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Cloud Security Technologies – Introduction
With many companies and organisations moving to cloud computing as as a strategy for maximizing the efficiency and productivity of their businesses, it therefore is of utmost importance that those companies deter the risks associated with cloud computing such as privacy issues, unauthorized access to management interface, data loss, internet vulnerabilities, encryption vulnerabilities, malicious attacks etc, by employing the service of various cloud security technologies.
Cloud security technologies handle these risks through the following ways; deterrence, prevention, detection and correction. Each of these ways is very important in ensure absolute security of data and information stored on the cloud.
These cloud security technologies serve as a deterrence to these risks which if not properly checked could crash the entire business.
To be able to get a full grasp of these technologies we are going to be discussing in this article, it is necessary that we start by answering the question on everybody’s mind.
What is Cloud Security?
Cloud security or what we can also refer to as Cloud computing security set of strategies, technologies, applications, and practices employed to protect virtual IP, data, applications and services that are hosted on the cloud.
Cloud security can also be said to be those procedures and technologies that secure cloud computing environments against both external and internal cybersecurity threats.
It cuts across a wide broad of fields including network security and more important information security.
A 100% efficiency of cloud security is in doubt or rather not achievable since there is a never ending force on the other side working day and night to bypass these set up strategies however a properly set up cloud security strategy goes a great length in reducing the risks of cyber attacks.
The major aim of businesses setting up and using a cloud security strategy technologies is to reduce the threats posed by these risks as much as possible by protecting data, managing user authentication and access, and staying operational in the face of a cyber attack. What are the risks associated with cloud security?
Risks Associated with Cloud Security
The following risks are the downside of cloud computing which businesses have to fix by employing cloud security technologies.
Cloud computing being an emerging technology has to deal with the risk of having customers’ data and information stored on a non-physical storage system where anyone can access if not secured properly by an appropriate cloud security technology.
Unauthorized Access to Management Interface
The risk of one user gaining unauthorized access to the management interface and hacking into the business admin panel can not be overemphasized. Cloud computing security technologies help to keep this kind of situation in check by providing series of authentication before giving access to any user.
Hosting your company database on the cloud requires that an internet connection and protocols must be established before anyone could access the data.
This however results to your business data being vunlurable to hackers attacks because it is open and rely heavily on internet connectivity. Another downside is that any form of internet disconnection with shut down the daily activities and consequently will lead to loss of customers and income.
Malicious Software Attacks
A malicious attack, such as a DDoS attack or a malware infection, leaves the companies using cloud computing open and vulnerable to many criminal activities.
Criminals see this as an opportunity to exploit people and company businesses. They develop software to infect people’s devices and gain access to their cloud.
Types of Cloud Security
Cloud security varies from each other because the cloud security technology has to be in line with the cloud computing that various companies are using.
Therefore we can classify cloud security based on the type of cloud computing where it is employed.
The three main classification of cloud security are as follows:
- Public Cloud Services which includes software as a service (SaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and platform as a service (PaaS).
- Private Cloud Services which can be either by a public cloud provider or an internal staff.
- Hybrid Cloud Services: a combined cloud computing configuration involving an internal staff and optionally a public cloud provider.
Attributes of Cloud Security Technologies
For a cloud security technology to be effective, it must possess the following attributes.
Whichever strategy you want to apply to your company to effectively manage your database the following attributes must come to play.
Encryption is a way of encoding data such that only authorized parties can understand the information.
If an hacker hacks into a company’s cloud database and gets hold of unencrypted data, they will succeed in performing numerous unlawful actions with the data. They could sell the information, leak the information to your competitors or use the information to perform some more attacks and gain more access.
But when your data is encrypted, even if a hacker manages to gain access to your database, all they could find will be an encoded data which they will not be able to perform any useful action with, unless the hacker is am internal user in the first place.
The types of encryption in use today is as follows;
- Attribute Based Encryption (ABE) ( Ciphertext-policy ABE (CP-ABE) and Key-policy ABE (KP-ABE) )
- Fully homomorphic encryption (FHE)
- Searchable encryption (SE)
Several tools can be used to encrypt your data.
A VPN should be used to encrypt traffic between data stored in the cloud which is connected at a network layer.
SSL/TLS is more appropriate is the data are connected to an application layer or in encrypting traffic between a user and the cloud.
Identity and Access Management (IAM)
Identity and Access Management (IAM) as the name implies keep track of users’ profile and what actions they are allowed to perform.
They give authorized users access and deny access to unauthorized users accordingly. Identity and Access Management is very important in cloud computing because users’ identity and access privileges are the major factors in determining who can access data.
These technologies also provide the ability to securely store identity and profile data as well as data governance functions to ensure that only data that is necessary and relevant is shared.
IAM helps reduce the risks of unauthorized users having access to internal assets and authorized users exceeding their privileges. The right IAM solution will help curb several kinds of cyber attacks such as account takeover and insider attack.
Identity and Access Management may be several different services, or a single technology that combines all of the abilities below:
- Identity Provider (IdP)
- Access Control
- Multi Factor Authentication (MFA)
- Single Sign on (SSO)
A cloud firewall provides a layer of protection around cloud assets by blocking malicious web traffic. Unlike traditional firewalls, which are hosted on-premise and defend the network perimeter, cloud firewalls are hosted in the cloud and form a virtual security barrier around cloud infrastructure.
Cloud firewalls block DDoS attacks, malicious bot activity, and vulnerability exploits. This reduces the chances of a cyber attack crippling an company’s cloud infrastructure.
