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Overcoming security challenges in the Cloud

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Nitin Rajput, AlgoSec’s SE lead in APAC and the Middle East, discusses the challenges associated with securing Cloud environments and how organizations can overcome them

Moving enterprise workloads partly or even entirely to the cloud can unlock extraordinary benefits for organizations in terms of agility, scalability and flexibility. Indeed, nearly 87% of organizations globally have increased their cloud-based workloads in the last year, according to Keysight’s “The State of Cloud Monitoring” report.

However, the report also underlines a potential problem or challenge with these deployments – namely the lack of visibility organizations have into their cloud workloads. Nearly 70% of the respondents said that public cloud monitoring is more difficult than monitoring either on-premise datacenters or private cloud environments. Meanwhile, fewer than 20% of respondents said they have access to the data they need to monitor public cloud environments accurately.

The role of human error

At the same time, Gartner has predicted that ‘through 2022, at least 95% of cloud security failures will be the customer’s fault’. In other words, misconfigurations, manual errors and, as outlined above, a failure to generate adequate visibility into cloud environments will ultimately be at the root of nearly all security incidents in the cloud.

Indeed, cloud misconfigurations in particular have grown in profile over recent years. In 2017, it was reported that nearly all registered voter information from Chicago was available for public access when the engineer working for Election Systems & Software (ES&S) accidentally left an Amazon Web Services (AWS) S3 bucket open for public access. The data was available in downloadable format and is said to have compromised the personal data of more than 1.8 million Chicago voters so far. The same year, marketing analytics firm Alteryx suffered a similar breach of 123 million customer records, and millions of Verizon customer records were left exposed, again because of an Amazon S3 storage server accidentally left unprotected.

What kind of misconfigurations are we talking about? A lack of access control and access management, as outlined in the above examples, can leave access to sensitive areas of a corporate network wide open. Also, unsecure AWS S3 buckets can all too easily be left open for malicious actors to find on the internet, downloading their contents or even modifying them.

A failure to select or enable controls provided by the cloud vendor that protects the data, lack of audit and governing controls, lack of understanding about the shared responsibility model, and simply a lack of appropriate knowledge, skills and experience in using and deploying cloud solutions are all common problems too.

Ultimately, from downtime that disrupts day-to-day operations and has a direct impact on business bottom line, through to severe breaches and thefts of highly sensitive data, cloud security incidents can be truly detrimental.

Overcoming cloud security challenges: what to look for?

To overcome the above-mentioned challenges, organizations should opt for solutions that can deliver full visibility and control of security and compliance in public cloud environments, enabling effective management of the security-control layers across the hybrid and multi-cloud estate.

Additionally, they should look for solutions that deliver security policy automation wherever possible, reducing the risk of misconfigurations and delivering automatic risk analysis when a network change is proposed.

As such, key elements that must be considered in any cloud security solution include:

  • Continuous cloud visibility: view of the multi-cloud estate and security posture, revealing any potential vulnerabilities or risks
  • Automated, centralized cloud security management: multi-layer management security controls, including cloud-native security groups and cloud security products such as Azure firewalls and third-party security controls
  • Consistent risk and compliance management: easy management and enforcement of company and regulatory policies, seamless with continuous and proactive detection of risks and misconfigurations across all cloud assets, as well as constant audit-readiness
  • Quick deployment: An agentless cloud-native SaaS solution that allows for easy on-boarding

Robust network security management and automation across complex cloud environments are truly mission-critical priorities for enterprises. Organizations migrating workloads to any type of cloud environment need to automate security across those environments in order to drive agility whilst ensuring continuous security. AlgoSec’s solutions make this possible by delivering automation, visibility and compliance control across hybrid and multi-cloud environments. Get in touch with us today to learn how you can address your cloud security challenges.

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