Reflecting on Top Myths Around Cloud Infrastructure Security

Cloud infrastructure security is a big decision for any company. No matter the size and scale, the clarity of concepts in making a safe and rewarding transition to the cloud is essential. While experts predicted that more than 16% of enterprise workloads would be in the cloud by 2019, the reality is that just 9% of the workloads had shifted to the cloud. Major roadblocks in moving to the cloud are the misleading myths surrounding the topic. Some believe that the cloud is the ultimate solution to all their problems, only to realize it is not. Some think that the cloud is a sham, only to see their competitors an edge. If you are a decision-maker or a team member looking to make a move, here are the top myths around cloud infrastructure security that you should know.

Myth 1: On-Premises vs Cloud Infrastructure Security

Cloud is secure; it is the interaction of cloud apps and software with employees and customers that exposes it to a security breach. Most of the security risk comes from the misconfiguration of cloud services and discrepancies in human interaction with the cloud.

When you move to the cloud, you cannot secure it like an on-premises hardware room. You are responsible for analyzing use-cases, identifying procedural loopholes, and securing cloud apps from outside infiltration. The following are the best ways to secure your cloud infrastructure.

  • Network segmentation for different departments, instances, and apps.
  • Identity and access management.
  • User activity monitoring.
  • Combine traditional passwords with other authentication methods such as RSA keys.
  • Ensure regular patching and maintenance sweeps by your vendor to detect and prevent breaches.
  • Provision for a disaster recovery system.

These are some of the best ways to secure your cloud infra. Having said that, safety is never guaranteed. We must be vigilant and never let our guards down.

Myth 2: Cloud is a one-stop Solution for Everything.

Cloud is a great match for numerous use-cases involving self-provisioning of resources and dynamic workload management. But it is not the elixir of IT infra. If you currently use a legacy application with decades of data and procedures, it will not be advisable to shift everything to the cloud.

A better approach is building parallel capabilities and planning a gradual move from the existing legacy application to cloud infra. You should carefully analyze the current workloads on legacy apps and plan your move safely and securely.

Myth 3: Focus Either on Applications or Data Centers

If you follow the application by application approach, you will not benefit. For instance, if you move a subset of applications such as the user-profile app leaving behind the on-boarding and transactional aspects, you are limiting the enhanced time-to-market potential of the cloud.

On the other hand, you might face many problems if you plan to move the entire data center to the cloud. Some apps might not be configured or made to run on the cloud. Instead, a sensible approach is to club subsets as business domains such as customer on-boarding, profiles, and payments. The idea is to plan the move so that everything interrelated is shifted together.

Myth 4: Cloud Service Provider(CSP) Networks are More Latent than On-premise Networks

Many people believe that cloud infra has more latency than on-premise systems. However, that is far from the truth. What happens is that the organization starts routing traffic through an on-premise network in expectation of greater control.

Because the organization is backhauling data, it creates greater complexity of information transfer and creates higher latency in cloud apps. The important point is that CSPs now offer much more robust security perimeters, reducing the need for backhauling data and increasing latency for control and security.

Myth 5: Enterprises are Moving Back

Enterprises that move to the cloud with a structured, planned, and patient approach rarely move back to conventional infrastructure. Once they start realizing the benefits of cloud-based business, there is no turning back. 

Organizations move back due to the lack of execution finesse and planning for cloud infrastructures. If you are looking to make a move, invest time identifying the right approach and planning every transition stage.

Myth 6: On-premise Security is Better than Cloud Security

Another myth surrounding cloud infra is that on-premise is more secure; however, that is not true. If anything, the cloud gives you better control over your IT, it further increases the visibility of your business by providing impeccable speed and smooth user experiences.

Cloud service providers employ robust security procedures with heavy-duty malware protection, firewalls, data encryption, vulnerability management, and regular threat analysis.

Myth 7: Cloud Means NO Infrastructure Organizations

Many professionals assume that the cloud means an end-to-end solution that will not require infrastructure management, and that is not the truth. Even after moving to the cloud, you will have to keep a close eye on your infrastructure. You will encounter hundreds of modules and services that will need an experienced team to standardize, maintain, and improve business processes.

Conclusion

Cloud Infrastructure is an exciting proposition for every business. The only important thing is to ensure that you put your best foot forward. Take your time to prepare your organization for the big move. Plan every aspect of the transition down to the most minute details. And do not worry, if you need some expert help, Cloudlytics is always just a quick call away. We love helping enterprises ‘make the move’ and leverage the limitless opportunities of the cloud. Start your free trial of our security platform or request a demo today.

Major Security Benefits of Cloud Computing

It was back in the 1960s when the idea of network-based computing was conjured by J.C.R. Licklider, who was an American psychologist and computer scientist. But the term ‘cloud computing’ was not coined until 2006 when the then Google CEO Eric Schmidt presented it at an industry conference.

