Every organization with a digital presence or undergoing digital transformation has unique cybersecurity needs. That’s what’s driving the trend to move security services to the cloud.
We’ll take a look at the types of cloud security services available, cloud security planning strategies, tips on choosing a cloud security service provider, and some critical best practices.
What Is Cloud Security?
Traditional digital and application security approaches can no longer keep pace with new cybersecurity and other vulnerability threats and the growth in hybrid or complete third-party hosting of infrastructure and resources.
In simple terms, cloud security is about securing data and ensuring privacy on cloud-based systems across online infrastructure, platforms, and applications.
There are four common ways cloud services are deployed, including public cloud environments (shared with other clients), private third-party clouds (exclusive), private in-house clouds, multi-cloud environments (two or more service providers), and hybrid cloud environments. Each offers unique features and advantages to choosing from for CISO and IT security managers.
Cloud Security Platforms
When investigating cloud security platforms for your organization, IBM identifies four of the most common platforms:
- public cloud services – often co-shared with other smaller organizations by cloud service providers
- software-as-a-service (SaaS) – cloud-based software subscriptions with third-party managers
- platform-as-a-service (PaaS) – typically provides a custom application framework with automated management of operating systems, software updates, data storage, and other cloud infrastructure
- infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) – a hybrid of self-managed and third-party management of cloud services security.
Popular Types of Cloud Security Solutions
A wide range of cloud security solutions is available according to IBM, including:
- Identity and access management (IAM) – tools and services to create, monitor, and manage digital identities
- Data loss prevention (DP) – ensure security cloud data with a mix of alerts, data encryption, and other preventive measures
- Security information and event management (SIEM) – security solutions using AI to automate threat monitoring, detection, and response
- Business continuity and disaster recovery – tools and services that enable recovery of lost or stolen data and quickly resume business operations.
Thinking about these solutions will help you identify and engage with higher-qualified service providers and experts.
Benefits of Cloud Security for Business
Kaspersky nicely sums up the critical cloud security functions as data security, identity and access management (IAM), governance (policies guiding prevention, detection and mitigation), data retention and business continuity planning, and legal compliance.
The benefits of cloud security are widely recognized and, according to Forcepoint, include:
- Centralized security – provides efficiency in monitoring cybersecurity events, quickly updating policy and software updates, and faster disaster recovery
- Cost-effective – eliminates investment hardware reduces capital expenditure and administration overhead costs, with automated protection 24 hours a day
- Reduced administration – third-party management eliminates manual configurations and security updates
- Reliability – always-on services can be accessed anywhere with confidence in redundant systems.
In addition, when choosing cloud security services, you’ll want to look for simplicity, affordability, proactive threat management, scalability and compliance assurance. Of course, the biggest benefit for smaller companies is the freedom to focus on your own business instead of complex cybersecurity management.
Cloud Security Best Practices & Challenges
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) provides a valuable look at the Cybersecurity Framework – with five essentials in a successful cybersecurity program including:
- Identity – understanding the resources needed to manage cybersecurity risk to systems, people, assets, data, and capabilities.
- Protect – outlines the resources to prevent and protect critical infrastructure services.
- Detect – enables timely discovery of cybersecurity events.
- Respond – identifies key actions undertaken during and after a cybersecurity incident.
- Recover – plans for resilience and restoration of capabilities or services impacted during a cybersecurity event.
These five critical functions will help CISOs and IT managers design and implement a resilient cloud security strategy and get the best services from third-party cloud security platforms and solution providers.
Top Eight Questions to Ask Your Cloud Security Provider
Beginning with Covid, through the shift to large-scale remote work and the devastating Solar Winds attack, it’s hardly surprising cybersecurity is top of mind with every digital-facing organization.
Here are the top eight questions to ask your existing or potential cloud security provider:
- What cloud services do you provide?
- How do you charge for services, and are there any upfront charges?
- What security procedures are in place to protect our data and ensure regulatory compliance?
- Where is your data center located, and is it SSAE 16 certified?
- What data redundancies are in place for potential data loss?
- What is your scalability to accommodate fast growth or hybrid service options?
- What customer support is available 24-7?
- Investigate service provider metrics such as implementation timing, downtime history, response time, resolution time, and other KPIs critical for your organization.
The increased focus on cloud security has resulted in explosive growth for the leading cloud security service companies such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Services, Microsoft (Azure) and IBM, not to mention hundreds of third-party security companies aggregating, managing and delivering the best hybrid cloud security services.
Final Thoughts on Cloud Security
Cloud security is simply not optional for today’s organizations. It’s a must-have. The number of choices for cybersecurity services and platforms shouldn’t overwhelm you. The outstanding quality and surprisingly reasonable cost of cloud security services and cloud security training may also surprise you.
Glenn Mabry is a instructor and tech researcher for online technology courses at Legends of Tech. With over 20 years of experience, Glenn has specific expertise in cyber security, data science, cloud, networking, and coding training. Legends of Tech is a technology training platform that gives top subject matter experts the ability to showcase their skills and give learners the advantage of staying ahead of the extremely fast-paced industry.