Whether you look up to the sky or on your computer monitor – you’ll see the clouds! Cloud computing has been around enough that most tech-savvy people know its importance for today’s businesses.
How about cloud security configuration management? Have you heard of it? What do you know about it, if anything? Is it expensive and how can you optimize the costs?
Let us break this down for you and help you understand the importance of cloud security.
What is Cloud Security Configuration Management?
Almost half of businesses worldwide store all their data in the cloud, which raises security questions, and it’s vital to fill in any gaps to protect the data.
Cloud security configuration management will keep all cloud data secure while reducing risks and bringing you the same comfort level as your on-premises infrastructure.
Here are some things you wouldn’t want to miss when securing your data in the cloud.
Cloud Security Configuration Best Practices
Choose the Right Cloud Provider
Finding the right cloud service provider is a must, but first, you need to weigh in on your company’s needs. Due to external IT teams, available options are abundant. The selection process begins with inspecting providers’ security compliances and certificates.
Secondly, you must understand your company’s security goals to compare them to cloud providers’ offers. In addition, you should also look into mechanisms providers use for data and cloud application security and protection.
The primary advantage of cloud-based apps is that you can transfer and store all your data easily. Furthermore, uploading data to the cloud and forgetting about it can be dangerous, and that is why you should safeguard all your uploaded data with data encryption.
Data encryption will conceal your data from unauthorized users, and it does so by translating it into different code forms. Moreover, companies should encrypt their data when keeping it on public clouds and during transit, as the transit process makes the data vulnerable.
The best option would be to locate the encryption option that would suit the ongoing workflow, as you won’t need to do anything else to ensure compliance.
Treat Both Cloud and On-Premises Security the Same
Companies tend to create security weaknesses within their infrastructure by treating on-premises and cloud infrastructure differently. Only because you pay for computing and support doesn’t mean the cloud is secure by default.
The truth is, you must utilize new processes within the environment to maintain, validate, and monitor the cloud infrastructure. Security and IT sectors must apply the same procedures and policies to cloud security so the environment would align with basic security expectations.
User Endpoints Protection
Cloud services require a greater need for endpoint security because users can access cloud services via personal devices and web browsers. Therefore, organizations have to secure end-user devices, and they can do so by deploying endpoint security solutions. This solution will initiate excellent client-side security and push users to update their browsers regularly, which will protect the data from various vulnerabilities.
It would be great if you were to utilize some tools that have internet security measures like firewalls, mobile device security, access verification, antivirus, etc. Moreover, automation tools are also excellent systematic solutions for endpoint security.
Shared Responsibility Model
Different shared responsibility security models depend on each service provider when using PaaS or IaaS. A “clear-cut” shared responsibility model will ensure there’s no security gap within the system’s security coverage. In addition, any obscurity within the shared responsibility model can expose specific cloud system areas and leave them unguarded from external threats.
Concerning private data centers, the company is responsible for handling data security issues. On the other hand, providers will share this burden with your company when using public clouds. It’s crucial to precisely define which party will handle which security operations as it’ll provide impeccable security within the cloud environment.
Maintain Monitoring and Logs
Since cloud infrastructure provides logging capabilities, companies can quickly identify any unauthorized activities if they occur. Monitoring and logging systems allow security teams to determine who’s making changes within the cloud environment, which is helpful as it enables them to quickly discover the root of the problem.
If an intruder gains system access and tries to change any data or settings, the logs will highlight who is responsible and which changes the intruded created. This is incredibly helpful as it allows you to act quickly upon the intrusion discovery. In addition, you must set alerts to notify you when any changes like this happen.
Regularly Update the Existing Policies and Processes
Looking at cloud infrastructure from a wider angle shows us that the base rules didn’t suffer any significant changes. Changing strategies to follow up on infrastructure’s evolution is one way of doing things. You should update your existing processes, configuration management policy, and other policies. You’ll secure complex cloud environments and mitigate potential risks by doing so.
Use permissions with the least access as you won’t expose internet ports unless you need them. Cloud infrastructure has undergone significant changes, one of them being vast complexity that requires you to put great effort into understanding the underlying technology.
Penetration Testing & Audits
By running penetration tests, you can see if existing cloud security efforts are reasonable enough to protect your apps and data. Frequent audits are essential as well. Audits will analyze security vendors’ capabilities. In addition, you should audit access logs, as it will help ensure that only authorized personnel can access sensitive apps and data within the cloud.
Identity and Access Management
Another essential step in cloud security configuration management includes identity and access management (IAM), which safeguards vital assets, information, and systems from unauthorized access.
IAM is excellent for cloud environments as its security is adequate due to the performance of various security functions like verification, authorization, storage provisioning, and authentication.
Verification mechanisms can include digital or physical methods like critical public infrastructure. Additionally, if you set access levels, you will have much greater control over how much data a person can see or change upon gaining access.
Access rights fall under system authentication management. Managing access rights is done by verifying the person trying to gain access, as only the right person with proper privileges should be able to access data stored on the cloud apps.
Consolidate and Streamline Cloud Services
Cloud infrastructure use has been on the rise ever since its beginnings. In 2022, companies should think about streamlining their processes and tools to make using the cloud much simpler instead of more complex.
Obtaining control and visibility within your cloud environment is crucial since their usage is growing within the environment. There are available tools that can assist you with asset configuration and evaluation. These tools will significantly improve your cloud infrastructure security while saving you money.
Securing APIs is yet another great practice for cloud security configuration management. This practice helps develop APIs with robust access control, activity monitoring, encryption, and authentication. It’s crucial to remember that you have to secure your APIs. Then, you can begin penetration tests that target API endpoints. You’ll obtain a secure code review, ensuring a secure software development lifecycle (SDLC). Furthermore, SDLC provides the development of secured apps and APIs.
When it comes to data in transit, you should consider the utilization of SSL/TLS encryption. In addition, if you want more robust authentication controls, you should use multi-factor authentication, including some schemas like a one-time password that provides more solid authentication control.
Provide Training for Your Employees
Even though many employees adhere to standard practices like recognizing phishing emails or generating strong passwords, your employees should learn many other things.
Companies should consider high-level certification and training for advanced users among their employees, including administrators involved in cloud security implementation.
In addition, organizations should train their staff on how to acknowledge various cybersecurity threats and what to do in case of an imminent attack.
The training should cover standard security knowledge like identifying potential social engineering attacks and creating powerful passwords.
When it comes to advanced security training, your employees should go through the risk management course. In addition, your staff should be aware of the risks that shadow IT can bring, and companies should provide their employees with adequate training to spot any potential incoming threats. On that note, employees should also know what to do when threats or attacks occur.
Whether you like it or not, cloud security configuration management is not something you can skip or dismiss as irrelevant. If you’re using cloud services, you should adhere to everything we’ve mentioned in this article so you’d have access to much greater application security on cloud.
All of this may sound overwhelming, and the truth is – it is not an easy thing to achieve. Suppose your in-house IT team can’t perform these tasks independently. In that case, you should consider outsourcing your cloud management to professionals, as it’ll keep your data secure while your IT team will be free to resolve the overhead they’re in. Let us know if your company requires external IT support, and we will get back to you.