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How to Deal With Security in an Increasingly Cloud-Based World

So you’ve moved your IT to the cloud. How safe do you feel? 

If you haven’t already suffered a security incident, you’re lucky. If you’re worrying about what happens when you do, you’re smart.

If you’re not worried at all, you may have made one of the most common cloud mistakes: assuming the cloud service provider (CSP) will handle all your security for you. CSPs like Amazon and Microsoft are clear that the customer shares the responsibility for cloud security.

Customers who don’t address their cloud security responsibilities end up flying blind with no visibility into their data, applications, and security posture. They can’t review their logs to work out what led to a security incident. 

Imagine you’re an Office 365 customer who suffers a phishing attack. If you rely on default settings, the email logging and auditing services won’t be active. That means you won’t be able to analyze what happened as part of a proper incident response plan. 

Companies that understand shared responsibility often make another mistake: They try to port security tools and solutions from their own premises into the cloud. That’s expensive, cumbersome, and ineffective. Vendors don’t always build tools with the cloud in mind.

Native solutions

There’s an easier way to solve your cloud security problems: Use your CSP’s existing security solutions. They are already in the cloud and therefore are easy to set up, reducing the need for expensive IT professionals. They replace expensive, complex equipment and software with a single recurring payment, and because they’re using cloud infrastructure, they scale with your computing needs. 

Turning on cloud visibility features, like auditing tools for your software as a service (SaaS) applications, is a good start. Then you will still need a security incident and event management (SIEM) system to correlate all your cloud-based network events.

Bringing security to market

The large CSPs are stepping up with new options, too. Microsoft has Azure Sentinel and Google has Backstory. Amazon has its GuardDuty and Security Hub services.

CSPs are well-positioned to offer cloud-native security solutions. They collect more traffic and incident data than anyone else, which they can harvest for better threat intelligence, enabling them to constantly refine their protection.

To perfect your cloud security, it’s time to map these cloud-native features against your security requirements and turn them on accordingly. You’ll sleep easier at night, and so will your customers.

Brian Bourne, Director and Co-Founder, Black Arts Illuminated Inc., [email protected]

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