Cloud Visibility Is Essential for Security

By Zachary Amos •  Updated: 07/24/22 •  5 min read

Migrating to the cloud offers a boost in convenience and features, but visibility is critical to maintaining strong security. More organizations are moving to the cloud for their operations, software, data storage, backups, and more. Many employees work remotely today, so this is a smart strategic move. 

However, IT professionals can leave their organizations vulnerable during a large-scale move to the cloud if they are not careful. Maintaining visibility is essential for ensuring everything remains secure. 

What Is Cloud Visibility?

Cloud visibility is the amount of oversight and control an organization has over its resources and data. For instance, an organization that keeps its information in a cloud-hosted by AWS and cannot see who is accessing it has low cloud visibility. Executives don’t know what is going on in their cloud resources. In contrast, a company that uses its own private cloud and firm access control protocols has much higher cloud visibility. 

These are two general examples. In reality, most organizations will fall somewhere in the middle. They may know who is authorized to access their data but lack tools for monitoring unauthorized attempts. 

Different types of cloud infrastructure also have inherently higher or lower visibility. A public cloud is controlled or hosted by a third party, which isn’t necessarily bad but can often result in lower visibility for client organizations. Additionally, many companies spread their cloud resources out. 

Visibility can vary drastically from one cloud service to another. With multiple cloud services to keep track of, it can be a significant challenge for organizations to maintain consistent visibility over all their data across apps and vendors. 

Why Cloud Visibility Is Crucial for Security

Improving cloud visibility is not simply a matter of keeping a closer eye on data. Organizations must boost their visibility to stay ahead of rising security threats. The cloud has unique risks, ranging from code vulnerabilities to poor file encryption

Greater cloud visibility allows organizations to identify and address risks before hackers can take advantage of them. There are several reasons why any organization that wants to benefit from the cloud needs to prioritize its visibility. 

Proactive Threat DetectionLow cloud visibility is essentially the equivalent of security blindness. Organizations that cannot see what’s going on in their cloud environment cannot detect signs of potential security threats. High cloud visibility enables thorough, proactive risk detection. Whether done by IT personnel, an AI algorithm, or security software, monitoring problems is vital today. 

This threat-hunting process can often stop cyberattacks before they begin. For example, high cloud visibility allows an organization’s team to identify vulnerabilities in the cloud app they use to share files. Pinpointing this threat early on would enable the organization to choose a more secure application, restrict the types of files employees can share, or activate security measures to make it more resilient to unauthorized access. 

  1. Effective Access Control

Access control is a concern for most organizations today, but that needs to extend to the cloud. Experts point out that employees are being given increasingly high trust, taking mobile devices everywhere with them that hold sensitive work-related information. Keeping data on cloud desktops can reduce the risk posed by device loss or theft, but only if organizations take the necessary steps to protect cloud desktops, apps, and data storage. 

Access control is a big part of that. The cloud makes it easier to work remotely or share documents with co-workers. However, it can also make it easier for unwanted parties to access company data. High cloud visibility lets organizations maintain strict access control over their information, which is one of the foundations of strong cybersecurity

  1. Quicker Attack Recovery

Greater cloud visibility can help organizations respond to cyberattacks more quickly and detect threats sooner. Suppose a hacker does manage to slip into an organization’s cloud data. In that case, maximizing visibility will allow it to know precisely how far the attack has spread and stop it in its tracks. 

Automation can be beneficial for detecting, tracking, and ending cyberattacks, especially in the cloud, where there is more ground to cover. That is part of the risk, of course. The cloud is convenient for its easy access, but that also makes it easier for hackers to increase their blast radius.

  1. Cybersecurity Optimization

Cloud visibility is also crucial for optimizing an organization’s cybersecurity. High visibility lets companies get the most comprehensive view of their cloud apps’ and services’ security infrastructure. They can then identify strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement. Optimizing security measures in the cloud before attacks happen will keep employees and customers safer. 

Strengthening Cloud Security

Cloud visibility is the key to staying safe from today’s cyber threats. The cloud offers organizations a whole host of benefits, especially with the rise of remote work. However, it also requires increased responsibility to keep an eye on security. High cloud visibility lets companies take advantage of the cloud and ensure their data is truly secure.

Zachary Amos

Zachary is a tech writer and the features editor of ReHack Magazine where he covers cybersecurity and all things technology.