This post was originally published on The New Stack.

In the current digital landscape, cloud infrastructure is essential for businesses to continue running operations successfully. However, it is also a prime target for hackers and malicious actors who are constantly looking for ways to exploit it. The challenge for security teams is that they must protect data and applications in an environment that is constantly changing and often outside of their control. 

As such, organizations need to adopt a prevention-first cloud security strategy to ensure that their cloud infrastructure and data are secure. This means taking proactive measures to identify, monitor and address any weaknesses in the system before they are exploited. By doing so, organizations can drastically reduce their risk of falling victim to cybercrime as well as minimize the damage caused by any attacks that do succeed.

What Is Prevention-First Cloud Security, and Why Should You Care?

It’s no secret that data breaches are on the rise. As businesses shift more of their operations to the cloud, the risk of data breaches increases. In fact, according to the 2022 “Cost of a Data Breach” report by IBM and the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach has reached a record high of $4.35 million. Additionally, the average time it takes to detect and contain a data breach has reached 191 days, which makes a prevention-first security strategy the best solution to combat these relentless cyber breaches.

Prevention-first security is a proactive approach that starts with identifying and addressing risks before they turn into security incidents. This type of security relies on DevSecOps and shift-left security principles to move security earlier in the software development life cycle. The benefits of adopting a prevention-first cloud security strategy are clear: improved security for your organization, reduced risk, and less time and money spent on security issues. 

Where Does Prevention Start in the Software Development Life Cycle?

Prevention should start as early as the design phase. That’s when you determine how your software will be used and what risks it might pose. At the design phase, DevOps and DevSecOps teams can integrate automation and other tools into their workflows to secure their data at every stage of the development process. By shifting security left, teams can prevent vulnerabilities from being introduced in the first place.

Once you’ve got a clear understanding of those risks, you can start to put the necessary security measures in place. You might find that some of those measures need to be implemented during the development phase, while others can wait until later, when the software is ready for release.

But it’s important to remember that cloud security is an ongoing process. You can’t just set it and forget it. You need to continually assess your software and make changes as needed. The good news is that many of the prevention measures can be automated, so you don’t have to worry about them slipping through the cracks.

Why Is a Prevention-First Cloud Security Strategy Important?

Implementing a prevention-first strategy will result in the following:

  • Saving engineers time by not having them being pulled into recurring reactive incidents. 
  • Less firefighting for engineers will result in less burnout and happier employees who choose to stay at your company. The less time engineers spend being pulled away from their projects, the happier they will be to continue working at your organization.
  • By implementing prevention-first security strategies, you automatically will foster cross-collaboration between engineering and security teams. This ensures a mutual understanding of the critical systems that run your organization, and by working together, you’ll build top-tier prevention-first strategies.
  • You’ll see cost savings because you won’t have that security breach that could cost you millions and ruin your company’s reputation for years to come, which will also bring top engineering talent into your organization.
  • Your company will continue to be viewed as credible, and you’ll have a higher return on investment year after year.

Top 5 Steps to Adopting a Prevention-First Cloud Strategy

Adopting a prevention-first security strategy is key to keeping your cloud environment safe and secure. These are just a few of the many steps you can take to secure your cloud infrastructure using a prevention-first approach. By taking these steps, you can help ensure that your cloud environment is protected against the latest security threats.

Here are the top five steps you can take to make sure your cloud security strategy is up to par:

  1. Assess your environment and identify which applications and data are most at risk. Develop a risk management plan that prioritizes prevention measures based on the most likely threats to your business.This will help you determine where prevention should start.
  2. Implement security measures across your cloud environment, including entitlement management, data security and vulnerability management.
  3. Use prevention-first security tools and services to secure your cloud environment. The centralized prevention-first cloud security platform should then be integrated within your software development workflows for security control and monitoring, thus guaranteeing the detection and prevention of security breaches.
  4. Make sure your security team is trained and up to date on the latest security threats and trends. Additionally, train your employees on best practices for using the cloud securely. This will allow DevSecOps teams to know what to look out for if there are potential security threats within their workflows.
  5. Conduct regular vulnerability assessments to identify and address potential security risks. This entails running regular tests on your security controls to ensure they are effective in preventing attacks.

Conclusion: Implementing Your Prevention-First Cloud Security Strategy

When it comes to cloud security, businesses face an uphill battle. With the number of data breaches on the rise, it’s more important than ever to prioritize prevention. Implementing a cloud security platform that exemplifies a prevention-first security solution, provides comprehensive and agentless security for cloud infrastructure, workloads, data and identities can help your organization.

To learn about how Orca Security can help your organization adopt a prevention-first approach, visit our website or contact our team today.

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