Cloud security is the technology and best practices designed to protect data and information within a cloud architecture. It’s a critical component of any IT infrastructure strategy that uses the cloud. Cloud security ensures data privacy and compliance around data stored in the cloud.
More and more businesses are taking advantage of the cloud for at least part, if not all of their IT infrastructure. Private clouds, public clouds and hybrid cloud combinations of both private and public cloud platforms have all grown in popularity, as well as the use of multiple public clouds in a multi-cloud strategy. Because of cloud computing’s distributed and dynamic nature, there are unique considerations when it comes to securing data within the cloud.
Cloud security includes controls and process improvements that strengthen the system, warn of potential attackers and detect incidents when they do occur. Cloud security considerations should also include a business continuity plan and data backup plan in case of a security breach or other catastrophe. There are various cloud security solutions for the public cloud, private cloud and hybrid cloud involving a wide range of tools.
In public cloud environments, cloud security takes a shared responsibility model, meaning that the cloud provider is responsible for the security of hardware and software, while the customer is responsible for the security of their own assets, including virtual machines, applications and data.
Cloud security encompasses a broad range of tools and practices, so there’s no single explanation for how it works. The most important function of cloud security is to ensure that only authorized users access data stored in the cloud. Enterprises use a number of tools and strategies to achieve this, including:
In addition to these technologies, there are a number of things that enterprises can do to ensure cloud security, starting with ensuring visibility in the cloud architecture across the organization. Here are three cloud security best practices enterprises should implement:
Responsibility for cloud security is shared between cloud providers (which offer a number of security tools and services to customers) and the enterprise to which the data belongs. There are also many third-party solutions available to provide additional security and monitoring.
Cloud computing resources are distributed and highly interdependent, so a traditional approach to security (with an emphasis on traditional firewalls and securing the network perimeter) is no longer sufficient for modern security needs.
Cloud environments are increasingly interconnected, making it difficult to maintain a secure perimeter. While this less walled-off approach has many advantages, it can also lead to security risks by increasing the potential attack surface. The best cloud security plans allow companies to take advantage of cloud computing benefits while also minimizing the risks.
In addition to these concerns, cloud computing creates a number of other unique security issues. It is harder to identify users when addresses and ports are assigned dynamically and virtual machines are constantly being spun up. In addition, multitenant environments in public cloud environments mean that an organization’s data shares space with the data of other organizations. Thus, it is important for public cloud providers to keep tenants isolated.
There are three primary challenges in keeping cloud computing secure:
Cloud security offers a variety of benefits, including:
It’s a common misconception that the cloud isn’t as secure as a legacy, on-premises system. After all, enterprises that store data on-premises have control over its security. But most businesses don’t have the level of resources or expertise as big public cloud providers, and that can make the cloud more secure. The cloud is run by professionals, with all the advantages that implies:
Data breaches in the cloud have made headlines in recent years, but in the vast majority of cases, these breaches were a result of human error. Thus, it’s important for enterprises to take a proactive approach to securing data, rather than assuming the cloud provider will handle everything. Cloud infrastructure is complex and dynamic, and therefore requires a robust cloud security approach.
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