What is Cloud Security?
Cloud Security is composed of various technologies and tools designed to protect each aspect of the shared responsibility model.
Cloud security, or cloud computing security, consists of various technologies and tools designed to protect each aspect of the Shared Responsibility Model. Although cloud users aren't responsible for the security of the underlying infrastructure, they are responsible for protecting their information from theft, data leakage and deletion. Many security approaches in the cloud are the same as those of traditional IT security, but there are some fundamental differences. Whether you implement public, private or hybrid cloud environments, it’s important to adopt security controls that facilitate frictionless deployment and don't hinder the dynamic, agile nature for which cloud environments are renowned.
The public cloud is a cloud computing model in which IT services are delivered via the public internet. In this case, the entire underlying infrastructure is completely owned and operated by a third-party cloud provider, such as Google Cloud, Amazon or Microsoft. Public cloud deployments are often used to provide common services like web-based applications or storage, but they can also be used for complex computations or to test and develop new services. These environments are generally billed via annual or use-based subscriptions based on the number of cloud resources used and traffic processed. Within a public cloud environment, you share the foundational infrastructure with other organizations, and you can access your services as well as deploy and manage your resources through your account. The public cloud yields many potential advantages for businesses, including the ability to deploy highly scalable, globally available applications quickly and without costly upfront investments.
In a private cloud, infrastructure is provisioned for exclusive use by a single business or organization. It can be owned, managed and operated by the business, a third-party service provider, or a combination of the two. It can also be located on the business’s premises or off, similar to the public cloud. Any application can be run in a private cloud environment, including websites, big data and machine learning applications, and databases. The private cloud offers many of the same benefits as the public cloud, such as elastic scalability and cost savings, but it also guarantees resource availability, total control, privacy and regulatory compliance. This makes private clouds highly desirable to organizations that have strict compliance requirements or demand absolute control over their data location, such as government agencies or financial institutions.
A hybrid cloud is a combination of on-premises, private and/or public cloud environments that remain separate yet orchestrated. In a hybrid cloud environment, data and applications can move between environments, enabling greater flexibility – especially for organizations looking to extend their existing on-premises footprints with specific use cases ideally suited for the cloud. As an example, public clouds can be used for high-volume, lower-security needs, such as web-based applications, while private clouds can be used for more sensitive, business-critical operations like financial reporting. Often referred to as the best of both worlds, its adaptability makes it attractive for many enterprises.
Cloud Security Implications
Cloud services offer many advantages for organizations looking to reduce their data center footprints or accelerate business growth. Consequently, the ability to log in to cloud environments from anywhere with an internet connection vastly increases the risk of attacks. The top cloud security challenges cited by cybersecurity professionals in the 2021 Cloud Threat Report were data loss/leakage, threats to data privacy and breaches of confidentiality.
Much cloud risk can be attributed to three things: misunderstanding the Shared Responsibility Model, deploying resources that aren’t correctly configured, or failing to manage security controls at pace with the rapid innovation common in the cloud. Having a well-defined cloud strategy and adopting security tools purpose-built to secure these environments is paramount. To fulfill their security responsibilities as part of the Shared Responsibility Model, organizations need tools that provide:
- Visibility into activity within cloud applications
- Detailed analytics on usage to prevent data risk and compliance violations
- Context-aware policy controls to drive enforcement and remediate when violations occur
- Realtime threat intelligence on known and unknown threats to detect and prevent new malware insertion points
In the face of dynamic threats, organizations need purpose-built tools that can rapidly discover cloud threats in real time, understand their severity, and immediately act through automated playbooks. Furthermore, by adding security earlier in the development cycle, organizations can shift left and further reduce their threat exposure.
With today’s sophisticated, automated attacks, only advanced, integrated security can prevent successful breaches. It must secure the entire IT environment, including multi-cloud environments as well as the organization’s data centers and mobile users. A consistent, integrated approach that provides complete visibility and granular control across the entire organization will reduce friction, minimize business disruption, and enable organizations to safely, confidently embrace the cloud.
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