Cloud security: Sometimes the risks may outweigh the rewards – Help Net Security

Threat actors are well-aware of the vulnerability of our cloud infrastructure. The internet we have today is not equipped to serve the data needs of the future. When data is stored in the cloud, it can end up across several servers anywhere in the world. If one of these computers is compromised, your data can be stolen or misused.

Therefore, when you create an information system, either on-premises or in the cloud, one of the first things you need to do is identify where your sensitive information is stored. When you store your data in the cloud, securing your information is a shared responsibility between you and your cloud provider.

Since cloud security implies a shared responsibility between the customers and the cloud provider, IT teams and decision-leaders must have a clear understanding of the types of cloud services more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Another security consideration that emerges when businesses are moving their information system to the cloud is identifying the cases where the risks outweigh the rewards.

The cloud gives an opportunity to create large amounts of infrastructure quickly and easily, which leaves it exposed to the possibility of substandard security configurations being applied to it. Because of the ease of use of cloud services, companies might become negligent in terms of their security.

How a cloud infrastructure is configured impacts its cybersecurity risk. This stage of your cloud deployment is where cloud security posture management (CSPM) is needed: this tool looks at the configurations of your cloud estate to spot common mistakes. A product such as CWPP cloud workload protection platform is also recommended so you can look at the internal security aspects of your cloud platform.

Together these tools are often referred to as CNAPP cloud-native application protection platform.

Common security lapses such as security teams leaving remote desktop protocols open to the internet can also cause security issues. For example, the wormable BlueKeep vulnerability affecting Microsoft Windows (CVE-2019-0708) led to the remote execution of random code in remote desktop services, without any user doing anything, which increased the risk of malware propagating itself between vulnerable systems.

Overall, as cloud infrastructures rely more heavily on the internet, they need protection that might differ from your on-prem security requirements.

The UK National Cyber Security Centre set out 14 cloud security principles to help businesses of different sizes balance their needs to configure cloud services securely.

Vendor lock-in can be a common issue for businesses. Cloud vendors will give you all the tools to make your life easier, but getting out of their systems if you decide to stop working with them will be really difficult if you rely too much on their infrastructure.

Beyond the technological risks, another deciding factor is the general trust toward cloud providers and the hyperscalers such as AWS or Google, who can provide public and hybrid cloud services to large enterprise networks.

Flexibility and the ability to configure your set-up to your specific needs could be lost on the cloud. If you are running on-premises, you have more flexibility to reconfigure things. Your commercial relationship with your cloud provider will dictate how flexible you can be with your cloud infrastructure, which can prevent you from fixing unsafe issues as they come. How much control and flexibility you want on your data storage should impact your cloud set-up.

One advantage of cloud services is that they are very easy to deploy, but this can create a multitude of problems for security professionals. So many nodes are open within the cloud infrastructure, which can increase the threat surface. A few strategies can alleviate this risk, such as encryption, security authentication, and access control policy.

Another issue is making sure that customer data is safe within a cloud environment. Storage security in cloud computing involves data isolation and recovery. Storing your customer data in the cloud does not relieve you of all responsibilities: while the cloud provider is responsible for the security of their infrastructure, businesses must be responsible for the monitoring and auditing of the data.

Who controls what and who is responsible for what is often a point of contention. To solve this, organizations need to have clear responsibilities and accountability structures.

Without careful planning, it can be easy to duplicate efforts when it comes to your cloud infrastructure. For instance, I came across a lot of businesses that individually built web application firewalls and next-gen firewall policies for each cloud provider. This aproach risks leaving gaps in the security policy, as different platforms may not offer equal levels of protection.

Cloud computing has often been heralded as a cost-cutting and convenient solution, enabling organizations to store, collect, and retrieve large volumes of data. However, the convenience provided by cloud computing depends on the risk exposure your organization is willing to accept.

Chief among these risks is the reliance on a third-party provider to store business data, which enhances privacy and security concerns.

Understanding your cloud infrastructure and where your data is stored is the first step towards enjoying the myriad benefits of cloud computing while balancing the risks.

When implementing a multi-cloud infrastructure, retaining an element of security and control of all your cloud services will be key to mitigating your risk exposure.

The cloud environment has fewer constraining perimeters, and this has many benefits for organizations, but also increases the complexity of understanding what is covered by your infrastructure. Building a good appreciation of what parts of your organization are exposed to the internet is essential in your efforts to secure your data.

Other cloud security strategies include data security, administration and control, network security, zero trust principles, and compliance all of which should make cloud environments more secure and robust.

By carefully planning and considering your cloud infrastructure as part of your organizations overall security posture, implementing appropriate policies and controls, and working with cloud providers that prioritize security as standard, your business can safely enjoy the benefits of cloud computing.

From the customers perspective, regardless of the cloud model that you are using, you are never without some responsibility for securing your data. Being aware of the varying level of vulnerability is essential in balancing the convenience of the cloud with your cybersecurity defenses.

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Cloud security: Sometimes the risks may outweigh the rewards - Help Net Security

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