Security Challenges Facing Cloud Deployments

In the cloud, code is deployed at an increasingly neck-breaking speed. As a result, bugs, security holes, and critical errors (sometimes human) are becoming both more likely and more devastating. Against the backdrop of the unprecedented scalability, reliability, flexibility, and rapid deployment capabilities, relying on pre-cloud solutions to secure cloud deployments is no longer effective.

Cloud deployments demand security architectures that are designed for the Cloud, not copied from the pre-cloud workloads; to secure a distributed enterprise with a plethora of virtual servers and cloud applications requires security teams to adopt a “cloud mindset.”

But what do we mean by “cloud mindset,” and how can enterprises transition to the new era of secure cloud deployments? Here are some best practices:

Best Practices for Managing Risks in Cloud Deployments

1. Design your Security Policies for the Cloud

New technology often requires new approaches, policies, and tools to detect threats and protect assets. And the cloud is no exception.

For cloud deployments, finding the right balance between usability and security is key. To be effective, security policies need ongoing support from users across the organization. Without this support, even the best policies will prove to be useless.

Without proper communication, the friction between development and security teams is likely to cause trouble. Dev teams will always find a way to do what they need to – even if it means bypassing security. Security must be reframed in their minds as a business enabler and a necessity, not a bottleneck whose sole purpose is to slow down each new release.

That is why cloud security must be strengthened by ongoing awareness training, and policies and processes that encourage information sharing and collaboration.

Take advantage of cloud-first technologies and policies.

2. Think of Security Dependencies as a Graph

Cloud environments serve as immense attack surfaces for cyber criminals. They often approach a network by identifying a low-profile asset that can be easily breached, and then laterally move through the network until they reach a high-value asset.

Rather than ranking your assets from high-to low-priority, imagine your attack surface as a graph and carefully monitor connections between assets.

The key is to think of cloud assets as a network of security dependencies, focusing on the external nodes that can lead back internally, and putting yourself in the attackers shoes in order to make sure there are no weak spots.

3. Bring Back the Separation of Duties

Separation of duties is an extremely important concept that often gets neglected when transitioning to the cloud. In theory, developers need to know how to design a secure environment. In practice, security often takes the backseat when developers are pushing to release a new version, or an application update.

Security teams must remain the gatekeepers of security. Make sure to install a policy that empowers security teams to be effective auditors and approvers for all deployments released by the application and development teams.

4. Beware of Phantom Data Copies

In order to run your application effectively in a multi-cloud environment, developers need to make sure that the data is locally available on each cloud. These copies are often created ad-hoc without proper security procedures, abandoned after use, and left completely neglected from a security perspective. IT personnel should remain vigilant, as phantom data copies are often an easy target for attackers.

5. Pre-Cloud Technologies are Obsolete

Securing the cloud requires complete visibility into resources, vulnerable software, and misconfigurations. Solutions such as network scanners, physical firewalls, switches, and routers made sense in the pre-cloud era. However, they can no longer be relied upon in an environment where networks, applications, and assets are created dynamically and scaled up and down without the need for buying hardware or extensive involvement from the IT team.

That is why for many organizations, the lack of visibility into cloud assets is an extremely difficult issue to resolve. There is, however, a new generation of cloud asset visibility solutions including Orca’s SideScanning Technology that delivers in-depth, full-stack visibility into the cloud across your entire inventory on all your cloud accounts.

To solve the Cloud security puzzle, Security teams must answer many questions. What are the challenges that lay ahead? What are the best practices for securing cloud deployments? What technologies are best suited to assist you and your team on your quest to become a cloud-first enterprise? In our latest eBook, “Best Practices for Managing Risks in Your Cloud Deployment,” we share the full picture of new risks, tools, and security measures you need to consider when adopting a ‘cloud mindset.’

What you will find in this eBook:

  • Security challenges in the cloud and ways to overcome them
  • 7 best practices for securing cloud deployments
  • A toolbox for achieving the full-stack visibility into your entire cloud infrastructure.

To read the eBook, click here.