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6 Imperatives to Securing Your Cloud Infrastructure

Cloud ComputingCompany executives across industries are increasingly shifting to the cloud to take advantage of greater scalability and agility, faster deployment and cost savings. The growth of cloud computing continues to accelerate offering more solutions with added features and benefits, including security.

The cloud is an amazing platform that delivers huge advantages, but it also brings challenges. The first challenge that usually surfaces relates to how a cloud platform would impact data privacy and compliance. This is not to be underestimated.

In the age of information digitalization and innovation, some leaders are hesitant to join the growing trend of cloud computing, questioning the implications of storing and sharing critical information online. Enterprises must ensure that their technology solutions can meet both baseline capabilities and security requirements.

Hence, security is at the top of everyone’s list of concerns when it comes to the cloud. However, the truth of the matter, is that more and more enterprises are not only moving to the cloud for the robust functionality, but they are moving to maximize and leverage the robust security capabilities.

How to Protect Your Cloud Infrastructure

  1. Assess Your Cloud Security Strategy – Dialing in the right combination of people, processes and technologies to reach secure cloud state must start with a complete cloud strategy. Businesses that don’t have one, may find themselves haphazardly trying to keep up with rapidly evolving security and compliance requirements of the public, hybrid or multi-cloud worlds. Holistic security that spans from the data center, cloud, and to the edge is important to securely adopting cloud.
    • People— Who do we have in-house that can support current and future environments?
    • Processes
      1. What security is provided by the cloud provider and what are the enterprise’s responsibilities?
      2. Are our security and compliance processes efficient and effective?
    • Technologies – What existing technologies should be considered and combined for optimal interoperability?
  2. Establish and Maintain Security Policies – establish security guidelines and policies and promote and enforce adherence to promote security assurance within cloud computing.
  3. Encrypt, Encrypt, Encrypt – deploy sophisticated encryption solutions to encrypt data before uploading to the cloud. Comprehensive encryption at the file level is the backbone of your cloud security strategy.
  4. Secure End User Devices – it is imperative to secure end-user devices that access cloud-based resources with advanced endpoint security. Deploy firewall solutions to protect your network perimeter and multi-authentication.
  5. Test Your Security – Testing might sound like a minor task, but make a significant difference. Testing may include examining your cloud to determine how well it is performing with your security setup. Keeping your data safe requires constant action.
  6. Leverage Managed Security Services Providers (MSSPs) – Today many managed services solutions have more security and compliance controls built in than on premise solutions. These controls can help enterprises with the responsibility of meeting privacy, compliance and security standards

Managed Security Services: A Viable Solution

Most organizations are primarily focused on keeping their systems operating at optimum performance, which consumes most of their IT department’s resources. Not only do they lack the technology and security expertise to develop and maintain an effective security stance, they lack the budget and the time required to remain up-to-date on the numerous threats facing their organization.

With growing threats, tight budgets, increased regulatory pressure, a large security skills gap, and the need for premium security expertise, many organizations are turning to managed security services to bridge the gap, augment IT teams, and provide around-the-clock security system monitoring and management. The idea being that you have a partner who focuses on the security, governance, and compliance. This holds true, and becomes even more important when combining true private cloud and public cloud environments.

Leveraging a service provider can be a force multiplier for a CIO and/or CSO. Large projects such as rolling out endpoint management to thousands of devices can become much easier to absorb. CIOs and their teams can focus on the business and functional requirements. CSOs can define their requirements around encryption and endpoint security. The service provider can then, proverbially “take the hill” and do the heavy lifting. The expectation for a mature service provider would also be that they are constantly evolving and delivering new solutions to their clients.

The keys to successfully selecting and integrating with an MSSP is to start with understanding the needs of your security program and breaking down the requirements into a matrix. The matrix should consist of current and future security technologies or services required, which of those items will be serviced in-house short term and long term, and an assessment of how well the current items are serviced as a metric to judge performance. For more information on MSSP Models, view our Managed Services Security Services Models: How They Work whitepaper.

Bottom Line: These imperatives are not all-inconclusive, but if you can implement the guidelines as part of your cloud security strategy, you are well on your way to securing your data in the cloud.

 

John Brady is the CISO at Secure-24.