What You Need to Know About Public Cloud Security

Posted on May 4, 2021 Cloud

Organizations plan on increasing their cloud spend by 46% this year. Some businesses need extra capacity for cloud-based applications. The demand is increasing as online usage grows.

Organizations are using an average of 2.2 public and 2.2 private clouds. Almost 90% of businesses said they’re incorporating multiple public clouds. In fact, many companies run over 50% of their workloads in a public cloud.

They expect that number to increase to 60% within 12 months!

Is your public cloud secure? Without public cloud security, you could leave your customers—and business—at risk.

If you’re worried about your company’s public cloud safety, you’re in the right place. Here’s everything you need to consider about public cloud data security. We’ve also included a few public cloud risks you need to remain aware of.

With this guide, you can develop a strong cloud strategy for your business.

Get started with this helpful guide today!

Top Cloud Security Challenges

About 81% of businesses using cloud platforms say security is their main concern. You’ll need to consider:

  • Leaking sensitive customer/personal data
  • Unauthorized access
  • Infiltration into sensitive network areas
  • Data corruption

Public clouds don’t have clear perimeters. As a result, it’s sometimes challenging to develop a public cloud data security strategy.

In fact, public cloud security is a shared responsibility between the consumer and cloud provider. The provider safeguards the infrastructure. They also need to patch and configure the physical network.

The consumer manages users and their access privileges. You’re responsible for safeguarding their accounts from unauthorized access. You need to consider encryption, protection, and compliance as well.

You can work with your cloud provider to avoid potential risks.

Here are a few other cloud security challenges that might affect your business.

1. Changing Workloads

One of the benefits of moving to the cloud is scalability. You can adjust how much bandwidth and space you want to buy. This often allows companies to avoid unnecessary costs.

As a result, cloud assets are over decommissioned and provisioned. Unfortunately, a dynamic and flexible environment can make security more difficult. As workloads change, your security protocols will need to change with it.

Otherwise, traditional security tools will struggle to enforce your protection policies. 

2. More Areas to Attack

The public cloud environment is continuing to grow as more businesses switch to remote working. Unfortunately, such a large environment is attractive to hackers. They have more attack surface to work with. 

Hackers will look for insecure cloud ingress ports. Gaining access will allow them to manipulate your data. You could leave your customers’ private information at risk as a result. 

3. Lack of Visibility

With an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) model, cloud providers maintain control. They manage the entire infrastructure layer. Meanwhile, they don’t leave this information accessible to customers.

Unfortunately, the lack of visibility can make security more difficult for cloud customers. You might find it’s more difficult to identify your cloud assets. You might struggle to visualize your entire cloud environment as well.

Instead, you need a cloud provider that can work with you to improve your public cloud security. 

4. Granular Privilege

Some cloud user roles are configured loosely. You might have privileges you don’t need.

For example, a user might have the ability to delete or write databases. An untrained user could make a costly mistake with your assets as a result.

It’s important to configure roles properly to avoid security risks.

5. Automation

More companies are embracing automation tools to boost their efficiency and productivity. Unfortunately, some tools lack the necessary security controls. You’ll need to identify and configure these controls as soon as possible.

Making security-related changes too late can impact your efficiency. It can also undermine your security protocols. 

6. Complex Environments

Cloud environments are becoming more complex. In order to mitigate public cloud risks, you’ll need the proper tools and methods. Otherwise, you could leave your data exposed to hackers.

7. Compliance

Many leading cloud providers are aligned with well-known accreditation programs. Customers are responsible for keeping their data processes and workloads compliant, though.

It can become difficult to complete a compliant audit process without full visibility. The dynamic structure of a cloud environment can make auditing difficult, too. You’ll need to complete continuous compliant checks to avoid legal issues in the future.

Improving Your Public Cloud Security

Now that you understand a little more about potential public cloud risks, let’s discuss security. 

The public cloud market generated $130 billion in 2017. By 2022, revenue could grow up to $331 billion. Small and medium businesses find the public cloud 40% more cost-effective than in-house systems. 

As more businesses move toward the public cloud, it’s important to develop public cloud security protocols. Otherwise, you could leave your business vulnerable. If you become the victim of an attack, consumers will take notice.

They might struggle to trust your business in the future.

Here are a few public cloud security tips you might want to consider. 

1. Zero Trust

Zero Trust indicates you shouldn’t automatically trust anything within or outside of your network. Instead, you should verify everything.

For example, you can use a privilege governance strategy. You’ll ensure users only gain access to the resources they need to complete their work.

Developers can also ensure all web-facing applications are secured. Failing to block ports consistently could give hackers an opportunity. They can take over the application and adjust the privileges.

With a Zero Trust mentality, you can use micro-segmentation to improve your cloud security. You’ll create secure zones within your cloud deployments. This process segments workloads to ensure better security. 

Isolate sections of your provider’s cloud network for business-critical resources. Then, use subnets to further micro-segment your workloads. Create granular security policies for subnet gateways, too. 

Create customized access to virtual devices and networks as well.

2. Policy-Based IAM

Work with your team to develop an identity and access management (IAM) strategy. An IAM strategy will allow you to grant minimal access privileges to different assets. You’ll ensure team members only have access to the assets they need to complete their work tasks.

As privileges increase and become more extensive, you can increase the levels of authentication.

You’ll also need to consider permission time-outs. Enforce strong password policies throughout your team, too. 

Policy-based IAM across complex infrastructures can help you mitigate public cloud risks. 

3. Server Protection Policies

You can create virtual server protection policies and processes. Work with your cloud provider. Ask if they provide cloud security posture management.

You can apply government and compliance templates and rules to your virtual servers. You can also audit your servers for configuration deviations.

4. Web Application Firewalls

Have you safeguarded your cloud-native distributed apps? Consider using a next-generation web application firewall. The firewall will inspect and control incoming and outgoing traffic. 

It can also update rules as your traffic behavior changes.

Take the time to consider your attackers. Attackers use automation to find potential targets. Then, they look for weaknesses.

Your public cloud could leave you exposed. Understanding how attackers work can help you find opportunities for more enhanced protection.

5. Enhanced Protection

First, make sure to track your public cloud usage. Ask your cloud provider if they offer network visibility tools. Learn as much as you can about your network application traffic.

Then, you can make more informed decisions when improving your public cloud security. 

Consider enforcing two-factor authentication. You can cut the risk that attackers are using a team member’s stolen credentials.

You should also configure your environment with security best practices in mind. For example, disable any public-facing application programming interfaces you aren’t in use. This will help you avoid unwanted exposure.

Improve your public cloud safety with enhanced data protection. Use encryption across every transport layer. Make sure to secure your file shares and communications, too.

Work with your team for continuous compliance risk management. Establish a process for good data storage hygiene, too. For example, remove orphan resources as needed.

6. Threat Intelligence

Many third-party cloud security vendors cross-reference aggregated log data with internal data. You can work with your cloud vendor to use the tools you need for enhanced security.

For example, you can use tools that will help you visualize your threat landscape. You can also improve incident response times to reduce downtime.

Consider an AI-based anomaly detection algorithm. The algorithm will detect unknown threats for you. Then, you can use a forensics analysis to determine the risk.

You’ll receive real-time alerts when there’s a policy violation or intrusion. Getting these alerts in real-time can reduce your response time. You can even trigger auto-remediation workflows to further improve your security.

You can use automation to avoid bottlenecks as well. 

Public Cloud Security: Your Guide to Mitigating Risks in 2021

Don’t wait to make changes to your public cloud security protocols. Instead, speak with your cloud provider. They can work with you to improve your cloud security.

With their help, you can access your data without risking your business.

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