Cloud Security

Cloud Security in Cloud Computing: Easy Guide 101

Cloud security is the discipline of protecting cloud-based environments, applications, and services. It encompasses preventing unauthorized access to cloud accounts, resources, and hosts. The primary objective of cloud security is to secure sensitive data access and eliminate adversaries from invading network perimeters or causing data breaches.  Modern organizations are busy migrating to the cloud from […]

Mansi B.

Written by Mansi B.

August 14, 2023 | 7 min read

Cloud security is the discipline of protecting cloud-based environments, applications, and services. It encompasses preventing unauthorized access to cloud accounts, resources, and hosts. The primary objective of cloud security is to secure sensitive data access and eliminate adversaries from invading network perimeters or causing data breaches. 

Modern organizations are busy migrating to the cloud from legacy infrastructures and using the cloud model for delivering services. However, they do not optimize security processes and find various vulnerabilities cropping up when hosting deployments.

This blog will discuss Cloud Security in Cloud Computing and cover everything you need to know. 

Table of Contents:

  1. What is Cloud Security in Cloud Computing?
  2. How is Cloud Security different from Cloud Computing?
  3. Cloud Service Models and Security Considerations
  4. Security Issues in Cloud Computing
  5. Common Cloud Computing Security Risks
  6. Cloud Security Compliance and Regulations
  7. How to Improve Cloud Security in Cloud Computing?
  8. Why PingSafe for Cloud Security?
  9. Conclusion

What is Cloud Security in Cloud Computing?

Cloud Security in Cloud Computing combines tools and processes to provide businesses with continuous threat monitoring and remediation. It combats internal and external threats and helps organizations accelerate their digital transformation strategy by giving cutting-edge threat protection for securing infrastructure components and services. Cloud vendors neglect security by default, so it is essential to implement the latest cloud security solutions for the best results. 

How is Cloud Security different from Cloud Computing?

Cloud Computing vs. Cloud Security is a highly debated topic, and security analysts agree that these terms may seem interchangeable at first glance. Cloud computing is becoming increasingly powerful as it offers on-demand storage and services to enterprises without investing in any particular hardware or equipment. Continuous deployments on the cloud are an emerging trend, and the technology is constantly evolving, which means vendors are shifting from traditional on-premises infrastructures.

Traditional computing is prone to downtimes due to hardware failure and requires ongoing maintenance, an aspect that cloud computing technology takes care of seamlessly. There are no vendor lock-in periods or upfront costs since users can opt for a pay-as-you-go model for cloud security solutions and services.

Cloud computing deals with the storage and transmission of data, and cloud security addresses security gaps and vulnerabilities in cloud platforms. As the volume of data and the number of threats increases, cloud security becomes a critical component of cloud computing and will mitigate emerging risks.

Cloud Service Models and Security Considerations

The leading cloud service models are: 

  •  Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – The infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) model helps enterprises simplify the complexity of their infrastructures by not purchasing physical servers. Linode, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Compute Engine (GCE), and Rackspace are the top IaaS applications trending in 2024.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS) – PaaS cloud computing model allows users to run and manage applications on the cloud layer. It integrates databases and web services and offers the ability to auto-scale apps. PaaS services are accessible to various users and build on virtualization technologies so the organization can plan growth according to their business requirements. PaaS apps include the AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Magento Commerce Cloud, OpenShift, and Google App Engine.
  • Software as a Service (SaaS) – SaaS applications are hosted by the cloud vendor and managed centrally. SaaS apps are hosted on remote servers, and services can be used pay-as-you-use. Some examples of SaaS cloud apps are DropBox, ZenDesk, Slack, and Google Apps. 

The following are the top security considerations to take note of when it comes to cloud service models: 

1. Cloud Service Models Are Just As Prone to Network Security Risks 

Security risks include moving applications from traditional data centers to the cloud. Cloud security adds new attack surfaces, and cloud data centers are known for using multiple ports for rendering services. Cybercriminals can target specific ports and launch sophisticated attacks which compromise cloud-based applications. 

2. Cloud Uses A Shared Responsibility Model

Cloud-based security uses network micro-segmentation and adopts a shared responsibility model when separating applications, data, and resources. It uses zero-trust architecture and always prioritizes verifying users before implementing or allowing the usage of new services. Security policies can be managed on the application level and network identity layers. Low intra-host traffic visibility can introduce new vulnerabilities and weaken security posture.

3. Cloud Security in Cloud Computing Is Process-Oriented For Configurations

Users can modify virtualized workloads in minutes, and teams operate in constantly evolving and dynamic environments prone to continuous changes. Security configuration delays can cause roadblocks to implementation, and as such, when cloud-based environments become increasingly complex, so does the security processing landscape. Policy changes have to be approved by appropriate stakeholders, and organizations can strengthen their security posture by applying relevant updates, firewalls, and controls.

Security Issues in Cloud Computing

Data Loss – Data loss or leakage due to sensitive data exposure is one of the most significant issues in cloud computing. Users don’t have complete control over their data, and a lack of proper cyber hygiene practices allows hackers to fool victims and take advantage of them.

Insecure APIs – Insecure APIs are prone to misconfigurations by external users, and services available in the public domain face different cloud computing vulnerabilities. Third parties can access these services, and hackers can intercept API communications, thus stealing or tampering with data.

