How to Develop a Cloud Security Strategy That Works
One of the most widespread misconceptions among organizations embarking on a cloud transformation journey is the mistaken notion that securing workloads in the cloud equates to securing workloads on-premises. In actuality, that’s far from the truth.
One of the primary elements in establishing an effective cloud security strategy entails recognizing that the cloud demands a fundamentally distinct approach compared to on-premises security. Organizations should not, and cannot, approach the security of cloud workloads in the same manner as they did on-premises. On-premises security typically follows a reactive approach and heavily relies on manual processes. In the cloud, given the rapid pace of DevOps and cloud-native development, manual methods and deferring security as a final step are simply unworkable if you aim to achieve a secure environment. Moreover, some executives mistakenly assume that migrating to the cloud automatically guarantees the presence of automation, but regrettably, this is not the case. You must actively incorporate automation, particularly concerning security. Overcoming these common misconceptions is a crucial aspect of any successful strategy.
What is Cloud Security Strategy
A cloud security strategy encompasses the amalgamation of safeguards, instruments, guidelines, and protocols employed to safeguard cloud information, applications, and infrastructure. It must tackle the distinct security hazards and dilemmas confronted by an entity and must synchronize with the overarching security objectives of the organization.
Establishing your organization’s cloud security strategy is not a singular endeavor. Your approach must remain flexible and adapt in accordance with the shifting panorama of cloud computing, an arena perpetually ushering in fresh services, functionalities, and regrettably, novel perils.
Three facets of cloud security: Data, networks, and individuals
Let’s delve into the three primary constituents that demand your organization’s attention as part of your cloud security strategy: data, networks, and individuals.
Ensuring data protection stands as a paramount concern for your team. To enhance data security effectively, the initial step involves conducting a comprehensive inventory of your various data types.
For example, your organization might house health information under the purview of HIPAA regulations, personal financial records, intellectual property (IP), or corporate data amassed through operational procedures. Each data type, contingent on its origin, content, and purpose, necessitates appropriate management and safeguarding, whether it resides in stasis or undergoes transmission.
Vital actions you can undertake
Catalog your data: Your security team must identify and pinpoint data, including data lurking in the shadows of your organization’s IT infrastructure.
Understand your compliance requisites: Once you discern the nature and locations of your data, commence formulating your compliance obligations. Determine which regulations pertain to your data and evaluate your existing data compliance measures.
Numerous IT security teams remain largely unaware of the full expanse of their networks, not due to a lack of effort in gaining visibility, but rather because of shadow IT.
Shadow IT refers to any IT resource, hardware, or software employed by a department or individual without official deployment or approval from the IT department. This may encompass something as straightforward as an employee downloading a productivity application to enhance efficiency or circumvent cumbersome processes.
Whenever employees utilize IT tools, Software as a Service (SaaS), or other computational services unknown to your IT team, it leaves your team ill-prepared for potential risks and security issues.
Uncover your shadow IT: Rather than outright prohibiting shadow IT, initiate tracking procedures. You can employ a range of IT management tools for automated resource audits. Subsequently, import this data into Lucidchart to visualize your shadow IT landscape.
Even authorized users can contribute to security breaches or misuse of your cloud system. Clearly delineating access levels and roles, constraining usage, and bearing in mind that no system is entirely immune to human error can assist your organization in managing risks inadvertently introduced by your team (or deliberately by an unauthorized party or for unauthorized purposes).
Our recommendation for fostering team alignment:
Adopt a security-conscious approach: Develop a security plan shared with all personnel to mitigate and account for human errors.
Components of a Robust Cloud Security Strategy
The contemporary security environment is intricate. Safeguarding your institution necessitates acknowledging the reality that your systems will, at some stage, experience a breach. Consequently, your strategy should encompass both elements designed for pre-breach and post-breach scenarios. Presented below are five fundamental constituents of a potent cloud security strategy:
Collaborating with a cloud service provider involves the division of security implementation duties. Initially, ascertain the specific tasks that remain within your purview and those entrusted to the provider. The distribution of responsibilities can fluctuate based on the type of cloud service you employ: software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS), or an on-premises data center.
A significant worry for numerous organizations is the absence of observability regarding their cloud infrastructure. The cloud simplifies the process of initiating new workloads on demand. For instance, workloads are generated to cater to short-term projects or surges in demand. When these projects conclude, those resources can quickly fade from memory. Cloud environments are characterized by their dynamism, not their constancy. In the absence of insight into alterations within your ecosystem, your organization might find itself susceptible to potential security vulnerabilities. Ultimately, safeguarding what remains beyond your field of vision becomes a formidable challenge.
Safeguarding your organization necessitates the restriction of exposure and mitigation of risk. Collaborative efforts are essential for prioritizing and resolving vulnerabilities that could potentially disrupt your business. To proficiently oversee your exposure, it is imperative for your IT and security teams to synchronize on the most critical issues. These issues encompass promptly applying security patches for software as soon as they become accessible.
In the event of a security breach, what transpires? Can you spot it? For numerous organizations, this can present a dilemma due to the deficiency of security knowledge available in the job market. On a global scale, over 3.43 million cybersecurity roles remained unfilled in 2022. Your security framework must recognize deviations from the norm, enabling you to respond and mitigate the consequences. Malicious actors employ automated mechanisms for attacks, necessitating continuous vigilance over your surroundings or outsourcing this vigilance to a third party.
Incorporating a response strategy into your cloud security blueprint is imperative. Prudent practice involves assuming that a breach is an eventual likelihood. Consequently, your strategy should encompass a well-defined plan outlining roles and responsibilities, including departmental designations and the names of individuals in those roles, ensuring everyone comprehends their obligations. Periodic testing, assessment, and annual plan revisions are equally essential. These efforts can be enhanced through cyber security services in Chicago.
Presently, the reality dictates that the cloud holds more significance than ever. This underscores the utmost importance of establishing a solid foundation to ensure the triumph of cloud security.
In the 2022 State of Cloud Native Security report published by Palo Alto Networks, a comprehensive survey encompassing approximately 3,500 practitioners worldwide was conducted. The findings revealed that, in 2022, a substantial 58% of an organization’s workloads had already transitioned to the cloud. Anticipating the next two years, it is projected that this percentage will elevate to 76%. Given the persistent economic challenges, our forthcoming 2023 study is expected to witness an even greater adoption rate. Within a fiercely competitive business landscape, the cloud bestows organizations with the capacity for nimbleness and swift responses to competitive pressures.
As organizations expedite their migration to the cloud, it is essential to keep in mind that the cloud diverges from on-premises operations. To facilitate the triumph of cloud security, it becomes evident that there exists a compelling need to wholeheartedly embrace and implement automation as an integral component of an all-encompassing strategy.