If the purported numbers hold, within the next 19 years, i.e., by 2025, over 100 zettabytes of data will be stored in the cloud. While the growth has been enormous, it has not been without caveats and threats. With the IT teams strapped for resources and consistently looking to fulfill the ever-increasing demand, there are a plethora of stakeholders who are not sold on the security benefits and compliances offered by cloud computing.

So, we thought of pointing out some of the significant security benefits that the cloud offers for organizations across the globe.

What Does Cloud Security Mean

Cloud security refers to a collection of procedures and technology designed to address threats, external or internal, to a business and its operations on the cloud. It involves multiple control levels placed within the network infrastructure to ensure optimum protection for assets owned by the organization on the cloud, such as web applications and websites. Every organization expects regulatory compliance, data security, DDoS protection, and other stringent measures from the cloud provider they partner with.

The Need for Compliance in Cloud Computing

Cloud compliance refers to the need to comply with the regulatory standards of cloud usage per industry guidelines in partnership with local, national, and international laws. For this, cloud providers set shared compliance responsibilities that help tie together a myriad of service features with applicable compliance or audit-based requirements. The most popular assurance programs include ISO 9001, ISO 27017, ISO 27018, FISMA, and DIACAP, and there are a plethora of different standards according to the industry you operate that can be relevant to help you optimize your efforts and ensure data integrity. Compliance with these standards ensures optimum security to enable businesses to function in the cloud ecosystem smoothly.

Top Security Benefits of Cloud Computing

With almost half of the global businesses keeping their sensitive and confidential information on the cloud, including standard and encrypted data, it becomes all the more vital to focus on security. In addition, the growth of SaaS, IaaS, and other similar computing models has further brought about a host of challenges and made it difficult for them to keep their data secure.

With more and more organizations making the cloud an integral part of their operations, third-party cloud computing providers need to understand how to tighten the lid and ensure optimum data security. They usually follow industry best security practices to help establish accountability and maintain server integrity to prevent data leakage. In addition, organizations that transition to the cloud are also responsible for keeping their data secure and need to have their consideration to protect workloads and applications running on the cloud. 

Thankfully, the recent developments in this space have ensured a reinforced focus on cloud security, and here are the significant benefits on offer –

Centralized Management

Organizations are often guilty of keeping their data in such a manner, which increases the chances of nefarious activities exposing them to unwanted hands. But when the focus is on cloud security, companies automatically start centralizing their data which contributes to better control implementation, improved visibility, and thereby higher resilience to attacks. It further contributes to improved disaster recovery and business continuity, optimizing the entire operation cycle.

Improved Reliability

94% of businesses saw an improvement in security and data reliability after switching to the cloud. When you focus on cloud security, you also focus on managing data integrity. While most organizations are reluctant to accept internal data theft, it is vital to understand that it is common and has plagued several top brands worldwide. So brands inculcate IAM (Identity and Access Management) and other necessary controls to prevent perpetrators from gaining access to sensitive organizational data and degrading it. It establishes higher data reliability making it more usable for decision making.

Updated Services

76% of brands measure their cloud progress based on cost efficiency and the money they save because of cloud initiatives. With regular software updation costing a bomb, it has been one of the significant bottlenecks preventing organizations from updating their security regularly. Unpatched software is one of the top causes of malware infections globally, and it has been a sore thumb for organizations of all sizes and types.

Shifting to the cloud provides them with the benefit of regular updates as cloud providers offer routine patches which can be installed without keeping the services without any significant downtime. In a time when most of your operations are online and a lot of your workers are still operating remotely, regular updates are priceless and help in maintaining your efficiency.

DDoS Protection

The Q1 2022 saw a 46% increase in the number of DDoS attacks compared to the last quarter and a 4.5x increase compared to the same time-period in 2021. In recent years, the most prolonged DDoS attack recorded has lasted for 292 hours. These attacks not only force a business to lose millions of dollars they can also result in them losing their customer’s faith. The cloud, being one of the primary targets of DDoS attacks, focusing on its security would enable brands to train, dedicate, and prevent their resources from DDoS at all possible costs.

Drive Cloud Security with Cloudlytics

With increasing online operations and a focus on going remote, more resources swiftly transition to the cloud. However, while it offers increased flexibility for operations, it also poses a higher risk to data integrity. As a result, brands would need to focus more on improving visibility, compliance, and agility to ensure the optimum security of their resources.

In such cases, the third-party cloud provider also plays a crucial role in keeping your data safeguarded. At Cloudlytics, we offer a compliance manager focusing on identifying, prioritizing, and remediating compliance risks at the earliest. In addition, we have event analytics and an embedded cloud intelligence engine to ensure optimum security for your sensitive organizational data.  

Data Protection Strategies for AWS Cloud in 2023

Data is the new currency, and pandemics had a massive impact on its extrapolation. According to an IDC survey, in 2020, 64.2 Zettabytes of the data was stored or replicated worldwide. Managing high volumes of the data and keeping it safe is a challenge for many organizations. In addition, with the growing data regulations and compliance requirements, enterprises need reliable data protection strategies.

