Cloud adoption is a business model that continues to disrupt industries around the world. It provides convenience, cost savings, and near-permanent uptimes compared to on-premises infrastructure. Due to the benefits available from cloud migration, analysts expect spending on public cloud infrastructure and services will grow to $500 billion by 2023.
Although the flexibility and increased capabilities of cloud infrastructure provide organizations with greater efficiencies, it could also put organizations at risk. Cyberattacks continue to plague organizations of every size and moving your IT infrastructure and services to cloud environments requires a different approach to traditional deployments.
Understanding the Cybersecurity Risks with Cloud Adoption
Two main types of cloud deployments are available, with most organizations adopting a hybrid model for their systems. A private cloud keeps all infrastructure and systems under the company’s control while a public cloud hands over the responsibility to a third-party company. In hybrid deployments, some services are in public cloud infrastructure while others remain in the company’s data center.
To distinguish between hybrid models, the following terms may apply:
· Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – The organization retains control of their applications, data, runtime environments, middleware, and operating systems. Public cloud service providers handle virtualization, servers, networking, and storage systems.
· Platform as a Service (PaaS) – Moving all networking, storage, servers, virtualization, operating systems, middleware, and runtime environments to the cloud but maintaining application and data on private infrastructure.
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· Software as a Service (SaaS) – All elements of the IT landscape are available on a public cloud without any resources under the organization’s direct responsibility.
Determining which cloud deployment model will suit your organization often depends on the risks involved. In highly regulated environments, moving to a complete SaaS deployment will require validating the cybersecurity frameworks adopted by the service provider.
Cloud Security Basics You Need to Know
Regardless of which deployment you choose, you should know the cloud security basics before migrating to the new environment. Here are five things you need to know about cloud security to help you manage risks.
1. Shared Resources for Multi-Tenancy Cloud Customers
Multi-tenancy refers to the shared resources your cloud service provider will allocate to your information. The way the cloud and virtualization works is, instead of physical infrastructure dedicated to a single organization or application, virtual servers sit on the same box and share resources between containers. You should ensure that your cloud service provider secures your containers and prevents other entities from accessing your information.
2. Data Encryption During Transmission and at Rest
As you’ll be accessing data from a remote location, your service provider should encrypt all your information whether at rest in the virtual environment or when transmitting it over the internet. Even when the service provider’s applications access your information, it should not be readable by anyone else except your company’s resources. To protect your information, ask your service provider about what encryption they use to secure your data.
3. Centralized Visibility of Your Cloud Infrastructure
It’s not enough to trust service providers. You’ll also want to verify your data remains secure in their host environments. Cloud Workload Protection (CWP) tools provide centralized visibility of all your information, so you can get adequate oversight of the environment.
Ask your cloud company if they can provide you with security tools like:
· Network traffic analysis and inspection of cloud environments for malicious content
· Monitoring for configuration changes in your containers
· Alerts for any configuration issues that could create vulnerabilities
4. An Integrated and Secure Access Control Model
Access control models remain a major risk in cloud environments. User Identity and Access Management (IAM) limits abuse from privileged accounts. Your provider should have cloud-based security that includes a management solution to control user roles and maintain access privileges. The solution should alert you when any suspicious access requests arise or have an automated revocation process in place when anomalous activities occur.
5. Vendor Sprawl Management with Threat Intelligence
In complex cloud deployments, you may end up using different vendors each with its own cybersecurity framework. Threat intelligence solutions can provide you with clear insight into all your vendors and the latest global threats that could put your business systems at risk. A threat intelligence tool will gather and curate information from a variety of cybersecurity research firms and alert you of any vulnerabilities in your vendor’s systems.
Moving to the Cloud Securely
I founded IBOX over 20 years ago to work with companies and public agencies to ensure a safe and secure cloud deployment. For any organization that’s considering a complete cloud migration or wants to leverage the benefits by using a hybrid deployment, understanding the entire threat landscape is essential. Find a team of cybersecurity experts that can assist with the planning, evaluation, and oversight of your cloud migration to mitigate risks and establish the necessary controls.