researchHQ’s Key Takeaways:
- The growing adoption of hybrid and multi-cloud environments demands new defence tactics from security teams.
- A lack of visibility and control over these rapidly evolving cloud environments makes them difficult for security teams to manage.
- Cloud security teams should implement best practices such as avoiding misconfigurations, encryption, identity and access management (IAM), and continuous monitoring.
During the second quarter of 2020 — for the first time in history — customers worldwide spent more on public cloud systems than on investments in non-cloud IT systems. With more cloud spending than ever before, the battle for market share among the leading public cloud providers (PCPs) heated up. The same tactics major providers rely on to encourage cloud customer loyalty tend to amplify the cloud security challenges these customers face.
Furthermore, many customers want to avoid locking in to a single vendor. This way, they can maximize the well-known perks of moving computing out of their private data centers in the first place. It comes as no surprise that only a small fraction of today’s cloud environments are built within a single public cloud provider’s domain. Instead, 93% are multicloud landscapes, and most rely on hybrid strategies that mix public and private cloud elements as well as on-premise components.
What are the Major Cloud Security Challenges?
This means today’s defense teams are tasked with creating new tactics for tomorrow’s hybrid and multicloud world.
Cloud security challenges can come with both multi-vendor and hybrid cloud strategies. Cloud deployments make IT vastly more complex even as they reduce the demands of physical management. This is taxing for security teams, who frequently struggle to maintain insight in multicloud landscapes. The drive to avoid vendor lock-in can result in an avalanche of readings from various providers’ platforms and software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps. These can be stored in disparate, poorly-integrated data silos, which makes it very difficult to create efficient and effective monitoring and incident response workflows.
Other cloud security challenges come from the way more complex data leads to lack of control. When enterprises use architecture and service delivery models from multiple cloud providers, it becomes more difficult to exercise the granular control needed to ensure data protection standards are met across the board.
The rapid pace of change that has become par for the course on a public cloud only adds to the problem. PCPs constantly shift their offerings, often in an effort to make it harder for customers to move workloads to competing providers’ platforms. Because of this, staying up-to-date on potential problems becomes harder and harder.
No cloud landscape can ever be truly secure if the team tasked with watching for threats, detecting strange events and risks and coordinating workflows can’t keep up. What might seem to be cost-saving measures might not be if they make working so confusing that it leads to errors or mistaken exposure of cloud resources.
Security Best Practices for Securing a Cloud Environment
1. Watch for Misconfiguration
Guard against misconfiguration, which is still at fault in most cloud data breaches.
More than one-fifth of data breaches reported in 2019 resulted from misconfigurations, and in all cases, they came from human error.
“Just don’t make mistakes” is easier said than done, however.
The majority of teams involved didn’t realize they were responsible for fixing the specific problem that was to blame. In other cases, they lacked the tools to audit the configuration.
It’s essential to invest in support and training for IT operations personnel, as well as to ensure that defense teams have adequate knowledge of the cloud. Using cloud-native tools that monitor for common misconfigurations, including storage bucket risks, can also be helpful.
2. Encryption by Default
Leverage encryption for cloud data at rest by default.