Cyber security is one of the most important considerations for businesses in the 21st century. We create so much sensitive data each and every day, and unfortunately, if we don’t get our security right, that data is at risk.
We regularly hear about huge data breaches, and they’re not just from small businesses who haven’t considered their cybersecurity; they’re from massive companies with huge IT budgets. The fallout from these data breaches has serious consequences for businesses. Losing confidential data can severely damage your company’s reputation and hit your revenues.
To combat the threat of cyber-attacks, companies spend large sums of money on security, but for those companies operating through the cloud, what security issues should you be looking at?
What is Cloud Security?
Cloud computing allows businesses to get rid of their on-premises data centers and store, manage, and process data and applications through remote servers.
Traditionally, businesses would have had large servers on their premises that housed all their data, but the cloud has meant businesses can get rid of these servers and benefit from storing their data through the internet. However, different server solutions mean different security risks, and cyber security has had to adapt in order to reflect the risks presented by cloud computing.
The most common forms of cloud computing are software as a service (SaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). These different types of cloud services allow different companies to maximize the effectiveness of their cloud system, but they also present companies with slightly different risks.
Although cloud security is similar for both SAAS and IAAS, and they work off similar principles, there are slight differences, and your business needs to be aware of them.
What Threats are There?
As technology becomes more sophisticated, so do the methods of the people who are looking to steal your data. There’s a wide variety of threats that can affect your business’s cyber security, and you need to be taking steps to protect against them:
- Account Hijack
- Insider Threat
- Malware Injection
- Abuse of Cloud Services
- Insecure APIs
- Denial of Services Attack
- Data Breaches
- Insufficient Due Diligence
- Shared Vulnerabilities
- Data Loss
Depending on whether you’re using a Saas or an IaaS cloud system, certain security responsibilities will fall upon the provider and others will fall upon you. Your provider will help to protect you against many of these threats, but your business still has some responsibilities.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
SaaS is a very popular way of using the cloud that utilizes third parties such as Dropbox, Google Apps and Microsoft 365 to provide software over the internet. In SaaS cloud computing, the third party is responsible for managing applications, data, runtime, middleware, O/S, virtualization, servers, storage, and networking.
This means that much of the security is taken care of by the third-party provider, but not all of it. Your business is still responsible for the security of user access and data, which means there is still a risk on your side.
Security for SaaS – Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB)
The most common form of security for companies that use SaaS is a cloud access security broker (CASB). The way SaaS works, employees have access to many different programs through the internet; some of which are approved by your IT department, some of which might not have been.
A CASB from a company like www.mcafee.com allows you to see all of the applications that are in use on your network and managed devices, and apply security settings. These applications will have their own native security settings, but a CASB allows you to assess the risk of each application and adjust security settings, therefore reducing the threat to your business.
A CASB will allow you to add extra security on top of that provided by the software providers, and will also stop employees sharing sensitive data with unknown devices.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Infrastructure as a service allows businesses to maintain the same kind of control as to when they had their own on-premises IT infrastructure, without the costs of housing all the hardware.
In IaaS, a third party such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure offers pay-as-you-go packages for storage, networking, and virtualization. This gives businesses great flexibility and scalability whilst maintaining control over their network and not having to rely on external IT management.
When using IaaS you are responsible for a greater amount of cloud security. As well as user access and data, you are responsible for applications, operating systems, and network traffic. This means that there are more security responsibilities on your business when using IaaS than for SaaS.
Security for IaaS – Cloud Workload Protection Platform (CWPP)
A cloud workload protection platform (CWPP) uses many of the same principles as a CASB, but also gives you that little bit more protection than you need when working with an IAAS.
A CWPP gives you access to a variety of security tools:
- Assessing the security configurations of all infrastructures across different platforms
- Viewing and controlling network traffic at the virtual machine level
- Whitelisting, which allows you to harden workloads
- Blocking file-less attacks
- Dev-op tools to create agent-based security
IaaS allows companies to maximize their effective use of the cloud, but it also means that they have to take extra responsibility for their cybersecurity. A CWPP allows businesses to effectively do this and reduce their risks in terms of cyber security.