10 proven ways to improve cloud security

Security has always been one of the major hindrances to cloud adoption. The new operating model introduces previously unknown risks into infrastructure planning. But with digital transformation projects gathering pace, the cloud is now an essential aspect of agile operations.

So how can your business minimise cloud security risks effectively? Here are ten key considerations:

1. Security by default

Security controls should be enabled by default by cloud providers – preferably with a zero-trust approach. This will prevent your applications from being left unconfigured (and unprotected) during deployment and operations.

2. Shared responsibility operations

Your cloud provider should deliver platform-level security services as an integral part of their offering. You also need to understand the division of responsibility from the outset to prevent gaps in your defences.

3. Defence-in-depth

Modern cyberattacks work on multiple levels – so you need defences that operate across every layer of your technology stack. From physical hardware to incoming API calls at the software level, every layer must be monitored and secured.

4. Continuous compliance

Although not strictly a security requirement, regulatory compliance is essential. Your cloud provider should offer management tools that allow you to monitor and enforce operational compliance across your entire IT estate (on-premise and in the cloud).

5. Use ML to identify unknown security risks

Staying ahead of cybercriminals means being able to identify and block previously unknown attacks in advance. Machine learning (ML) tools can monitor your cloud activity to identify, and report suspicious activity long before your cybersecurity tools catch up.

6. Automated responses

Identifying threats with ML is just the first step – you then need to coordinate and orchestrate your response as quickly as possible. Your cloud provider should offer advanced tools that automate and accelerate your response to further narrow the window of opportunity for cybercriminals.

7. Identity management tools

To operate effective zero-trust security means having the right tools to manage identity, particularly as the traditional network edge is eroded by ‘work anywhere’ cloud operations. You need tools which control access and privileges for devices, apps and users across your entire IT estate.

8. Separation of duties and access

Preventing individuals from having excessive admin rights is crucial to limiting potential damage in the event of credential compromise. Separating duties and access also ensures that data is properly protected against improper access by ensuring individuals cannot access sensitive information without additional authorisation.

9. End-to-end visibility

Now that hybrid cloud operations are the norm, you need tools that extend visibility and control across the whole IT environment. Cloud access security broker (CASB) and cloud security posture management (CSPM) tools provide those tools, ensuring complete oversight of your platform as a whole.

10. Scalability

Much of the power of the cloud lies in its infinite scalability. But you must ensure that your security defences and tools can scale effectively in line with your operations.

Ask the tough questions

Unless a cloud provider can meet all ten of these requirements, they will never be able to properly reduce your security risk profile. Do not be afraid to ask the tough questions of a potential provider – or to walk away if they are unable to fully address your needs.

If you’d like to learn more about how to properly secure your cloud infrastructure, please give us a call .

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