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Cloud Security

10 Google Cloud Security Best Practices

Security has become increasingly crucial as Google Cloud services are being adopted more widely. To protect Google Cloud Platform apps, it’s critical to understand the technologies, policies, procedures, and controls. Security and cloud technology work hand in hand since cybersecurity threats can access your apps and damage your company’s data’s confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Understanding […]

Sharon R.

Written by Sharon R.

September 25, 2023 | 7 min read

Security has become increasingly crucial as Google Cloud services are being adopted more widely. To protect Google Cloud Platform apps, it’s critical to understand the technologies, policies, procedures, and controls. Security and cloud technology work hand in hand since cybersecurity threats can access your apps and damage your company’s data’s confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Understanding how to create a robust security architecture is crucial because security is the joint responsibility of the application owner and cloud provider.

This article will examine the shared responsibility model and 10 Google Cloud Security Best Practices.

Table of Contents:

  1. Google Cloud Security Overview
  2. Critical Components of Google Cloud Architecture
  3. Understanding the Shared Responsibility Model
  4. Challenges to implementing Google Cloud Security Measures
  5. 10 Google Cloud Security Best Practices
  6. How will PingSafe help with Google Cloud Security?
  7. Conclusion

Google Cloud Security Overview

Security cannot be neglected by companies using the Google Cloud Platform (GCP). It must instead form a crucial component of the entire software development process. Security issues should take precedence, starting with the initial design and continuing through deployment and maintenance. Businesses may safeguard applications and data from threats by integrating security into the software development lifecycle, avoiding negative outcomes like reputational harm and financial loss.

Critical Components of Google Cloud Architecture

Numerous services are available through Google Cloud, each catering to different requirements. Understanding the security features of these services becomes increasingly crucial as more businesses move their operations to the cloud. The following elements demand strict security measures:

  • Virtual computers running in Google’s data centers are known as compute engines.
  • A platform for storing and retrieving data at any time is known as cloud storage.
  • BigQuery is a Google-managed efficient data warehouse that, thanks to its sophisticated infrastructure, enables quick SQL queries.

Understanding the Shared Responsibility Model

Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) are all included in the scope of Google Cloud goods and services. The conventional lines of duty between users and cloud providers shift depending on the user’s chosen service, as depicted in the image.

The ability to give you a strong and secure foundation is the very least that public cloud providers should be able to do as part of their shared duty for security. Additionally, providers must give you the tools you need to comprehend and apply the components of the shared responsibility model. It is important to follow Google Cloud Security Best Practices for effective security.

Challenges to implementing Google Cloud Security Measures

Although Google Cloud has sophisticated security safeguards, putting them into practice can be challenging:

  • Managing access controls: In large businesses, limiting access to only those allowed can be challenging.
  • Data encryption: Although Google Cloud offers tools for encryption, effectiveness depends on knowing when and how to utilize them.
  • Maintaining visibility: As businesses grow, tracking all their cloud services and ensuring they follow security best practices gets harder.

Understanding compliance is essential for addressing these issues and enhancing security.

10 Google Cloud Security Best Practices

Here are 10 Google Cloud Security Best Practices:

  1. Training
  2. Recognize Your Cloud Services and Locations
  3. Consistently enforce Security Keys for admin accounts
  4. Know the threats to your internal and external security
  5. Prevent the use of service account keys that users manage
  6. Search for Cloud KMS keys that are accessible to the public or anonymously
  7. Actively Monitor Your Environment
  8. Maintain Data Encryption
  9. Ensure that uniform bucket-level access is enabled for Cloud Storage Buckets
  10. Create and Maintain Firewalls

#1 Training

Continuous learning is essential since the environment of cyber threats is constantly changing. Teams may stay current on the most recent risks and mitigation strategies by hosting regular training sessions and utilizing resources like the Google Cloud Security Best Practices Center.

#2 Recognize Your Cloud Services and Locations

As Google Cloud Security Best Practices, understanding your cloud’s locations and services in detail is essential to developing a strong security model. Various services and products are available through Google Cloud, which is built on a secure core infrastructure. To guarantee the security of your data, familiarize yourself with how it is managed, encrypted, and kept. On Google Cloud, virtual private clouds (VPCs) offer a private pool of shared resources that you can manage using firewall rules to manage network ingress and egress traffic. Utilize Google’s data loss prevention API to identify and safeguard critical data in your applications.

#3 Consistently enforce Security Keys for admin accounts 

The most power in the organization is granted to GCP users with Organization Administrator credentials.

The most secure type of two-factor authentication should be used to safeguard these accounts: Security Key Enforcement. Following Google Cloud Security best practices, ensure administrators log in using Security Keys rather than flimsier second factors like SMS or one-time passwords (OTP). The physical keys used to access Google Organization Administrator Accounts are known as Security Keys. Instead of sending a code, they send an encrypted signature, ensuring that logins cannot be stolen.

