Security Integration in Cloud Computing – How to Do It & Why It Matters
Author: Haziqa Sajid
Cloud computing has significantly revamped the entire IT landscape by offering unparalleled accessibility, flexibility, and a cost-efficient approach to storing, accessing, and processing data. But some concerning security challenges come along with these significant features and utilities. According to the IBM 2022 Cost of Data Breach Report, around 45% of data breaches and intrusions target cloud-native infrastructures that cost around USD 4.35 million. Therefore, organizations must ensure state-of-the-art security integration in cloud computing to protect against evolving cyber threats.
This blog will discuss the importance of security integration in cloud computing and how to integrate security in cloud infrastructure. Let’s discuss all aspects of cloud security in detail.
Why Is Cloud Security Important?
Cloud security involves a suite of security measures and tools that safeguard cloud-native frameworks, applications, and data. It offers network authentication, enforces access control and data privacy, and ensures compliance with industry standards. Cloud security protects an organization’s data and resources from cyber threats, including DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks, malware, crackers, and unauthorized access.
The number of attacks on cloud-native infrastructures per organization increased by 48% in 2022 compared to 2021, indicating an increase in threat actors’ inclination toward scanning cloud providers’ IP range to access critical organizational assets and information. That’s why it is vital to ensure modern security practices in cloud computing to ensure infrastructure and data security.
As cyber threats are increasingly becoming more sophisticated, a robust cloud structure with well-established security measures is necessary to prevent cyber activities that eventually put the organization’s assets and critical data at stake. This is where security integration in cloud computing becomes instrumental.
It includes initiatives like access control & authorization, data encryption, threat detection and prevention, enterprise-grade firewalls, and contentious monitoring of digital activities.
Cloud Computing Security Threats
To implement the perfect mix of security to safeguard cloud resources, understanding security challenges first is essential. Some top security threats and challenges cloud service providers and client organizations face include:
1. Data Breaches
Data breaches often happen due to weak passwords and compromise access points left vulnerable by users to phishing attacks by hackers. Account hijacking allows hackers to take over credentials to access sensitive information. Account hijackers are more notorious in the financial sector; fraudulent actors gain access to critical financial data. Data breaches damage the company’s reputation and even push organizations to face legal actions from clients.
2. Insider Threats
Malicious Insiders are usually current or former employees who have a company’s sensitive information. Detecting a malicious insider is even more challenging in the cloud-native network. Organizations entirely neglect the aspect of security by completely relying on their cloud service provider, making it more complex to detect insider threats. The public cloud infrastructures that require critical scrutiny are more vulnerable to such threats making it obligatory for organizations to detect and eliminate malicious insiders.
Cloud-based infrastructures are the primary target of cyber criminals due to their direct accessibility from the public network and sensitive information storage. Below are the most common types of cybercrimes in 2023.
Phishing Scams – Phishing scams involve sending fraudulent links via emails to cloud users to persuade them to provide sensitive information. Some phishing links even lead to malware downloading into the system without the user being aware.
Website Spoofing – Website spoofing replicates an authentic website of any renowned brand or service. Users enter their sensitive email and password without knowing they face the spoofed website.
Ransomware – In Ransomware targeting, criminal actors take monetary benefits from the target by threatening to make their information public.
Malware – Malware is intended to destroy and disrupt the infrastructure or system by inserting malicious programs.
IOT Hijacking – IOT hijacking targets devices connected to the cloud via APIs to access the central system.
4. Insecure APIs
Your organization’s sensitive information and resources are open to theft if you rely on cloud services with unsecured and poorly configured APIs. If the APIs are inadequately secured, hackers can use techniques like brute force attacks, DDoS (Distributive Denial of Service) attacks, or MITM (Man in the Middle) by intruding and choking the system.
How Security Gets Integrated into Cloud Computing?
These are proven best practices for security integration in cloud computing and ensure a secure cloud experience for organizations in 2023:
- Authentication and Identity Management
- Encryption and firewalls
- Due diligence
- Zero-trust Security Model
1. Authentication and Identity Management
A solid password strategy is the first step in managing unauthorized access. Two-factor authentication (2FA) offers an additional security layer by binding employees to set a primary and secondary password for verification before each access attempt. Regular audit of authorized access to cloud resources is another necessary initiative to ensure strict security. It includes updating or deleting user accounts, making changes to access permissions, and making it compulsory for employees to set 2FA. Another best practice is to make it obligatory for users to change passwords periodically. It significantly reduces the risk of password reuse.
2. Encryption & Firewalls
All industry compliances and regulations make it mandatory for cloud services to ensure encryption at each exchange layer between the client and the cloud. Modern encryption methodologies integrated into cloud services can secure your organization’s assets and data from intruders. Cloud providers have access to the encryption keys. Another security measure is setting up your own encryption keys to ensure added encryption security.
Updating network access policies is another way of scrutinizing access control for your cloud infrastructure. It involves enforcing a secure server gateway or firewall that terminates or blocks access and issues an alert notification based on risk profiling of the cloud framework. Enterprise-grade risk profiling is achieved by integrating a cloud risk database with a firewall solution.
3. Due Diligence
Due diligence is a comprehensive, strategic, and critical investigation of cloud service providers before getting on board. It involves evaluating all their features and USPs (Unique Selling Points), specifically the state of cloud security they offer. The aim is to make an informed decision before choosing a cloud vendor. Moreover, its legal and regulatory compliance is essential to ensure. Discussing the options with your in-house IT teams is also important, as it helps you make the right choice.
4. Zero-Trust Model
Adopting the Zero Trust security model involves rejecting the idea that elements within a company’s network are trustworthy. This security framework includes robust authentication, authorization, and encryption for each access request before permitting transition. The Zero Trust policy enforces micro-segmentation to limit unnecessary exposure and grants only the least privileged access. Micro-segmentation is the logical division of data into distinct security silos to limit the spread of potential breaches or intrusions.
Cloud Security – Implications for the Future
Organizations are increasingly adopting cloud computing to store, access, and analyze their data. With every piece of information in the cloud, a constant threat of cyberattack or data loss is more dangerous than ever. To enhance cloud security in 2023, intelligent and analytical capabilities are the only way to counter evolving cyber threats. Cloud services are adapting the aforementioned practices like AI-driven threat intelligence, robust authentication & authorization policies, zero-trust policies, modern firewall solutions, and crypto-based encryption techniques. Explore V2 cloud, a market-leading Virtual Desktop Infrastructure provider that ensures all these industry-standard security practices to deliver a seamless and secure cloud experience.