Another key reason why data protection has been on the top of the security checklist for enterprises is increasing data theft. According to the ITRC report, there had been a 23 percent rise in data compromises in 2021. So, there is no denying that data theft has increased. A critical aspect is the push for cloud migrations. Unfortunately, many organizations are moving to the cloud without proper safeguards. Fortunately, cloud service providers like AWS come with pre-built tools to protect data.

Companies need to have the correct data protection strategy to optimize these tools and maximize security. So, here we are with the best strategies that help in optimizing data protection for the AWS cloud.

Data Types and Patterns

Data classification becomes key for organizations that need to address multiple information security concerns. For example, storing users’ sensitive personal information on the cloud requires enhanced strategies and security policies. It allows organizations to better comply with data regulation guidelines. Similarly, some data types are the intellectual property of organizations. So, data classification enables businesses with policy decisions and standard security definitions.

AWS does provide a service called Amazon Macie that uses machine learning to discover, classify and protect sensitive data automatically. It detects data usage patterns and access logs to sound an alert if there are any anomalies. Further, organizations can use Amazon Cloudwatch to enable automation workflows. Another critical aspect is that data classification helps control it for better security.

Data Protection and Control

There are many different types of information control that businesses can use to improve their data security. Information controls are among the most critical data protection strategies, from data encryptions to access control.

Data Encryptions

Encryption is one of the most fundamental security strategies. Cryptographic encryptions protect data from cyber attackers by converting information into an unreadable format that is further readable to users after decryptions. A simple example is an SSL certificate. It is a digital certificate that allows the validation of websites and systems and data security through encryption. Implementing data encryptions on the AWS cloud becomes easy with the certificate manager service. In addition, it provides free SSL certification.

Organizations can even add SSL certificates from an external certificate authority(CA) to the AWS cloud through certificate manager services. It will help you improve your data security through encryption-based strategies.

Data-at-rest vs. data-in-motion

Securing data-in-motion is different from data-at-rest. Data-in-motion is the one you transfer or provide for the user request. On the other hand, data-at-rest is stored on a storage device. Understanding the difference is essential as both have different challenges for security. For example, data-in-motion are prone to Man-in-the-middle(MITM) attacks. At the same time, data-at-rest can be subjective to cyberattacks as they are confined to an organization’s internal networks.

So, if there is a single code injection in the data-at-rest, it can affect the entire network. So, it’s essential to control the data storage and secure them through the right security strategy. One solution that businesses can use is Data Loss Prevention(DLP) solutions. Especially for data at rest, a DLP can apply specific policies to control the transfer and storage of sensitive information. Cloud data protection is not just about securing the transfer or storage. There are many different types of risks that you need to consider. So, it’s vital to assess the data risks.

Risk Assessment Framework

Risk assessment is key to your data protection policies. It allows you to reduce the risk of data loss and improve security on the cloud. However, businesses need a risk assessment framework to deal with risks associated with SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS services.

One way to ensure data protection is to use a cloud access security broker(CASB). Organizations can develop CASB inside the cloud infrastructure to help developers deal with security risks. CASBs are different from conventional firewall protocols. It offers additional features like,

  • Risk assessments
  • Governance of cloud infrastructure
  • Data encryptions
  • Configuration management
  • Malware detection
  • User and Entity Behavior Analytics(UEBA)
  • Data access control
  • Security key management

CASB improves visibility through analytics and provides vital details on app usage. It also allows organizations to improve compliance across data regulations like HIPAA, PCI DSS, and GDPR. Data protection strategies are incomplete without a data recovery strategy.

Data Recovery Strategy

The first part of the data recovery strategy is to define  Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO). RTO is the maximum delay between downtime and restoration of services. Similarly, RPO is the acceptable full-time since the last data recovery point. 

Once data recovery metrics are ready, organizations can leverage AWS Resilience Hub. It allows continuous monitoring and validation of RTO and RPO targets. So, businesses can have better data recovery and improved protection against the loss of information on the AWS cloud.

Scaling Data Security Strategies

Lastly, organizations need to have a strategy for scaling data security across AWS cloud infrastructure. Here one of the most significant aspects is governance and access policies. As businesses scale their data security strategies in the cloud, they need,

  • Enhanced Identity and Access Management(IAM)
  • Security policies specific to data buckets
  • Access control for different security groups and data buckets
  • Monitoring and analytical tools for access logs
  • Data authentication policies to ensure access protection

Conclusion

Data is increasing, and there is no end to the number of information businesses will need for their digital offerings. However, cloud service providers like AWS are not just empowering organizations with excellent infrastructure but tools to secure data. As a result, companies need to have reliable data protection strategies to leverage these tools. Further, they also need cloud intelligence and security solutions that enable reduced risks.

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