Securing an organization’s network, data and users has always been an uphill battle for IT. Adding the complexity of cloud services, SaaS applications and mobile devices makes security and visibility even harder. As organizations shift their data and applications to the cloud, security can become an afterthought as many assume the vendors are responsible for providing proper security. However, security is a shared responsibility between an organization and its cloud vendor, showcasing the importance of security across the entire organizational infrastructure, both on-premises and in the cloud.
Companies that simply rely on their cloud vendors to supply security and protections across their cloud environments and applications are at risk of:
Lack of visibility and control over users: With no oversight into the applications and data users are accessing, you lose the deep visibility and precise control you need to adequately protect data and ensure least-privileged access.
Breaches and malware: Hackers are looking for any vulnerability they can exploit to gain access to a network and its data. Without the proper security protocols, preventing threats and malware from infiltrating your network or users is nearly impossible.
Data loss: Whether to stop hackers stealing data, employees unintentionally sharing data externally, or malicious insiders willfully taking data to do the company harm, data loss prevention is a critical security feature to keep in mind.
Compliance violations: With all the recent breaches, compliance and regulation requirements have become stricter. Companies must know where their data lies and who has access, and must be able to report as well as mitigate any threats that arise, or else potentially face major fines and compliance violations.
Cloud security requires taking a strategic approach across your entire organization. Adding multiple security products to solve separate problems will cause issues in the long run. As you look for cloud solutions, consider these options:
Software as a service (SaaS): Applications like Microsoft Office 365®, Box or Salesforce® allow users from anywhere to access and share data easily. SaaS applications save organizations operational time and costs.
Platform as a service (PaaS): A service provider, such as AWS® or Azure®, provides the organization with the necessary infrastructure and applications. PaaS allows organizations to reduce hardware and mitigate connectivity issues they may have experienced previously.
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS): Flexible cloud services allow organizations to pay a single fee based on the amount of data they need to have hosted. This is the most cost-effective way for organizations to get up and running in the cloud.
Organizations may use one or all three of these types of cloud services. You should look for offerings that have a similar security strategy to that of your organization, and that provide multiple security solutions in a single platform. This will help consolidate and simplify the security tools your teams use.
By taking ownership of cloud security and partnering with the right cloud vendor, you can ensure your organization benefits from:
Complete visibility: Clearly seeing who is connecting to your network, what they are accessing and where they are located allows you to protect your network from malicious activities, promiscuous data sharing and access management issues.
Proactive breach prevention: With complete visibility, you can identify and stop threats before they affect your organization.
Easy avenues for business growth: The cloud provides flexibility when adding offices and mobile users to your infrastructure.
Mobile user management: Enforcing multi-factor authentication for mobile users gives you greater control over the data they can access and share.
Policy enforcement: Applying granular, least-privileged access policy rules across your organization for different users, groups and devices is key for many compliance regulations.
Audit logs: Maintaining audit logs is crucial to prove your organization is compliant, and can also help identify shared data permissions.
Zero Trust in the cloud: As you move toward the cloud and establish better security across your organization, consider following the Zero Trust philosophy to complement your cloud security strategy.
Learn more about cloud security and how to protect your SaaS apps, public clouds, branches and mobile users at paloaltonetworks.com/cloud-security.