rich Data Recording
  • Extensive APIs
  • Cloud Visibility 

Cons

  • Vulnerability Management
  • The Little Things
  • Nickel and Diming

Pricing Structure

Falcon Pro- $8.99 per month

Falcon Enterprise- $15.99 per month

Flacon premium- $18.99 per month

Flacon Complete- a per the business and needs

2. Cloudflare Web Application Firewall

Cloudflare Web Application Firewall

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Cloudflare is another cloud security tool that offers a secured computing tool to speed up and protect a bazillion of websites, SaaS services, APIs, and other devices connected to the Internet.

Features

  • Creates a defense for the websites, apps, and APIs 
  • Protects the entire business environment and network from outside attacks
  • The tool ensures optimized and secured connectivity between aspects of businesses.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Protects against DDOS attacks
  • Provides DNS record updates
  • Promotes Reviewing easy traffic

Cons

  • The features are not easily discoverable and understandable.

Pricing Structure

Free- $0 per month 

Pro- $20 per month

Business- $200 per month

Enterprise- can ask for a quote.

3. TOPIA

TOPIA

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This software tool for cloud computing security collects diverse data to recognize and eliminate the vulnerabilities for the business or the system. 

Features

  • It automatically recognizes the OS and apps connected and used.
  • Allows a real-time threat analysis including security patch management
  • Offers prediction, identification, analysis, and remediation for the threats

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Allows seeing technologies used, removed, inactive, or installed.
  • Alerts to stay updated
  • Excellent customer support with constant updates

Cons

  • Truly no cons to report here.

Pricing Structure 

Contact them for custom pricing here.

4. Orca Security

Orca Security

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Get in-depth analysis of visibility into Azure, AWS, and GCP, making sure to remove the vulnerabilities and require no installation.

Features

  • It automatically recognizes the OS and apps connected and used.
  • Allows a real-time threat analysis including security patch management
  • Offers prediction, identification, analysis, and remediation for the threats

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Excellent Customer Support 
  • Clean and good overview
  • Innovative and highly Responsive

Cons

  • Lack of legacy scanning
  • Deploying the cloud scanners is a little challenging.
  • It can be organized in a better way for easy accessibility. 

Pricing Structure

Contact them for custom pricing here.

5. Splunk Enterprise Security

Splunk Enterprise Security

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A machine data analysis that enables the customers to have a real-time analysis of the digital investment with actionable intelligence and advanced analytics.

Features

  • Promotes access, networks, and endpoint protection
  • Ensures advanced threat analysis

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Data is collected from multiple sources and correlated.
  • Alerts the monitor on a collection of data and report
  • Compliance with the security
  • Addresses the security team to be PCI compliant

Cons

  • It can be costly.
  • Training needs to be a little better.
  • Splunk data sizing and data collected. Worked with Professional Service to scale our environment.
  • The dashboard can improve.

Pricing Structure

Contact them for custom pricing here

Cloud Network Security Best Practices 

The three best cloud network security practices are as follows:

Cloud Services evolve all the time. Therefore, it is important for your organization and the business to stay on the top and updated with the latest changes. Ask your security providers to adjust their artificial intelligence and machine learning models to keep up with the updates. Here are some of the simple and easy-to-adopt steps with cloud network security to have strong cloud computing security:

Understand cloud usage and risk

  • Remember to identify the regulated or sensitive data.
  • Learn how sensitive data can be accessed or shared.
  • Learn about the shadow IT. 
  • Auditing configurations of the Iaas like Azure and AWS is important.
  • Work on the malicious user behavior thoroughly.

Protect your cloud

  • The first is to apply the protection policies on the data and information on the cloud.
  • Create your encryption keys and encrypt the data.
  • Limit access to the data in a limited loop.
  • Do not move data from devices you do not trust or are unsure about. 
  • Ensure to have the latest and updated malware protection tools like IaaS, for example, Azure and AWS.

Respond to security issues

  • You need to verify the additional high-risk access situations in the cloud computing security system
  • Make and adjust the policies of cloud computing security as per the latest and updated services that have emerged.
  • Make sure to get rid of all the malware from the cloud services.

Conclusion 

According to Gartner, more than 70% of organizations will be using Security-as-a-Service by 2021. However 83% of organizations say they need to improve their cloud security. This only goes on to say how imperative business think cyber security is for them now. Moreover with hyper-digitalization cyber threats have become a constant problem to mitigate, knowing the basics of cyber computing security is therefore a must for businesses of all sizes.

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