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What are the Best Security Practices for Cloud Platforms?

Everyone who has made a significant contribution to the field of innovation has been said to have had "their head in the clouds" at some point. After this, it's all up to you. Even though cloud computing is one of the most significant developments in modern computing since the Internet, it also comes with a set of responsibilities that should not be overlooked. Managing security is one of the most important responsibilities of an administrator. The security of all infrastructure, including clouds, can be thought of as Infrastructure Elsewhere.

It is imperative that organisations develop comprehensive, proactive security strategies that build security in from Day 1 and evolve as their infrastructures scale in order to keep their systems and data secure. This is because there are more companies than ever before utilising cloud services such as AWS, Azure, GCP, etc., and because cloud environments are becoming more and more complex.

If cloud security falls on your shoulders, don't freak out. When you have the right strategy and the right tools, you'll be able to complete the task in no time at all. The first thing you should do is learn as much as possible about the business. Your knowledge of the front desk staff may seem to be adequate, but you need to know more than that to be a truly effective security officer.

Know Your Business

Whether you're selling widgets or services, knowing your business inside and out is essential when it comes to cybersecurity. As you gain a better understanding of how your business functions, you can not only develop a rock-solid security plan but also potentially improve innovation. The first step is to figure out what you want to protect.

Knowing Your SLA Agreements with Service Providers

Your cloud service provider's performance and reliability expectations are outlined in a service level agreement, or SLA. Although it's not technically a part of cloud security, performance is a part of your applications' and data's overall availability. A service level agreement (SLA) is most likely in place between your IT department and the departments it supports. Depending on the cloud service providers, these SLA agreements can give you an idea of what they promise to deliver. For example, if the cloud service provider promises 99.5 percent uptime, you can't guarantee 99.99 percent uptime. In some cases, SLA contracts may include language referring to the level of security provided by the agreement in question.

Some of the most reputable cloud providers have made their service level agreements (SLAs) available through the following list of links. You can get a sense of what's available and what to expect from your cloud service provider by looking at this list, even though it's not comprehensive.

Cloud is always more secure than on-premises capabilities - Misconception

It was once thought that cloud computing was less secure than on-premises computing. However, there have been very few security breaches in the public cloud, and the majority of breaches continue to be caused by misconfigurations in cloud service providers. Security is now a major concern for cloud service providers because they know that their business would suffer if they did not.

But this does not mean cloud security is assured. When it comes to cloud security, the responsibility is on both the provider and the customer. However, CIOs should not assume that cloud service providers are secure. Consider your current capabilities and those of your potential provider and hold them to comparable standards. This is because cloud providers' levels of security vary.

We must use and implement cloud service provider security services in order to protect your data in the cloud. Your services can be protected by following these best practises for security. Perform a Cloud Security Configuration Review after implementing the necessary fix to ensure that all of your checks have been completed. A strong security posture can be achieved with the help of this information.

Security Best Practices 101

Understand Your shared responsibility model

In a private data centre, the company is solely responsible for all security-related issues. It's a lot more complicated in the public cloud, however. Ultimately, cloud customers are in charge of their own IT security, but the cloud provider is also in charge of certain aspects of security. Cloud and security researchers refer to this as a "shared responsibility paradigm."

Inquire about your cloud provider's security in depth.

Public cloud vendors should be asked about their security procedures and processes, as well as outlining shared responsibilities, by companies. Vendor-to-vendor security may seem like a given, but approaches and procedures may vary greatly between vendors.

A wide range of questions should be asked to determine how a cloud provider stacks up, including:

  • What is the location of the provider's servers?
  • Suggested security incidents: what steps will the provider take to address them?
  • What is the provider's disaster recovery plan?
  • Are there any safeguards put in place by the supplier to protect the various access components?
  • How much assistance is the company willing to provide in terms of technical assistance?
  • Are the results of the provider's most recent penetration tests public?
  • Does the service provider encrypt data while it is in transit and when it is stored?
  • Who has access to the cloud-stored data in the provider's organisation?
  • Does the service provider accept any of the following methods of authentication?
  • Is the service provider able to meet the provider's compliance requirements?

Employee Awareness

Firms should train all employees on how to identify and respond to cybersecurity threats in order to prevent hackers from gaining access to cloud computing technologies. It's important to teach employees how to protect themselves from basic security threats, such as how to create a strong password and how to recognise social engineering attacks.

Identity and access management solution deployment

Fourth on the list of public cloud security concerns, according to Cloud Passage, is unauthorised access. A high-quality identity and access management (IAM) system can help limit these threats even as hacker tactics become more complex with each new attack.

