Every dollar spent on security must produce a return on investment (ROI) in the form of better detection or prevention. As an IT leader, finding the tool that meets this requirement is not always easy. It is tempting for CISOs and CIOs to succumb to the “shiny toy” syndrome: to buy the newest tool claiming to address the security challenges facing their hybrid environment.

With cloud adoption on the rise, securing cloud assets will be a critical aspect of supporting digital transformation efforts and the continuous delivery of applications and services to customers well into the future.

However, embracing the cloud widens the attack surface. That attack surface includes private, public, and hybrid environments. A traditional approach to security simply doesn’t provide the level of security needed to protect this environment and requires organizations to have granular visibility over cloud events.

Organizations need a new approach — one that provides them with the visibility and control they need while also supporting the continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline.

How to begin

To address these challenges head-on, organizations are turning to Cloud Workload Protection (CWP) platforms. But how do IT and business leaders know which boxes these solutions should check? Which solution is best for addressing cloud security threats based on the changing adversary landscape?

To help guide the decision-making process, here are 4 key evaluation points:

1.     Cloud protection as an extension of endpoint security

Focusing on endpoint security alone is not sufficient to secure the hybrid environments many organizations now must protect. For those organizations, choosing the right cloud workload protection platform is vital.

2. Understanding adversary actions against your cloud workloads

Real-time, up-to-date threat intelligence is a critical consideration when evaluating CWP platforms. As adversaries ramp up actions to exploit cloud services, having the latest information about attacker tactics and applying it successfully is a necessary part of breach prevention.

For example, CrowdStrike researchers noted seeing adversaries targeting neglected cloud infrastructure slated for retirement that still contains sensitive data and adversaries leveraging common cloud services ‌to obfuscate malicious activity.

A proper approach to securing cloud resources leverages enriched threat intelligence to deliver a visual representation of relationships across account roles, workloads, and APIs to provide deeper context for a faster, more effective response.

3. Complete visibility into misconfiguration, vulnerabilities, and more

Closing the door on attackers also involves identifying the vulnerabilities and misconfiguration they’re most likely to exploit. A sound approach to cloud security will weave these capabilities into the CI/CD pipeline, enabling organizations to catch vulnerabilities early.

For example, they can create verified image policies to guarantee that only approved images may pass through the pipeline. By continuously scanning container images for known vulnerabilities and configuration issues and integrating security with developer toolchains, organizations can speed up application delivery and empower DevOps teams.

Catching vulnerabilities is also the job of cloud security posture management technology. These solutions allow organizations to continuously monitor the compliance of all their cloud resources. This ability is critical because misconfiguration is at the heart of many data leaks and breaches. Having these solutions bolstering your cloud security strategy will enable you to reduce risk and embrace the cloud with more confidence.

4. Managed threat hunting

Technology alone is not enough. As adversaries refine their tradecraft to avoid detection, access to managed detection and response (MDR) and advanced threat hunting services for the cloud can be the difference in stopping a breach. Managed services should be able to leverage up-to-the-minute threat intelligence to search for stealthy and sophisticated attacks. This human touch adds a team of experts that can augment existing security capabilities and improve customers’ ability to detect and respond to threats.

Choosing the right cloud workload protection platform

Weighing the differences between security vendors is not always simple. However, there are some must-haves for cloud security solutions. From detection to prevention to integration with DevOps tools, organizations need to adopt the capabilities that put them in the best position to take advantage of cloud computing as securely as possible.

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Connect with the Author:

Gui Alvarenga

Sr. Product Marketing, Cloud Security