Cloud security is the set of technologies, strategies, services, and platforms that protect cloud-based applications, cloud data, and cloud-based services from internal and external threats. This protection extends to the data stored by these applications and services. In this guide, we explain more about what cloud security is and why it’s important to you.
Defining cloud security
Cloud security refers to various ways to protect cloud-based applications, data, and services from threats posed by internal and external sources. Kasperskywhich sells antivirus and other security software, says cloud security has five main areas:
- Data security: Ensure that all data generated by cloud services is stored securely and that access to this data is strictly controlled
- Identity and Access Management (IAM): Control who and what accesses cloud services through methods such as multi-factor authentication
- Verdict: Develop policies to detect, mitigate, and prevent cloud computing threats from hackers and other offenders
- Data retention and business continuity: Planning for response to data damage and loss as a result of the attack and plans to ensure continuity of business operations
- Legal Compliance: An audit is in place to ensure that your cloud security methods are adequate enough to protect you from liability
Cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services are only responsible for the security of their cloud servers, not the security of cloud-based applications. It is the responsibility of cloud application developers and users to ensure that their applications and communications are secure, whether in the public or private cloud.
How does cloud security work?
Many companies prefer to use cloud services because the cloud service provider has some security responsibilities, says Brian Wilson, chief information security officer at the analytics software company. Sass.
It shows that there are two basic types of cloud security: “in the cloud” and “in the cloud”.
The former is where a company shifts some of the responsibility for delivering its services to cloud service providers, while the latter is where preventative cybersecurity measures are managed entirely offsite.
Hybrid cloud environments, in which on-premises data centers are combined with cloud-based storage and applications, is one situation where “cloud” security is beneficial. “This does not allow companies to fully use the cloud,” he says. “Sharing responsibility varies depending on the security services the company uses and the sophistication of the cloud service provider.”
For example, a company may still be responsible for maintaining the security of its on-premises systems, as well as the link between the internal part of its network and the cloud.
Other companies are moving to “in the cloud” security, handing over all responsibility for cybersecurity to a cloud security provider. This is especially attractive to smaller companies, Wilson says, who typically don’t have the budget for CISO or CSO. “Delivering day-to-day care, maintaining updates on security fixes, and enhancing resilience means the company doesn’t need that security expertise on staff,” he says.
What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing essentially involves renting computing power that is made available over the Internet, say Wilson and Dr. Robert Blumoff, a cloud services provider. Akamai Chief Technology Officer.
“Before cloud computing, companies ran software on self-owned infrastructure,” says Dr. Blumove. “They bought computers, found a place to assemble and stack them, turn them on, connect them to the Internet, install an operating system, and maintain them.”
With the advent of cloud computing services, all this work is no longer the responsibility of the company. Cloud services and service providers take care of these steps for their customers. This makes it relatively easy for the company to extend its services by renting additional server applications.
RedHat says the most popular types of cloud environments include:
- public cloud: A cloud environment that is generally built from company-owned infrastructure. Examples of public cloud providers include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, and IBM Cloud.
- private cloud: Cloud environments that are managed internally by the company, usually behind a paywall. As you might guess from the name, private cloud services are not publicly accessible and are for internal use only.
- Managed private cloud: Cloud infrastructure that companies do not have to maintain because it is hosted by a third party.
- Hybrid cloud: On-premises and cloud infrastructure are integrated into a seamless environment. Hybrid cloud is also called multicloud.
- Multicloud: A cloud environment with multiple cloud-based platforms hosted by more than one public or private cloud resource. Multiclouds become a hybrid cloud when all cloud platforms are integrated in some way.
These terms describe cloud environments. Apps, platforms, and cloud services all have different names, too. If you’ve ever heard of something described as a “service,” it’s delivered on the cloud. Software as a Service (SaaS) included one or more cloud-based software applications, while Microsoft defines Platform as a Service (PaaS) as “a complete development and deployment environment in the cloud”, including scalability to deliver any application size.
Finally, infrastructure as a service, or IaaS, is a cloud service where companies can lease cloud infrastructure on demand, such as computing storage or networking resources, to meet unmet on-premises infrastructure needs (or to move development entirely to the cloud).
Why is cloud security important?
For years, our work data generally never left the company servers where it was stored. Personal data is stored on our personal computers. The two rarely met.
This is not the case today. Remote working, in addition to the increasing use of smart devices such as laptops and tablets for both work and personal tasks, has forced companies to rethink their cybersecurity measures.
“Running traditional security tools like firewalls in the cloud is not enough,” says Dr. Blumove. “It’s easy to make mistakes and terminate sensitive and sensitive software and data that’s being shown to the world.”
It is much easier and more cost effective for companies to outsource cyber security responsibilities. Outsourcing both data and security to the cloud allows companies to focus on their own business rather than the complexities of developing, deploying, maintaining, and protecting the cloud environment themselves.
“Cloud security solutions allow teams to do more with less,” Wilson said. “Cloud security solutions get new features and fixes faster than software-based clients.” He adds that scalability also allows any security solution to grow with the business.
The need for cloud security is also becoming increasingly important as more and more of our data, services and applications move to the cloud. Statista He says the amount of company data stored in the cloud doubled from 2015 to 2022, and more than 60% of all data now relies on the cloud.
Without proper security measures, a huge amount of sensitive data may be compromised.
Cloud security challenges
According to Blumofe, the increasing complexity of cloud-based applications is one of the biggest cloud security challenges today. “Complexity is the enemy of security,” he says, “and cloud applications are getting more and more complex.” For example, many applications use multiple external libraries, often from unknown sources.
Wilson notes that outages are still an issue for some cloud providers. As a result, users have to plan for times when cloud protection is not available. He also says that cost is a potential issue that some cloud users may not anticipate, given all the hype about the cloud’s ability to lower computing costs.
Some cloud-based solutions may be more expensive in the long run than similar on-premises solutions. “The once popular perpetual license, where you buy the software outright, then pay annual support, is no longer an option,” Wilson noted.
Cloud security solutions
Blumofe says there is no one-size-fits-all approach to cloud security solutions. Instead, cloud security should be thought of as an idea that covers a set of security tools and systems.
Some companies may turn to AWS Identity Access Management, a web service that provides control over who and what accesses sensitive resources. Others may appreciate the many data loss prevention, business continuity, and disaster recovery solutions.
Another important cloud security solution involves complying with the growing number of state and federal regulations regarding data handling and data protection. Ensuring such compliance can go a long way toward protecting cloud-based systems.
The most recent example of cloud security overtaking traditional security methods, Wilson says, was the dramatic shift from the office to remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Companies that have already moved to cloud-delivered email, web, and endpoint services moved fairly easily when employees suddenly shifted to remote work,” he says. “By contrast, companies that have not moved such on-premises services to the cloud have had to connect employees to their traditional data center to ensure access to corporate resources.”
While cost and complexity were cited as challenges by the experts we spoke to, they have a lot to say about the positives of cloud security versus traditional security approaches. In an environment where cyber threats can change every minute, cloud security is far superior to traditional cyber security methods, as companies are responsible for ensuring that protection is up to date and effective.
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