Cloud security refers to the technologies, controls, processes, and policies that work together to safeguard the cloud-based systems, data, and infrastructure. It falls under the umbrella of computer security and, more broadly, information security. Implement a cloud security strategy to safeguard the data, ensure regulatory compliance, and protect the privacy of the customers. As a result, customers are shielded from the reputational, financial, and legal consequences of data breaches and data loss.
Let us create a comprehensive guide to cloud security in this article. We will learn why cloud security is important, investigate the security risks of moving to the cloud, learn about cloud security best practices, and identify the certifications that need to improve cloud security.
Why is Cloud Security important?
Most businesses are already using cloud computing in some form or another, cloud security is crucial. According to various reports the worldwide market for cloud services grew in the past several years.
However, as increased applications and data are moving to the cloud, IT professionals are concerned about security, governance, and compliance issues. They are concerned that sensitive information may be exposed because of unintentional leaks or sophisticated cyber threats.
Maintaining a strong cloud security assists organisations in realising the widely recognised benefits of cloud computing:
- Centralized Security
- Reduced Cost
- Reduced Administration
- Increased Reliability
Security Risks of Cloud computing
1. Compliance Violations -
With increasing regulatory control, many of these regulations demand that the business should understand where the data is kept, who has access to it, how it is processed, and how it is protected. A careless data transfer to the cloud, or a switch to the wrong provider, can put the company out of compliance.
2. Risk of Misconfiguration –
Misconfiguration-related security incidents are the most common. It describes situations in which resources are made publicly available (S3 bucket, ElasticSearch database, etc.). Firewall (security system) rules and port management are also part of the configuration process. Leaving administration-related ports (SSH) open, for example, is a risky practice. The danger of data leaks is significant because the consequences can be severe (economic, legal, and commercial).
3. Insecure Application User Interface (API) –
We might use an API to implement control when operating systems in a cloud infrastructure. Any API built can give customers access internally or externally. External-facing APIs are the ones that can put cloud security at risk. Any insecure external API serves as a point of entry for cybercriminals looking to steal data and manipulate services.
4. Loss of Visibility –
Most businesses will use multiple devices, departments, and locations to access cloud services. Without the right tools in place, this level of complexity in a cloud computing setup can lead to a loss of visibility into the infrastructure. We can lose track of who is using the cloud services if we do not have the right processes in place. What data they are accessing, uploading, and downloading, for example. We cannot protect something we cannot see. Increasing the likelihood of a data breach and loss.
What are the Best Practices for Cloud Security?
Good practices can help to mitigate these risks. Here are a few that we believe are important for cloud computing.
1. Understand Shared Responsibility Model –
When we partner with a cloud service provider and move the systems and data to the cloud, we enter a shared security implementation partnership. Reviewing and understanding the shared responsibility is an important part of best practice. Identifying which security tasks will remain the customer’s responsibility and which will be handled by the provider. Depending on whether we are using SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, or an on-premises data centre, this is a sliding scale. Leading cloud service providers, such as Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Alibaba Cloud, publish a shared responsibility model for security.
2. Identity and Access Management (IAM) –
Control resource access - who has access to what and when? The concept of least privilege must be followed. Use a tool to manage the IAM. This tool allows us to establish user groups with extremely specific roles and permissions. Predefined roles are available to build on, depending on the cloud provider. A strong IAM tool provides structural visibility into access. For all the users, develop a strong authentication policy.
3. Review Cloud Provider Contracts and SLA’s –
Although we may not see reviewing the cloud contracts and SLAs as a security best practice, we should. SLAs and cloud service contracts only provide assurance of service and remedy in the event of a problem. The terms and conditions, annexes, and appendices contain a lot more information that can affect security. Examine who owns the data and what will happen to it if we stop using the service.
4. Implement Encryption –
Encrypting the data is a security best practice regardless of location, but it becomes even more important once we migrate to the cloud. By storing the data on a third-party platform and transmitting it back and forth between the network and the cloud service, we expose the data to more danger. Ensure that data in transit and at rest is encrypted to the greatest level possible. Before uploading data to the cloud, we should consider using our own encryption methods and encryption keys to keep complete control.
Cloud Security Certifications –
Advanced cloud security skills and knowledge will be required to successfully protect the cloud platform. We have compiled a list of cloud security certifications to earn in 2022.
1. AWS (Amazon Web Services) Certified Security – Specialty
Demonstrate the knowledge of data classifications, encryption methods, secure Internet protocols, and the AWS mechanisms required to implement them by earning the AWS Certified Security certification.
2. Microsoft Certified – Azure Security Engineer Associate
Microsoft recently changed their certification paths to be role-based. As a result, earning the Azure Security Engineer Associate certification includes being able to protect data, applications, and networks in a cloud setting. Managing identity and access, as well as implementing security controls and threat protection.
3. Google Cloud – Professional Cloud Security Engineer
We can design, develop, implement, and manage secure infrastructure on the Google Cloud Platform by earning Google’s Professional Cloud Security Engineer certification. We will accomplish this by utilising Google security technologies that are compliant with industry standards and best practices.
4. (ISC)2 – Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)
The CCSP is a globally recognised cloud security certification for IT and security leaders. The CCSP certifies that we have the knowledge and strong technical skills needed to design, manage, and secure cloud data, applications, and infrastructure.
When we move to the cloud, we must be prepared to implement a comprehensive cloud security strategy right away. This begins with selecting the appropriate cloud service provider(s), followed by implementing a strategy that incorporates the appropriate tools, processes, policies, and best practices.