What is Cloud Security?
Cloud security, also known as cloud computing security, encompasses a broad range of controls-based technologies, policies, and procedures that enterprises deploy to protect data, information, applications, communication channels, and infrastructure in the cloud. As with on-premise systems and data, businesses should vigilantly protect cloud-based information assets.
- Cloud security refers to controls, processes, and technologies used to protect information and systems in the cloud.
- Cloud security safeguards cloud data, supports regulatory compliance, and protects user privacy
- Cloud computing security is essential since it protects applications and information from frequent and sophisticated cyber threats in the cloud
- Cloud security involves a joint responsibility between a business and a cloud service provider
- Cloud security offers benefits like centralized management, affordability, automation, and reliability
Organizations can configure and manage cloud computing security in one place, offering reduced administration overheads and empowering IT teams to focus on other vital tasks.
The Joint Responsibility in Cloud Security
Cloud security delivery depends on the individual cloud service provider and security controls in place. In most cases, implementing cloud security is a joint responsibility between the cloud provider and the customer or business.
Cloud security shared responsibility model has three categories:
- Provider’s security responsibilities: the cloud service provider safeguards the cloud infrastructure itself, as well as other security components like patching and physical host and network configurations
- Customer’s security responsibilities: cloud consumers manage users, control access privileges, and protect cloud accounts from unauthorized access. Cloud customers also meet compliance with various cloud security regulations
- Service model-based security responsibilities: these security responsibilities vary depending on the service model, such as infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as service (PaaS), or software as a service (SaaS)
Importance of Cloud Security
As businesses migrate their applications and data to the cloud to leverage capabilities like rapid elasticity, ubiquitous access, resource poling, and on-demand services, they require robust cloud computing security controls.
Cloud-based workloads face constant risks from sophisticated and frequent cybersecurity threats. For this reason, enterprises should work with service providers offering in-depth security controls tailored to the company’s needs.
Cloud security protects cloud storage and networks against malicious cyberattacks. The security measures also deter human error or negligence that causes data breaches. Cloud computing security provides procedures that enable data recovery during and after an incident. Overall, the controls reduce the impact of any cloud system or information compromise.
Core Components of Cloud Security
Cloud security focuses on these primary areas:·
- Data security
- Identity and access management (IAM)
- Legal compliance
- Business continuity (BC) planning
- Governance (cloud security policies)
- Data retention
Cloud security focuses on designing and integrating the above categories to protect various resources, such as physical networks, data storage, data servers, computer virtualization frameworks, middleware, operating systems, data, applications, and endpoints.
Benefits of Cloud Security
- Centralized security – just as cloud computing centralizes workloads, cloud security consolidates protection. Cloud security offers centralized and advanced capabilities such as web filtering, traffic analysis, and network monitoring for numerous endpoints and applications.
- Affordable – cloud computing security eliminates the need for investing in dedicated hardware, like in the case of an on-premise security strategy. Apart from removing capital expenditure, cloud security shared responsibility reduces administrative overheads.
- Automation – reputable cloud service providers or cloud security platforms automate security configurations and security update administration. Cloud security services eliminate manual tasks that can massively drain resources and the workforce.
- Reliability – cloud computing security allows users to access data and application safely from any location.
Popular Cloud Security Challenges
Some of the challenges facing cloud security include:
- Extensive attack surface: cloud-based environments are large and attractive attack surface for hackers who exploit different vulnerabilities in cloud computing
- Low visibility and tracking: cloud service providers have control over the cloud infrastructure. Cloud users lack visibility and control to identify cloud assets and protect them from cyberattacks effectively
- Dynamic workloads: providers provision and decommission cloud computing resources dynamically. Traditional security controls cannot protect and enforce policies on the dynamic cloud environments
- Emerging cloud concepts: embracing DevOps (continuous integration and continuous delivery) culture requires new security controls that embed in code and templates during the development cycle
- Complex environments: managing security consistently in hybrid environments (on-premise and cloud) requires tools and procedures that work across different deployment environments
- Increased compliance requirements: cloud users must comply with standards like PCI DSS, NIST, HIPAA, and GDPR. Poor visibility and cloud platforms’ dynamic nature complicates cloud compliance