No one is surprised by the large, steel doors surrounding banks safeguarding large sums of money. This additional layer of security is expected because of the contents of the bank, yet, many organizations do not implement the same level of defense for their cloud-based data centers that contain valuable data resources. Organizations are not taking a proactive approach to cloud security and are an attractive target for malicious hackers.
With the now generally available CloudHealth CIS AWS Foundations and AWS Best Practice Security Policies you can boost your cloud security through proactive monitoring for vulnerabilities alerting you when action needs to be taken.
Perhaps you’ve spent the last few years investigating, planning, and deploying cloud computing and virtualization environments for your organization. You’ve simplified your physical IT infrastructure and cut overhead costs. You are viewed by management, investors, and the company as a high performer. Then, one day, your cloud environment is hacked, and you are now looked at as another IT professional who failed to take cloud security seriously. Game over.
The cloud offers many benefits in terms of flexibility, scalability, and agility, but a cloud environment may create significant risks that were not present in the on-premises deployment of applications and systems. Security must be a priority for every cloud-ready organization for three reasons:
1. It helps prevent costly and damaging data breaches
In the past several years there have been multiple data breaches which have damaged the reputations of several businesses, and cost them a significant amount of money. According to CSO Online, “Nearly 5 million data records are lost or stolen worldwide every single day, according to the Breach Level Index. That’s a staggering 58 records every second. High-profile data breaches hit the headlines with worrying frequency. Just last year there were notable incidents at Equifax, Verizon, and Kmart, to name just the three biggest.”
2. Your cloud provider only manages part of your security
Leading cloud service providers have done thorough jobs ensuring security is a part of the solutions they offer, but it’s a common misconception that they are solely responsible for keeping your data secure. Ultimately, you have a shared responsibility for everything operating in their cloud. For example, under the AWS Shared Responsibility Model, AWS provides a global secure infrastructure for powering all of their services, hardware, software, and facilities. AWS customers are responsible for security configuration and management tasks for all of the services they are using in the cloud.
3. Compliance standards are static
Being compliant isn’t enough. While it’s important, it’s only one component of cloud security. Compliance standards are static and don’t evolve as rapidly as cyber threats. In fact, master hackers are especially attracted to static targets. In addition to meeting compliance standards, implementing active security best practice policies for your cloud environment is critical to fortifying the comprehensive layers of protection. The 2013 Target breach is a clear example of this trap as they were declared PCI-compliant just two months prior to the breach.
Validate Your Cloud Security
Given the dynamic nature of the cloud, security best practices are constantly evolving. Your organization’s security practices should be complemented by cloud service provider recommendations, regulatory compliance requirements, and practices defined by cloud trade associations, such as the Cloud Security Alliance.
For organizations who don’t want to make this trek alone, there are cloud management solutions that can provide insight into your infrastructure and help you execute on your corporate security plan. The CloudHealth CIS AWS Foundations and AWS Best Practice Security Policies are now generally available to help you validate your AWS cloud security posture with proactive monitoring for vulnerabilities and alerts for when you need to take action. With CloudHealth you can rank security alerts according to severity, and gain deeper insight into the state of the violation, including affected resources and policy rule documentation.
Cloud computing poses security risks that differ from the ones your team has fought for decades. Still, the benefits of cloud computing outweigh the risks so that with simple, proactive moves to ensure security practices are tight—you and your team will be the heroes of your organization.