#4 Know the threats to your internal and external security

You can stay proactive and maintain the security of your applications by being aware of and understanding your internal and external risks. Hazards can be found anywhere. Thus, it’s essential to comprehend any security model of your choosing to take preventative measures, respond to attacks efficiently, and follow Google Cloud Security best practices.

For instance, the STRIDE Threat Model aids us in keeping track of all the dangers your applications can encounter on Google Cloud. Spoofing, tampering, repudiation, denial of service, and elevation of privilege are acronyms for STRIDE. Each of these hazards is explained in the infographic below.

#5 Prevent the use of service account keys that users manage

Follow Google Cloud Security best practices and avoid the use of service account keys that users manage. Anyone with access to the keys can access resources through the service account. Cloud Platform services like App Engine and Compute Engine use GCP-managed keys. There is no way to download these keys. The key is kept by Google, which rotates it virtually every week.

On the other hand, user-controlled keys are created, downloaded, and managed by the user and have a 10-year life span.

#6 Search for Cloud KMS keys that are accessible to the public or anonymously

Anyone can use it by giving all users or authenticated users access to the dataset. Depending on whether or not sensitive data is kept there, such access might not be preferred to follow Google Cloud Security best practices.

In this situation, ensure that the general public cannot access a Cloud KMS encryption key anonymously. All Users or All Authenticated Users are not permitted to access resources by default in Cloud KMS.

#7 Actively monitor your environment

Intruders hiding out and attempting to get the data from your applications can be found by actively monitoring your environment and applications. You can follow Google Cloud Security best practices and maintain the security of your applications by being aware of who is accessing your data and keeping an eye out for any unusual activities.

The performance of your applications running on Google Cloud is monitored, troubleshooted, and enhanced via Google Cloud Monitoring, formerly known as Stackdriver Monitoring. This fully managed, scalable service offers simple-to-use dashboards with a variety of performance indicators and notifications/alerts.

#8 Maintain Data Encryption

All data’s true meaning is concealed when encoded or turned into a secret code. Thanks to encryption, data access is restricted to those authorized to see it.

Google Cloud Platform automatically encrypts data you store because it encrypts data at rest by default. Before the application writes the data to your disk, it is encrypted. Each key is encrypted using a set of master keys, which also apply to practically all your cloud-based data.

You can control your encryption key if you have more sensitive data. You have customer-provided and customer-managed keys for this.

#9 Ensure that uniform bucket-level access is enabled for Cloud Storage buckets.

Follow Google Cloud Security Best practices and enable uniform bucket-level access for Cloud Storage buckets.

There are two methods for allowing people access to buckets and items in cloud storage. Access Control Lists (ACL) and cloud-based identity and access management (Cloud IAM). These systems operate side by side. The user needs permission from one of the systems to access the cloud storage resource.

Google Cloud uses Cloud IAM, which can provide various rights at the bucket and project levels. Cloud Storage solely utilizes ACLs and has few choices for granting permissions, but you can do it on a per-object (fine-grained) basis.

All Cloud Storage resources (buckets and objects) lose their ACLs when uniform bucket-level access capabilities are enabled, and Cloud IAM is the only access method.

#10 Create and maintain firewalls

A firewall is a wall or barrier connected to the system to keep outsiders out. They are restrictions affixed to systems in cloud computing that permit outgoing communication while preventing illegal access.

By filtering inside traffic and preventing outsiders from obtaining unauthorized access to the data, security rules on incoming and outgoing traffic could assist in creating a barrier between the system and the intruders.

You can implement firewall rules in your Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) to allow or restrict connections from your virtual machine (VM). You can establish, identify, and enforce VPC firewall rules within the configuration to safeguard your apps regardless of their setup or operating system, even if they haven’t yet begun.

How will PingSafe help with Google Cloud Security?

PingSafe is a comprehensive Cloud-Native Application Protection Platform (CNAPP) that controls defends, and eliminates cluster misconfigurations and container vulnerabilities. It is a top Google Cloud Security Tools since it can identify and fix cloud misconfigurations before deployment.

Features:

  • Our compliance dashboard thoroughly overviews compliance scores and regulations across numerous CSPs. Provides real-time information and notifications in one consolidated spot to assist you in promptly addressing concerns.
  • By optimizing your compliance strategy and giving you complete insight into your cloud asset inventory enables you to monitor compliance scores over time, spot trends, and strengthen your security posture.
  • The ISO/IEC 27001:2022, NIST 800-53 Revision 5, SOC 2, PCI DSS, MITRE ATT&CK, HIPAA, CIS, CSA, and other standards are supported by our Compliance module.
  • PingSafe’s agentless scanning quickly begins looking over 25+ databases, including CVE, RedHat, NVD, MSRP, Kubernetes Security, OSVDB, and more, for any known vulnerabilities in your cloud assets.
  • Checks clusters for errors using the built-in KSPM policies of PingSafe.

Conclusion

In today’s digital environment, protecting your applications and data on Google Cloud Platform is crucial. You can ensure your information’s privacy, accuracy, and availability by following these Google Cloud Security best practices. In this article, we also read about the components, shared responsibility model, and challenges faced while implementing Google Cloud Security.