Cloud security is a subclass of computer security, which falls under the broader gamut of information security. It involves the processes, controls, policies, and technologies which work together to protect your cloud infrastructure, systems, and data.
It is important to realize that cloud security is a shared responsibility, where both you and your cloud provider have to work together. Only then can you implement an effective strategy for cloud security to protect your data, ensure the privacy of your customers, and adhere to regulatory compliances. This is essential to saving your business from legal, financial, and reputational damage resulting from data breaches.
We will look at some of the most critical aspects of cloud security, before specifically addressing the following question: How to Share Certificates with Your Cloud Security Provider securely?
The Basics Of Cloud Security
It is hard to define cloudy security with a single explanation. It is a sophisticated interaction of policies, processes, controls, and technologies. Your cloud security provider will need to create a practice that is specifically personalized to meet the unique needs of your business.
Here is a rundown of some well-established cloud security strategies and tools that you and your cloud security provider must consider:
Identity And Access Management (IAM)
You really cannot survive without a robust IAM system in place to control that gets access to what parts of your systems and data. Your cloud security provider may either have their in-house. A sound IAM system provides sophisticated user authentication and access policies that help you have fine-grained control on who can access your data and applications, what information they have access to, and what operations they can perform on your data.
This is another critical mainstay of cloud security. Physical security is a combination of steps taken to prevent access to your systems (not just by humans, but pollutants and rodents too) allotted to you by your cloud provider in their data centre. Physical security involves controlling access with aids such as CCTVS, security doors, alarms, uninterrupted power supplies, fire protection, air, and particle filtration, etc.
Risk Intelligence, Monitoring And Prevention
Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS), Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS), and Threat Intelligence systems are the cornerstones of cloud security. Threat Intelligence and IDS tools help you identify cybercriminals that may currently be targeting your systems or may pose a future threat. IPS tools bring in the capability to mitigate attacks and alert your security team to such an event so you and your cloud security provider can respond timely.
When you use cloud technologies, you are going to be transmitting data to and from your cloud provider’s IAAS (Infrastructure as a service), PAAS (Platform as a service), or SAAS (Software as a service) platforms – sometimes even storing your data in their infrastructure. Encryption is critical to security when you are exchanging information over the internet – using an SSL certificate is one of the most effective ways of securing your data during transit. It is sometimes hard to guess reliable SSL provider and types of SSL. But there are many SSL resellers like SSL2BUY that provides authenticate different SSL certificates at lowest price.
Always use encryption to keep your information private while it is stored or being exchanged over the cloud. This way, even if someone did get their hands on your data, they will not be able to make sense of it or use it for malicious purposes.
Cloud Vulnerability And Penetration Testing
It is better to find vulnerabilities in your systems before the hackers do – vulnerability and penetration testing will help you and your cloud security provider continuously improve your protection levels. This involves you, your cloud provider, or your cloud security provider uncovering any potential exploits or weaknesses. You can then work with your cloud security provider to patch these vulnerabilities with appropriate solutions to increase your safety.
This is increasingly gaining more traction in improving cloud security. Micro-segmentation is the technique of breaking your cloud deployment into separate security sections, all the way to the level of individual workloads. Once done isolating, you’ll be able to implement flexible security policies to minimize the damage an infiltrator may cause, even if they gained access to some parts of your network and systems.
Advanced firewalls are another critical part of cloud security. Next-gen firewalls protect your workloads by using conventional firewall functionality and enhance the security by using modern advanced features. Traditional protection provided by firewalls includes proxying, IP blocking, stateful inspection, port blocking, domain name blocking, and packet filtering. Next-generation firewalls provide comprehensive threat detection and prevention by bringing in IPS (intrusion prevention system), application control, deep packet inspection, and analysis of encrypted traffic.
What Are The Risks Of Cloud Computing?
Irrespective of whether you operate in the cloud or not, online security remains a huge concern for businesses of all sizes. You can never lose sight of threats such as SQL injections, denial of service (SOS) attacks, malware, data breaches, and information theft. Any one of these is enough to damage your reputation, hurt your bottom line, and even draw curtains on your business.
However, when you move to the cloud, you are exposed to a new set of risks while the nature of other threats changes too. Now, this is not to say that you should not move to cloud computing or that it is not secure. It is perfectly manageable to reap the rewards of this new modern paradigm by being aware of the unique risks of cloud computing and taking steps to mitigate them.
Cloud security services predominantly use reverse proxies. This poses a major security challenge as it sometimes becomes unavoidable to share private SSL keys between different entities for proper termination of secure connections, which makes it crucial that you understand the top cloud computing threats:
- Lost visibility
- Compliance troubles
- Incompetent Cloud Security Strategy & Architecture
- Insider threats
- Breaches in contracts
- Insecure APIs (Application Programming Interfaces)
- Misconfigured cloud services
How Do You Work With Your Cloud Security Provider Securely?
Now that you’ve seen the unique challenges thrown by the move to cloud computing let us look at some ways you can work with your cloud security provider to keep yourself protected. Adherence to this guideline is also critical to share your security (including SSL certificates) keys with your cloud security provider in a secure manner.
Make sure that your cloud security provider adheres to the compliances pertinent to your industry – for instance, HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standards), PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), and others.
Make sure that your cloud security provider maintains the highest level of security infrastructure, such as the use of next-generation firewalls, HSMs (hardware security modules), sophisticated encryption schemes for data in transit and at rest.
Access Controls And Security Policies
Most threats are insider threats. Take a very close look at the security policies and access control mechanisms used by your cloud service provider. Ask for employee training records and security audits. Are VPNs encouraged or enforced when accessing sensitive areas? What kind of security audit trails is in place, and are they being monitored? How is security vulnerability found, reported, and acted upon? Is there a central management system in use to protect your SSL keys and other certificates?
Make sure your SLAs are clear, and there is no ambiguity on the shared responsibility aspects before, during, or after an attack. Remember, no security is 100%. Cover your assets and risks by creating a full proof and unambiguous contract with your cloud security provider.
In summary, the cloud opens up so many opportunities for cost savings and increased efficiency. Make sure you pick your cloud security provider wisely and keep the above points in mind when working with them. Irrespective of the reputation of your provider, stay in touch with your cloud security at all times and request regular security reports. Remember, it is your business we are talking about, and you do not want your put your guard down, ever.