Cloud Security Controls for your SaaS Products

What is Cloud Security Controls?

 

Introduction

Cloud technology continues to advance, and more and more digital enterprises are deploying their infrastructure on the cloud. The growth in cloud computing has also attracted cyber attackers to shift their momentum towards it. Cloud deployment is undoubtedly more robust and versatile than on-premises deployment, but it also carries the risk of cyberattacks. Since cyberattacks have grown in sophistication over time, so have countermeasures intended to prevent them.

Protecting a private cloud infrastructure is much easier as compared to protecting a public cloud. Since public clouds are usually owned by third parties, you have less control and must share responsibilities with the cloud service provider (CSP). Sometimes companies make mistakes while selecting a public CSP and try to slack off their budget on cloud security. This might benefit them for the time being, but they eventually end up spending much more to fix future security issues.

Before making any purchase, companies should carefully examine the cloud security controls offered by CSPs or vendors, as well as their previous reputation. How will the CSP identify and respond to potential threats in the cloud environment, and does it provide the cloud security controls that you need? Evaluating these basic concerns can help you pick a better vendor, saving your company from various regrets in the future.

Understanding cloud security controls is an important thing to properly secure the cloud infrastructure.

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What is Cloud Security Controls?

Cloud security controls refer to a set of services, tools, guidelines, and precautions that are used to safeguard the cloud environment from cyber-attacks. These services help to fight against vulnerabilities and reduce the chances of any data breach.

Cloud security controls refer to a set of services, tools, guidelines, and precautions that are used to safeguard the cloud environment from cyber-attacks. These services help to fight against vulnerabilities and reduce the chances of any data breach.

The effectiveness of cloud computing security tools relies on their proper implementation. The IT teams of your organization should be capable of properly configuring these tools to ensure the safety, security, and compliance of the data. In a prediction of Gartner (a global research and advisory firm for IT and other related industries) 99% of cloud security breaches in the future will occur due to misconfiguration of cloud security controls. Following are some cloud security controls that the IT team of your organization must implement:-

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1. Native Integration into Cloud Management & Security Systems:

In contrast to traditional data centers where you have control of the entire infrastructure, public clouds work on a shared responsibility model, where both you and the cloud vendor are responsible for the security of the cloud infrastructure. Due to limited controls, your visibility to the underlying cloud environment is also restricted. In this case, API-level integration tools can be used like Stack Event and Flow Drivers for Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Inspector and VPC Flow logs for AWS, and Security Center for Microsoft Azure.

2. Security Automation:

With cybersecurity experts always in demand, cybersecurity cannot keep pace with ever-growing threats in the market. This gap can be filled by automating the security functions whenever possible.

3. Centralized Visibility of the Cloud Infrastructure:

By having a centralized view of the configuration settings, user activity, and security policies, plus the risks found in online data stores, the security teams can assess the overall security of the cloud environment. This can help the security teams to quickly identify and patch any vulnerabilities present in the cloud environment.

4. Web Application Layer Protections Combined with Machine Learning & AI:

In the shared responsibility model, the cloud service provider does not offer protection for applications deployed on the cloud, as it falls in the domain of the customer responsibilities. Here you can use the power of AI and Machine learning to secure web apps and the contents of the application layer, which requires constant granular adjustments. You can also implement the web application firewalls to control the access of a specific IP address on the application layer of your cloud.

5. Threat Intelligence Feeds

As a company continues to grow, it purchases cloud services from multiple vendors which add complexity to the existing cloud environment. You should always go for those vendors, who offer comprehensive security solutions that are capable of integrating dynamic threat intelligence feeds into your existing cloud infrastructure. These feeds should be intelligently generated based on the data collected from different local and global security incidents.

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6. Proper Configuration

The McAfee survey, which included 1000 companies in 11 countries in September 2019, found that, due to the wrong configuration of the cloud environment, hackers were able to gain access to data left open. The internet is flooded with tools that can exploit misconfigurations and vulnerabilities in the cloud. All of your efforts to secure the cloud will be for nothing if you cannot configure the cloud properly.

7. Enable System & Firewall Logs

System & Firewall Logs keep record of all the activities of the system. These log files can be used to track security breach as well as the reasons behind it. Without these log files, it might take forever for security teams to identify and patch system vulnerabilities.

