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What is Cloud Security? Cloud Computing Security Defined

 / October 01, 2021

Working on cloud-based systems is not something new these days. Along with more cloud computing services provided on-shore and off-shore, companies also raise doubts about private and confidential data safety against cyberattacks. Therefore, cloud computing security is an accompanied concept you should spend time finding out before you make investments in this technology. 

Cloud Computing Security

In its 2020 report, Fortune Business Insights indicated that the worldwide cloud computing market was valued at US$219 billion in the same year. This figure is expected to gradually increase at a CAGR of 17.9% over the course of 2021-2028. 

The diversification of cloud services was astonishingly susceptible to the Covid-19 pandemic which promoted demands for remote working and secure approaches to cloud-based data storage. This technology helps process a company’s operation and production cycles within the real-time scenario, ease complicated paperwork, support scalable projects and facilitate decision making. 

However, accompanying the development of those services is always high risks involved in cloud computing security. Without sensible methods, the important and private data of companies and their customers is easily vulnerable and hijacked by cyber-criminals. As a result, corporations will confront crippling damages. 

No matter which security solution your company aim at, it always entails the following core components:

  • Data confidentiality;
  • Identity and access management (IAM);
  • Controls to detect, prevent and reduce cybercrime-related threats;
  • Planning on data retention, business continuity, and even disaster recovery;
  • Regulatory compliance.

See also: Latest Trends around Software Security in 2021

Cloud Computing Security Defined

Cloud computing security, also briefly known as cloud computing, is optimal measures that put technologies, rules, procedures, and management in one place to secure business data, customer’s privacy, and cloud-based infrastructure. Normally, security solutions also support your company to comply with legal requirements effectively. 

One typical example of such measures is authentication mechanisms (e.g. biometric-based or password-based) used to verify your authorized access to cloud-based systems. Beyond that, cloud security policies vary as per devices and the company’s use. Accordingly, small and medium-sized businesses can require less complicated security policies than large corporations. 

Cloud Computing Security Defined

Regardless of purposes, such methods consist of the mentioned core functions and guarantee data safety on the cloud. This contributes to mitigate operating costs and help IT support teams stay more focused on core tasks. 

Importantly, both parties need to work well together to customize a cloud solution that is compatible with all chosen hardware systems and operating systems. Moreover, that security measure needs to suit end-user use habits and more importantly secure those systems as well as data. 

Types of Cloud Security

Cloud computing security comes into three varieties based on its service models: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). 

Through these cloud security architectures, your company and a service supplier will held accountable for securing databases that are store in the cloud. Accordingly, the company takes responsibility for not sharing access to unauthorized third parties and planning how to access the data securely as well as manage those data approaches well. Meanwhile, the service vendor is liable for protecting all essential components for the company to work well on the cloud. Those features relate to hardware, software, storage, networking, and more. Depending on which architectures your company is working on, such properties will vary.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

SaaS architectures are more prevalent with such typical solutions as Salesforce and Office 365. So by definition, SaaS means your business will hire such cloud-based software available from the third-party vendor. Common security components in SaaS comprise customer network security, identity and access management, a Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), gateways, and so on to protect data and control access.  

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Basically, a company will buy the infrastructure from a service provider and establish their own applications, operating systems, and more therein. Therefore, security functionality in an IaaS system consists of network and data encryption, access and vulnerability management tools, endpoint protection (EPP), and so forth. 

Platform as a Service (PaaS) 

PaaS empowers your business to install, run and monitor applications on the platform provided by a cloud provider. This frees you from creating and administering the underlying platforms for those apps. Besides standard security solutions, PaaS can require less popular cloud security measures like a Cloud Workload Protection Platform (CWPP).

Related article: What is Cloud eCommerce Solutions?

What is Data Loss Prevention? 

Sometimes, data loss or theft originate from internal staff when they carelessly send confidential data that may pose their companies at stake. In the 2020 Cost of Insider Threats Global Report released by the Ponemon Institute, over 60% of cyber-threats associated with databases were derived from in-house employees rather than malicious threats. To foil those unexpected events, a company uses a bunch of Data Loss Prevention (DLP) tools and procedures to secure sensitive information from being stolen, accessed, or misused by any unauthorized entity. 

DLP and the Cloud

From the given concept, DLP software proves critical to databases that are store and maintaine on the cloud. Accordingly, the Cloud DLP categorizes important data into different groups and bases data violations on policies pre-identified by your business. Those regulations often adhere to major standards such as PCI-DSS, HIPAA, ISO 27001, or FedRAMP. 

When detecting data breaches, DLP software will send end-users alerts, encryption and other warning actions to stop them from intentionally delivering sensitive data outside the organization network. Other benefits of data loss prevention tools include:

  • Filtering data flows through business networks;
  • Managing all activities related to data on the cloud;
  • Track down vulnerable and abnormal areas that are prone to cyber-threats in the future;
  • Producing reports of whether all activities meet regulatory requirements and standards.

How to Know if Your System is Vulnerable to DLP?

Not all data loss prevention solutions are compatible with your cloud-based system. Choosing improper software and tools not only wastes your company’s budget but also render its system more vulnerable to Internet-based threats. So, the organization should learn about whether its infrastructure works well with DLP tools before reaching any decision. To do so, you need to follow those important rules:

  • Define the primary objectives of data protection: There are four types of DLP programs involving Cloud DLP, Network DLP, Storage DLP, and Endpoint DLP. Provide your company’s main goal is to secure cloud-based databases, access and inspect data from any device, and more, Cloud DLP is an optimal solution.
  • Identify your company’s budget: DLP is a data-securing program. The lack of a business budget will prevent your company from fully approaching all essential functionalities of the software.
  • Determine stakeholders and their duties: You should classify information based on its descending order of importance and determine who is allowed to approach which part of the database. This guarantees each stakeholder group is legally responsible for different data.
  • Establish assessment metrics: A DLP program may be unsuitable if it does not fit your system’s properties. Therefore, you should define evaluation criteria to support your choice of proper DLP programs.
  • Document and evaluate the DLP tool’s performance: DLP is just a security tool and it sometimes does not live up to your expectations. Therefore, you need regularly inspect the program’s performance to ensure it meets the given metrics and your demands for data protection. 

Conclusion

The more companies and individuals move their business processes and data storage into cloud-based systems, the more important cloud computing security becomes. Importantly, not all cloud security architectures work effectively for all companies. So to achieve the best security measures, both a business and a cloud service supplier should jointly work on appropriate security policies, protocols, and technologies. 

Apart from meeting the main goal of saving financial and business data from any unexpected threats, those security methods need to abide by legal policies on data protection, cyber-attack detection, and prevention. Besides, your company and the chosen service provider should plan for later data retention, storage scalability for different projects and even recovery methods after data loss or vulnerability takes place.

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