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Cloud computing
security: Taking
care of your
business

Author: Phil Muncaster


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Today's modern technologies call for a modern approach to cybersecurity.

You can't embrace the future if your approach to cybersecurity is in the past. Now’s the time to evolve your security approach to reflect the more connected, multicloud, mobile-first reality of your business today.

Cloud computing is the engine of modern business. During the pandemic, it's helped organizations to transition to and sustain mass remote working, optimize IT and enhance resilience. But with this digital transformation comes new cybersecurity threats.

Comprehensive cloud computing security is essential to mitigate the financial and reputational risks of cyberattacks. It should be multilayered and based on a strong and clear understanding of your responsibilities as a customer of a cloud services provider.

Cloud computing security basics

What is cloud security?

Cloud security comprises the policies, practices, models and controls designed to protect resources in the cloud, including the infrastructure, applications and data.

Steps to securing your cloud-computing security environment

The most important first step to securing your cloud-computing security environment is understanding the shared security responsibility model, according to a Cloud Security Alliance article.

This model outlines which part of the environment the cloud provider will secure, which typically includes the virtualization layer, physical hosts, network and data center, for example; which areas are your responsibility, such as your data, application logic and source code, identity and access, and platform and resource configuration; and it should delineate among certain gray areas, which can include the identity and directory infrastructure, applications, network controls, and operating system, among other factors. As a reminder, no matter whether you're running on-demand software (software as a service, or SaaS), cloud platforms (platform as a service, or PaaS) or cloud infrastructure (infrastructure as a service, IaaS), your data is always yours to secure.

What do attacks look like?

As breaches increasingly target social and web applications, external cloud assets were compromised more often than internal cloud assets, according to Verizon's 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report. (An example: gathering credentials and using them against cloud-based email systems.)

The main risks to your data and cloud systems could include:

  • Information theft, including customer data and highly sensitive intellectual property.
  • Ransomware, which could hobble your organization by locking you out of your cloud accounts.
  • Cryptocurrency mining, or malware that secretly mines for digital currency, running up large power bills and degrading equipment.
  • Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, which could take down your cloud-hosted applications and disrupt the customer experience.

How to hit back

Preventing attacks on your cloud infrastructure and applications can pose a significant challenge. Many organizations are investing in hybrid clouds from multiple providers, which can create extra complexity and security challenges.

However, a good place to start with cloud computing security is by gaining visibility into all of your cloud assets and data and understanding which are potentially exposed. Next, develop and apply policies to protect those assets. Consider the following:

  • Multifactor authentication to enhance the security of accounts, even if passwords get breached.
  • Strong data encryption using your own keys, rather than the cloud provider's, to minimize risk exposure.
  • DDoS protection from a reputable provider. There are many services available on the market today.
  • Cloud security posture management to monitor your environment for configuration errors and noncompliance.
  • Network-based inspection tools to monitor cloud-based traffic for signs of malicious activity.
  • Patch management tools to automate and prioritize the patching of cloud assets as soon as official updates become available.
  • Anti-malware tools to apply at the operating system and virtual network layer.

Discover how Verizon can help your organization anticipate and protect against these challenges with incident response planning.


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