Cloud Security Technologies
The technologies employed to ensure maximum performance and effectiveness of Cloud computing security are:
1. Cloud Infrastructure Entitlements Management (CIEM)
Cloud infrastructure entitlements management (CIEM) which is sometimes called cloud entitlements management solution or cloud permissions management solution is used to manage identities and access privileges in cloud and multi-cloud environments.
CIEM is very important in cloud computing security because is makes up for the inability of Identity and Access Management (IAM) to secure and control access to highly dynamic cloud infrastructure.
Cloud Infrastructure Entitlements Management solutions achieves this feat by improving visibility, detecting and remediating IAM misconfigurations to establish least-privilege access throughout single and multi-cloud environments.
Features of CIEM
- CIEM provide limited visibility and control over cloud infrastructure entitlements.
- They are designed to manage privilege in complex and dynamic environments.
- CIEM solutions provide a centralized dashboard to track and control access permissions
- They provide AI-powered analysis and assessment tools
2. Confidential Computing
Confidential computing is a cloud computing technology that allows you to encrypt data while it is being processed in the cloud by performing computation in a hardware based Trust Execution Environment (TEE).
In a case where a malware or other unauthorized code attempts to access the keys or if the authorized code is hacked or altered in any way, the TEE denies access to the keys and cancels the computation.
Uses of Confidential Computing Technology
- To protect data processed at the edge.
- To protect sensitive data, even while in use.
- To protect intellectual property.
- To extend cloud computing benefits to sensitive workloads.
- To eliminate concerns when choosing cloud providers.
- To collaborate securely with partners on new cloud solutions.
3. SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM)
This is a cloud security technology that provides automated continuous monitoring of cloud-based Software As A Service (SaaS) applications like to reduce risky misconfigurations, prevent configuration drift etc.
Benefits of SSPM
- Prevents cloud misconfigurations.
- Detects overly permissive settings.
- Simplifies compliance management.
4. Security Service Edge
Security Service Edge (SSE), the security aspect of Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is a set of integrated, cloud-delivered, security services that mediates secure connections between authorized users and business resources by using identity and laid down policy.
Benefits of Security Services Edge (SSE)
- It Improve visibility and control
- It delivers a better experience to end-users
- It protects business data better
- Reduces IT cost
- Supports key business initiatives
5. Multi Cloud Key Management As A Service (KMaaS)
Multi-Cloud Key Management is the process of using a vendor solution to provide a centralized and secure key management system across multiple cloud environments.
It has to do with extending key management capabilities into environments where multiple different clouds are in use.
Features of Multi Cloud KMaaS
- Keys are marked for automated key rotation on a per-cloud schedule.
- Each cloud service login is authenticated and authorized by the service provider.
- It separates encryption keys from data encryption and decryption operations for compliance.
6. Serverless Function Security
Serverless function security is a cloud security technology where serverless applications rely on managed services that remove the need to manage, patch, and secure cloud infrastructure and virtual machines.
7. Cloud Data Protection Getaways
Cloud data protection is a cloud security technology that deals with the practice of securing a company’s data in a cloud environment, irrespective of the location of the daya or whether it is at rest or in motion, and whether it is self managed by the company or by a third party.
Benefits of Cloud Data Protection Getaways
- Prevent and detect data loss and disruption.
- Secure applications and data across multiple cloud environments.
- Manage user access better.
- Identify and minimize security threats, suspicious user behavior, malware and others.
- Maintain complete visibility into all user, folder and file activity.
8. Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA)
Zero trust network access (ZTNA) which can also be called software-defined perimeter (SDP) is a set of cloud security technologies and functionalities that enable secure access to internal applications for remote users.
ZTNA improves flexibility, agility and scalability, enabling digital ecosystems to work without exposing services directly to the internet and reducing the risks of distributed denial of service attacks.
Uses of Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA)
- As a VPN alternative
- To accelerate M&A integration
- To secure Multi-cloud access
- It reduces third-party risk
9. Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM)
Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) is a cloud security technologies that are designed to identify problems of misconfiguration and compliance risks in the cloud.
CSPM is best suitable for companies and businesses that make use of a cloud-first strategy and want to extend their cloud security practices to hybrid cloud and multi-cloud environments.
Features of CSPM
- It detects and automatically correct cloud misconfigurations.
- It monitors storage buckets, encryption and account permissions.
- It works with IaaS, SaaS and PaaS platforms in hybrid cloud and multi-cloud environments.
10. Cloud Workload Protection Platforms (CWPP)
Cloud Workload Protection Platform (CWPP) is a clou security technology that secures workloads from all types of cyber threats, through a unified cloud workload protection across multiple providers.
Benefits of Cloud Workload Protection Platforms
- CWPP provides complete visibility into workload.
- CWPP protects your entire cloud-native stack, on any cloud, across all workloads.
11. Multi Cloud Managed Services
Multi-cloud management is a set of cloud security technologies that allow companies to monitor and secure applications and workloads across multiple public clouds.
Benefits of Multi Cloud Managed Services
- Reduced strain on IT teams
- Cost reduction
12. Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB)
Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) is an on-premises or cloud security policy enforcement point that mediates between cloud service consumers and cloud service providers.
Uses of CASB
- It governs your companies cloud usage based on identity, service, activity, application, and data.
- Protects and prevents loss of sensitive data.
- Guards against cloud-based threats such as malware and ransomware.
Cloud Security Technologies – Conclusion
In modern businesses there has been a growing transition to cloud-based environments and IaaS, Paas, or SaaS computing models.
As companies continue to migrate to the cloud, understanding the security requirements for keeping data safe has therefore become critical.