An IAM system that allows organisations to set and enforce least privilege access controls is recommended by experts. Permission capabilities based on roles should also be used to guide the creation of these policies.

Create and implement cloud security policies.

There should be policies in place at every company regulating who may use cloud services, how they can use them, and what data they can store there. They must also outline the security measures that must be implemented by employees to safeguard cloud-based data and applications.

To ensure that all practices are implemented, security professionals should use automated systems. In some cases, the policy enforcement capabilities provided by the cloud vendor may be sufficient for the needs of the company. A third-party solution, such as CASB, may be required in some situations to ensure that policies are adhered to.

Endpoint Security

The need for effective endpoint security is not lessened by using a cloud service; on the contrary, it is increased. New cloud computing projects offer a chance to examine past techniques and ensure that the safeguards in place are appropriate to deal with new hazards to cloud computing infrastructures.

Anti-malware, intrusion detection, and access control have always been the cornerstones of endpoint protection. However, the spectrum of endpoint security vulnerabilities has grown so complex that automated tools are required to keep up. Tools and platforms for endpoint detection and response (EDR) as well as endpoint protection (EPP) may be of assistance in this scenario.\

IDPS Implementation

One of the most effective cloud security techniques is an intrusion prevention and detection system (IDPS). In both on-premises and public cloud contexts, they keep a closer eye on, analyse, and respond to network traffic. Detection, alerting, and blocking are all features of IDPS systems that protect against threats that are based on signatures, protocols, or anomalies.

These tools are necessary for continuous monitoring and alerting in real time. Examining network data in search of possible signs of a sophisticated attack would be difficult without IDPS.

Encrypt data in transit and at rest

Any cloud security strategy must include encryption. It's important for organizations to protect their data not only when it's on a public cloud storage service, but also when it's in transit. This is when data is most exposed to a cyberattack.

There are a number of cloud computing providers that offer encryption and key management services. Encryption services are available from a variety of sources, including both traditional and third-party cloud services. Finding an encryption software that can be readily integrated into existing workflows is recommended by experts, eliminating the need for end-user compliance with enterprise encryption policies.

Double-check your compliance requirements

Retail, healthcare, and financial organizations that gather personal information (PII) are subject to tight regulations regarding client privacy and data security. Local and state governments may also have unique restrictions for some enterprises, such as those that store data in specified regions.

Cloud computing services should be launched only after a thorough assessment of a company's specific compliance and data security needs.

Think about a CASB or cloud security solution

There are a number of companies out there offering products and services geared on enhancing cloud security. A company's security team may need to seek outside help if they lack cloud experience or if their current security solutions don't support cloud settings.

In order to enforce cloud security requirements, cloud access security brokers (CASBs) use technologies that are specifically built for this purpose. As more firms begin to adopt cloud services, they have become more popular. CASB solutions, according to industry experts, may be the best choice for businesses that use a wide variety of cloud computing services from a variety of vendors. These solutions can also keep an eye out for programmes that are not authorised to run on your computer.

Best CASB Solution vendors of 2022

  • Microsoft
  • Forcepoint
  • Palo Alto Networks
  • McAfee
  • Broadcom

Audits and penetration testing should be performed

In order to determine whether current cloud security measures are appropriate to secure data and apps, experts recommend that all firms undergo penetration testing, regardless of whether they choose to partner with an outside security firm or keep security teams in-house.

As a result, companies should undertake regular security audits that examine the capabilities of all security providers. Security terms agreed upon should be confirmed by this action. The auditing of access logs is also advised in order to guarantee that only appropriate and authorised persons have access to sensitive data and applications in the cloud.

Cloud security involves the use of the proper tools

Experts say that corporations should not be deterred from embracing public cloud services because of concerns about security. Cloud-based workloads often provide less security concerns for businesses than do traditional data centre workloads.

Cloud security is a lot more secure if the right technologies are in place, according to our list of best practises. Adopting cloud security best practises and employing the correct security technology can help businesses avoid dangers and get the full benefits of cloud computing.

              In order to implement better security to your environment, organisation must perform vulnerability analysis, penetration testing and configuration review once in every quarter.  I have listed some of the best open source tools for cloud security assessment.

Huge Tool collection: https://github.com/4ndersonLin/awesome-cloud-security

Above link has the best collection of security testing tool for multi cloud platforms.

Summarizing the above , there is no single cloud security strategy that can secure your entire cloud environment from all threats. What works for one company may not work for another, depending on a variety of factors, such as how much sensitive data is being stored in the cloud and the sort of cloud service used.

First and foremost, we must identify important data and risk profiles in order to properly implement cloud security best practises. Next, we must protect your infrastructure and lastly, implement reaction strategies in the event of an attack.