Best Practices for Cloud Security Monitoring

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What is the Need for Cloud Security Monitoring?

The criticality of monitoring in cloud security and management has grown from being a caution or threat detection to an essential aspect. This has increased the reliability of service providers on automated solutions for real-time assessment and measurement of data, applications, or infrastructure behaviors to identify potential security threats. 

Cloud security monitoring has increasingly facilitated the identification of patterns and high-risk vulnerabilities in an infrastructure. Additionally, the reluctance of companies to the adoption of cloud computing on the back of control-related uncertainties has been ebbing away, with the promise of effective security monitoring to make the data transfer and storage more convenient.

Cloud monitoring helps to review online computing resources for workflow optimization while ensuring ceaseless service availability and high performance of servers, websites, and application security monitoring. It also aids in the evaluation of resource availability, program speed, and resource levels, to further help predict vulnerability attacks before their occurrence.

Companies adopting cloud monitoring have found a perfect balance between mitigating risks and leveraging the benefits of the cloud environments, without any hindrances to business processes.

Key Best Practices for Effective Cloud Security Monitoring

Stringent Data Control

One of the most efficacious measures for mitigating cloud security risks is gaining complete control over data across all endpoints. Using solutions that scan, assess and take action on the data sources, before its transition from an enterprise network, enables a robust defense against any data loss through the cloud provider.

This further helps in avoiding attack surface vulnerabilities, such as uploading of sensitive files to unprotected cloud repositories.

Securing the Code

Securing codes must be one of the top priorities, to eliminate risks from potential cyberthreats. During the development of codes for websites, the focus lies in selecting the right security development lifecycle (SDL), which aligns well with the delivery strategies of companies. Key benefits associated with secure SDL include continuous security, early risk detection, threat detection, improved stakeholder awareness, and reduction of business risks.

Separating Crucial Metrics

A software developer aims at learning features of cloud security monitoring while designing new software with specific security aspects. For the implementation of a monitoring strategy, key considerations must be emphasized such as

  • Determination of the resource inventory utilized in the organization
  • Mapping all attributes of data that the organization aims to gather
  • Mutual decision appertaining to software that best suits the organization

While several cloud security monitoring solutions have been launched, the above guidelines would help in the successful execution of online monitoring system practices.

Patch Management

Unpatched software and system result in significant issues. Keeping an organization’s environment secure by updating the systems regularly has become imperative.

Key requirements for an organization to eliminate risks for their systems include asset inventory, vulnerability data gathered, and configuration for understanding the criticality of the risks associated. Organizations must consider preparing the checklist of important procedures and make sure to keep all updates in check for arresting the vulnerabilities before implementation into the live environment. An apt blend of vulnerability scanning and automatic patching allude lower impact of threats.

Automation

Scripting remains an essential feature in the cloud security monitoring strategy, as monitoring and reporting processes can be scripted for enabling automation of systems. Organizations must focus on the implementation of the monitoring software owing to the virtual nature of operations on the cloud environments, even as automating the red-flag and logging system for real-time alerts.

Identity and Access Management

Identity and access management provides capabilities of provisioning and access control for users. Administrators can use the IAM to manage users and groups and implement granular permission rules to limit access to resources and APIs.

Organizations must ensure the policies created are attached to roles or groups instead of individual users to deprive unnecessary or excessive privileges or permissions to users. To stem any unauthorized access to resources, organizations must provision access to these resources using roles instead of giving separate set of credentials for access.

It must be made sure that users are provided minimal access privileges to resources, which would not restrict them to fulfil their responsibilities. All users must have a multifactor authentication for their individual accounts as a defensive strategy against any compromised account.

Organizations must also limit the number of users with administrative privileges. The access keys must be rotated on a regular basis, and standardized periodically for password expiration, ensuring inaccessibility to data sources with a potential stolen or lost key.

A strong password policy must be enforced, requiring a minimum of fourteen characters that contain at least one symbol, one uppercase letter and one number. Also, a password reset policy must be enforced to prevent users from using the password used in the past 24 resets.

Data Protection

New technologies entail distinct issues and with the cloud-based storage solutions on the fore, data protection has become an imperative challenge to be addressed.

Organizations must opt for the cloud service providers that deliver data encryption as a standard feature in their offerings. Encrypting highly sensitive data including personally identifiable information (PII) or protected health information with the aid of customer-controlled keys has become a must-have for organizations eyeing the move to cloud computing. Customer-controlled key put the pressure of management on the customer, however they provide better control.

Organizations must choose the provider who guarantees protection against loss of critical data and meet the needs of data backup and recovery. Data replication is a common practice among the cloud service providers to ensure persistence. Organizations must thoroughly analyze the cloud deployment to identify where the replicated data has been cached or stored and take actions accordingly to ensure that the copied data has been deleted.

Conclusion

Cloud security monitoring strategy is all about understanding vital business requirements, let alone being a mere platform debate. The importance of effective cloud security monitoring grows unabated, helping organizations in determining the type of data on which an employee is working, along with the exact location. Industries across the globe must adopt safety measures before things are out of their scope to resolve.

Further reading

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Abhijeet Chinchole

Abhijeet Chinchole

Abhijeet Chinchole is Chief Technology Officer at Cloudlytics. Over the years, Abhijeet has helped numerous global businesses transition to the cloud by helping them with strategy and implementation. He is also an expert on cloud migration, cloud security, and building modern SaaS applications. When not working, he likes to drive and don the hat of a creative tinkerer.

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