Account Hijacking – Account hijacking happens when an adversary targets the user directly on a network and breaches their account. The perpetrator then attempts to cause privilege escalations and gain control of other non-administrative and administrative cloud accounts in the network or ecosystem.

Vendor Migration Issues – Many organizations may use multiple vendors or decide to change vendors later on. Cloud migrations may cause issues as they open up new vulnerabilities during shifting. Every cloud service platform has different features, security policies, and integration workflows, which means the migration process isn’t linear or smooth.

Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks – DoS attacks happen when the adversary overloads cloud applications by sending too many requests, thus overflowing network traffic. They render other applications in the environment useless and cause network downtimes or delays, thus impacting business operations. Sometimes, it causes data loss and makes it harder to recover the lost data.

Common Cloud Computing Security Risks

These are the most common security risks when it comes to cloud security in cloud computing

1. Unmanaged Attack Surfaces 

Adopting cloud microservices can create multiple attack surfaces, and adding every workload further expands its scope. Lack of close management can expose infrastructures in ways users will know when an attack occurs.

Attack surface maximization can also happen from subtle information leaks, internal heat, and other hidden vulnerabilities that go unnoticed.

2. Human Error

Most security failures can result from human error or poor judgment while handling security processes. Hosting resources on public clouds can increase risk, and there is also the possibility of API misconfigurations. Human error can create weak security tools and policies, impacting business decision-making. 

3. Data Breaches

No cloud runtime protection can cause data breaches and allow hackers to steal personally identifiable information (PII). Stolen data can damage organizations’ reputations, make financial losses, and lead to lawsuits.

Cloud Security Compliance and Regulations

The cloud security compliance and regulations landscape is becoming increasingly complex, and its main objective is to improve the confidentiality and integrity of sensitive data. When CloudOps changes, organizations find it challenging to comply with the latest standards and regulatory frameworks.

Maintaining optimal performance and addressing cloud compliance challenges is difficult; however, the good news is that there are many tips organizations can implement to make positive progress. They are listed below: 

1. Do Network Security Audits 

Network security audits help organizations learn about the current state of their cloud security. It improves the condition of cloud frameworks and overall organizational performance by strengthening cloud security posture. 

2. Perform Periodic Compliance Checks 

Periodic cloud compliance checks can inform organizations about any policy violations. It can instantly implement changes in real time, avoid legal fines and penalties, and help avoid data loss and security breaches. 

3. Implement Micro-segmentation

Applying micro-segmentation techniques can reduce the threat attack surface, isolate threats, quarantine, and mitigate them effectively. Cloud-based micro-segmentation is especially useful for implementing custom access and gaining better control over data and risk management.

How to Improve Cloud Security in Cloud Computing?

Here is how to improve cloud security in cloud computing in a few easy steps: 

1. Use Private Clouds

Private clouds offer greater security than public clouds, enabling organizations to gain more visibility over their data and infrastructure components. 

2. Apply Encryption

Encryption is vital for cloud security and helps protect sensitive data from unauthorized access. Encrypted data can prevent hackers from causing data breaches by transforming information into code and allowing users to decode using a private key they need sole access. 

3. Implement Least Privilege Network Security Access

The least privilege network security access principle should be applied to all accounts. It can prevent unauthorized privilege escalations and stop lateral movements. Network security access measures can safeguard sensitive information and prevent unauthorized individuals from accessing it. 

4. Continuously Monitor Cloud Activity 

Cloud security tools continuously monitor cloud network activity and review data. Organizations must look for signs of malicious behaviors and detect unusual log-in attempts and unexpected data transfers. 

5. Endpoint Security and Access Control

Access control regulates who has access to what data and how much. It can prevent individuals from obtaining sensitive information. Cloud endpoint security protects devices and accounts connected to networks and cloud environments. It protects cloud ecosystems from malware attacks, viruses, phishing campaigns, and other cyber threats. 

6. Data Recovery and Backup

Designing a good cloud data recovery and backup plan can ensure that business operations continue smoothly and that the organization is unaffected. It prevents hardware failures, bugs, glitches, unexpected outages, and human error. It also makes it convenient to restore lost data and systems to factory defaults in the event of data breaches.

Why PingSafe for Cloud Security? 

PingSafe is an excellent solution for optimizing cloud security. It offers enterprises a cutting-edge Cloud-Native Application Protection Platform (CNAPP) that combines all the tools and services to protect cloud environments. PingSafe is excellent for cloud security in cloud computing. It can scan over 800+ types of secrets in real time and comes with an offensive security engine that can analyze attacks from the attacker’s perspective. 

Organizations can gain insights into cloud vulnerability management practices, assess security postures, and take steps to remediate threats properly by implementing PingSafe CNAPP into their business workflow. CNAPP supports using IaC scripts and is compatible with various IaC templates. The Cloud Workload Protection Platform (CWPP) tool protects virtualized workloads across hybrid and multi-cloud environments. PingSafe also ensures that organizations adhere to the latest compliance standards like PCI-DSS, HIPAA, NIST, and other popular frameworks, thus ensuring continuous compliance. Security teams can create custom security policies, enforce rules, and implement shift-left security.

Conclusion

Choosing the right cloud security solution for your cloud computing requirements depends mostly on organizational goals and employee alignment. It’s important to remember that cloud security is proactive, and since the landscape is constantly changing, security will evolve and adapt too. However, the foundation must be addressed, and using a good cloud security solution can significantly improve security posture and reduce the risks of data breaches.