8. Perform Penetration Testing and Automate Tests

Your cloud infrastructure should undergo penetration testing to ensure that it meets the defined security standards of your enterprise. Furthermore, a quality cloud service provider could provide you with a set of automated tests that you can run regularly to ensure that your infrastructure is protected against zero-day threats.

9. Managing Identity and Access Control

The purpose of identity and access control is to determine the authentic and authorized user. You can use identity control to verify if the user is valid. Access control, on the other hand, can be utilized to ensure that users have the privileges to access particular information. Access control and identity management allow you to control who has access to what resources, so you can assign roles-based access privileges to each user.

10. Managing Security Policies

There should be a company-wide policy that outlines all the rules and regulations related to cloud security, as well as the penalties for breaking any of them. In order to maintain the integrity of your cloud infrastructure, you need to ensure that all employees adhere to these policies.

Cloud Controls Matrix

Cloud Controls Matrix or CCM is a security framework that provides a checklist of best security practices and must-follow approaches that a company can follow from start to end to deploy a secure cloud infrastructure for any use case. The CCM is not only free and available to everyone, but it is also very easy to follow without any technical knowledge about cloud security.

The CCM is offered by Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) with the collaboration of enterprises, cloud service providers, governments, and industry players, as a standard framework and a comprehensive chart of cloud security guidelines. The framework primarily focuses on three main areas that are

    •    IRM Consulting & Advisory | Your Cybersecurity Trusted Advisor   Cloud Architecture
    •    IRM Consulting & Advisory | Your Cybersecurity Trusted Advisor   Governing in the Cloud
    •    IRM Consulting & Advisory | Your Cybersecurity Trusted Advisor   Operating in the Cloud

 

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The CCM framework offers over 100 cloud security controls which are further divided into 16 categories:

    •    IRM Consulting & Advisory | Your Cybersecurity Trusted Advisor   1. Applications & Interface Security
    •    IRM Consulting & Advisory | Your Cybersecurity Trusted Advisor   2. Audit Assurance & Compliance
    •    IRM Consulting & Advisory | Your Cybersecurity Trusted Advisor   3. Business Continuity Management & Operation Resilience
    •    IRM Consulting & Advisory | Your Cybersecurity Trusted Advisor   4. Change Control & Configuration Management
    •    IRM Consulting & Advisory | Your Cybersecurity Trusted Advisor   5. Data Security and Information Lifecycle Management
    •    IRM Consulting & Advisory | Your Cybersecurity Trusted Advisor   6. Datacenter Security
    •    IRM Consulting & Advisory | Your Cybersecurity Trusted Advisor   7. Encryption & Key Management
    •    IRM Consulting & Advisory | Your Cybersecurity Trusted Advisor   8. Governance & Risk Management
    •    IRM Consulting & Advisory | Your Cybersecurity Trusted Advisor   9. Human Resource
    •    IRM Consulting & Advisory | Your Cybersecurity Trusted Advisor   10. Identity & Access Management
    •    IRM Consulting & Advisory | Your Cybersecurity Trusted Advisor   11. Infrastructure & Virtualization Security
    •    IRM Consulting & Advisory | Your Cybersecurity Trusted Advisor   12. Interoperability & Portability
    •    IRM Consulting & Advisory | Your Cybersecurity Trusted Advisor   13. Mobile Security
    •    IRM Consulting & Advisory | Your Cybersecurity Trusted Advisor   14. Security Incident Management, E-Discovery, & Cloud Forensics
    •    IRM Consulting & Advisory | Your Cybersecurity Trusted Advisor   15. Supply Chain Management, Transparency, & Accountability
    •    IRM Consulting & Advisory | Your Cybersecurity Trusted Advisor   16. Threat & Vulnerability Management

 

Final Thoughts

Nowadays, cloud computing is a trend, especially among IT enterprises as it provides greater flexibility. However, security problems remain a problem. Despite being vulnerable to global threats, the cloud environment can be secured by the proper implementation of the cloud security controls and selecting proper vendors is a must. By following some guidelines and practices, you can enjoy a cloud infrastructure that is not only secure and safe from threats but also carries all the benefits of cloud technology.

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