What is cloud network security?
Cloud network security refers to the measures used to protect public, private, and hybrid cloud networks. These measures include technology, services, processes, policies, and controls and can defend against data exposure or misuse.
Why is cloud network security important?
Cloud network security is important because of the wide range of threats to data and other cloud resources. Some of the most common include data breaches and exposure, malware, phishing, compromised APIs, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), and DNS attacks, among others.
In addition to defending against threat actors, cloud networks must also comply with an ever-growing number of regulations. A cloud-native security tool can provide the protection, incident response, and compliance that organizations need.
Cloud security vs. network security
Network security is a type of cloud security. If used in a hybrid system, it can rely on physical barriers and protections, whereas cloud security must exclusively use virtual solutions.
In cloud computing, several organizations may share resources through infrastructure-as-a-service platforms like AWS EC2. Distributed data centers mean physical cybersecurity measures, like firewalls, must be replaced with virtual projections.
There are three categories of cloud security: public, private, and hybrid cloud environments. Each offers its own set of challenges, which only increase in complexity for organizations with a multi-cloud environment.
How does cloud network security work?
Cloud network security routes traffic using software-defined networking. These protections are different from on-premise firewall systems and are virtualized and live in the cloud.
The most secure platforms are built on a zero-trust security model, requiring authentication and verification for every connection. This helps protect cloud resources and defend them throughout the threat lifecycle.
Speak to one of our experts
The benefits of cloud network security
Cloud networks are inherently complex, and managing them using native tools can leave your organization vulnerable. Using a cloud network security solution offers several advantages.
The most important benefit of a secure cloud infrastructure is better protection. Managed permissions and orchestration can help prevent breaches and ensure better security across the system.
A security solution can also help ensure compliance through automation that reviews policies for the most up-to-date regulatory and industry requirements and deploys the policy to multiple cloud platforms from a single place.
With a comprehensive solution, you can see all your properties—including on-premise and hybrid systems—in a single pane of glass. Improved visibility means recognizing new threats faster and resolving issues before they arise.
Cloud network security challenges
The cloud offers several benefits over traditional networks but also leads to unique vulnerabilities.
Complexity across security control layers
Cloud providers’ built-in security controls, such as security groups and network ACLs, impacts security posture. There is a need to protect cloud assets such as virtual machines, DBaaS, and serverless functions. Misconfigurations can introduce security risks across various assets, including IaaS and PaaS.
Cloud and traditional firewall providers also offer advanced network security products (such as Azure Firewall, Palo Alto VM-Series, Check Point CloudGuard).
Multiple public clouds
Today’s environment uses multiple public clouds from AWS, Azure, and GCP. Security professionals are challenged by the need to understand their differences while managing them separately using multiple consoles and diverse tools.
Unlike on-premise networks, managing deployment is especially challenging in the cloud, where changes to configurations and security rules are often made by application developers, DevOps, and cloud teams.
Key layers for cloud security
Robust public cloud network security architecture must include four separate areas—layers that build upon each other for an effective network security solution.
Cloud security architecture is fundamentally different from its on-premise counterpart. Cloud security challenges are met by a layered approach rather than a physical perimeter. Security for AWS, Azure, or any other public cloud employs four layers of increasing protection.
Layer 1: Security groups
Security groups form the first and most fundamental layer of cloud network security. Unlike traditional firewalls that use both allow and deny rules, security groups deny traffic by default and only use allow rules.
These security groups are similar to the firewalls of the 90s in that they’re directly connected to servers (instances, in cloud architecture terms). If this first layer is penetrated, control of the associated security group is exposed.
Layer 2: Network Access Control Lists (NACLs)
Network Access Control Lists (NACLs) are used to provide AWS and Azure cloud security.
Each NACL is connected to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) in AWS or VNet in Azure and controls all instances of that VPC or VNet. Centralized NACLs hold both allow and deny rules and make cloud security posture much stronger than Layer 1, making Layer 2 essential for cloud security compliance.
Layer 3: Cloud vendor security solution
Cloud security is a shared responsibility between the customer and the vendor, and today’s vendors include their own solutions, which must be integrated into the platform as a whole.
For example, Microsoft’s Azure Firewall as a Service (FWaaS), a next-generation secure internet gateway, acts like a wall between the cloud itself and the internet.
Layer 4: Third-party cloud security services
Traditional firewall vendors, like solutions from Check Point (CloudGuard) and Palo Alto Networks (VM-Series), need to be integrated as well.
These third parties create firewalls that stand between the public clouds and the outside world. They develop segmentation for the cloud’s inner perimeter like an on-premise network. This fourth layer is key for infrastructure built to defend against the most difficult hybrid cloud security challenges.
AlgoSec Cloud offering provides application-based risk identification and security policy management across the multi-cloud estate.
As organizations adopt cloud strategies and migrate applications to take advantage of cloud economies of scale, they face increased complexity and risk. Security controls and network architectures from leading cloud vendors are distinct and do not provide unified central cloud management.
Cloud network security under one unified umbrella
AlgoSec Cloud offering enables effective security management of the various security control layers across the multi-cloud estate. AlgoSec offers instant visibility, risk assessment, and central policy management, enabling a unified and secure security control posture, proactively detecting misconfigurations.
AlgoSec provides holistic visibility for all of your cloud accounts assets and security controls.
Proactively detect misconfigurations to protect cloud assets, including cloud instances, databases, and serverless functions. Identify risky rules as well as their last usage date and confidently remove them. Tighten overall network security by mapping network risks to applications affected by these risks.
Central management of security policies
Manage network security controls, such as security groups and Azure Firewalls, in one system across multiple clouds, accounts, regions, and VPC/ VNETs. Manage similar security controls in a single security policy so you can save time and prevent misconfigurations.
As cloud security groups are constantly adjusted, they can rapidly bloat. This makes it difficult to maintain, increasing potential risk. With CloudFlow’s advanced rule cleanup capabilities, you can easily identify unused rules and remove them with confidence.