As cloud usage continues to grow, securing your cloud infrastructure is vital for reliable performance, but it is often overlooked. Cloud security refers to the technologies, policies, protocols, and services that protect your cloud infrastructure from external threats.
Both the cloud provider and cloud user are responsible for the security of the cloud, with certain responsibilities falling on the provider and other on the user, while some shared by both. These responsibilities depend on the type of service model being used (IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS).
Generally, the cloud provider is accountable for safeguarding of the hardware itself, along with patching and configurations of networks, while the cloud user must maintain access privileges, protect against unauthorized access, and uphold compliance.
Cloud Security Benefits
For organizations who currently utilize cloud computing, or are migrating to the cloud, having robust security in place is of the utmost importance. Cyberattacks are becoming more prevalent as threats continue to increase in sophistication and severity, and cloud computing is just as vulnerable as on-premise systems. However, security in the cloud offers some tangible benefits over on-premise architectures, including:
- Centralized Security: In the cloud, everything is centralized. This includes security controls and protection. Business networks in the cloud are comprised of many endpoints (user devices) that need to be managed and secured, which is becoming increasingly difficult as users incorporate more devices and are working from more decentralized locations. With the ability to manage these endpoints centrally, analyzing device usage, monitoring traffic, and performing web filtering becomes more efficient.
- Cost Reduction: As cloud computing does not require dedicated hardware investment, reduced IT and security costs are often seen. Organizational IT teams no longer need to constantly react to security issues, manage security updates, or configure security controls, as cloud security typically offers proactive security response and management at all times, requiring minimal, if any, intervention from IT team members.
- Dependability: With optimized cloud security, end-users can reliably and safely access business-critical data and applications at all times. Cloud computing services offer the ultimate in dependability. With the right cloud security measures in place, users can safely access data and applications within the cloud no matter where they are or what device they are using.
Cloud Security Threats
All cloud computing models are vulnerable to threats, mostly due to their internet connected nature. Organizations, and their IT departments, are typically wary when the time to move business-critical systems to the cloud, but with the correct security protocols and administrative controls in place cloud environments are incredibly safe and resilient to attacks. However, there are still threats that exist – the most common threats to cloud security are as follows:
- Data Breaches: There is no concern more palpable than a data breach. It’s something every organization is focused on. However, few have the resources and strategies in place to truly tackle it in a worthy manner. This makes it a critical concern (and something that has to be dealt with in a proactive and preventative way). Failure to deal with data properly (through deliberate encryption) opens your business up to huge compliance risks – not to mention data breach penalties, fines, and serious violations of customer trust. The onus is on you to protect your customer and employee data, regardless of what any Service-Level Agreement (SLA) says.
- Compliance Issues: Often organizations make the supposition that they have the highest protection levels just by operating within a cloud service, and assume compliance ends at federal and international regulations. For modern compliance, many industry regulations now exist as well, including PCI DSS, HIPAA, GLBA, and more.
- Lack of IT Knowledge & Experience: A common pitfall in cloud security is lack of training and expertise in cloud technology. It is estimated that by 2022 up to 95 percent of cloud security issues will be caused by user error, not security infrastructure.
- APIs not Secure: APIs can be of great help, but many do not take into account how they impact organizational systems. While a specific cloud architecture may seem safe on paper, malicious actors often take advantage of unsecure APIs that have been neglected.
- Threats from Within: While organizations typically assume threats exist outside their security perimeter, recent data has shown that up to 43 percent of security breaches come from within. Employee trust is important, but it is equally important to have proper vetting, training, and administrative controls to ensure proper access is achieved.
Delve into RKON’s approach to cloud security. Discover the systems and controls we have in place to keep your organization, and your data, safe from malicious attacks.
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