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Cloud security continues to be one of the top concerns for IT leaders. Over the last 18 months, cloud adoption has increased as organizations have aggressively pursued digital initiatives in response to economic realities. And the push is expected to continue.

Why is cloud security still so troubling for many organizations? There are many reasons, not the least of which is fear. We have all seen some very costly examples of data breaches play out in big bold letters in the media.

The truth is humbling: your organization never will be 100% safe from a security breach. It’s simply impossible. There are too many ways bad actors can attack you using increasingly sophisticated, organized methods.

You can, however, reduce your risk of serious loss with a solid security strategy.

Five Key Elements of a Strong Cloud Security Strategy

Today’s security landscape is complex. Protecting your organization requires accepting the fact that your systems will be breached at some point; therefore, your strategy should contain both pre-breach and post-breach elements. Here are five key elements of a strong cloud security strategy:

1. Visibility

Lack of visibility around cloud infrastructure is one of the top concerns for many organizations. The cloud makes it easy to spin up new workloads at any time, perhaps to address a short-term project or spike in demand, and those assets can be easily forgotten once the project is over. Cloud environments are dynamic, not static. Without visibility to changes in your environment, your organization can be left exposed to potential security vulnerabilities. After all, you can’t protect what you can’t see.

2. Exposure Management

Protecting your organization is about limiting your exposure and reducing risk. Prioritizing and addressing vulnerabilities that can cause disruption to your business requires a team effort. You need alignment on the top concerns between your IT and Security groups and a strong working relationship between them to effectively manage your exposure.

3. Prevention Controls

Another concern for organizations, particularly those with large on-premise or hybrid environments, is the lack of tool compatibility. Many find that their existing tools won’t translate to the cloud. In addition, as their IT estate increases in the cloud, there are new attack vectors to worry about. As you expand into the cloud, ensure you have the right security controls in place and a plan to graduate controls as necessary to protect you against emerging attack vectors.

4. Detection

When your security is breached, what happens? Are you able to detect it? For many organizations, this can be a challenge because there is a shortage of security expertise in the marketplace. Globally, over 3 million cybersecurity positions were unfilled as of 2020. Your security system needs to identify when something is wrong, so you can take action to minimize the impact. Bad actors use automated systems to attack, so you have to watch your environment constantly or have a third party do it for you.

5. Response

Every effective cloud security strategy includes a plan of action. You have to assume a breach will occur at some point. As a result, you need a documented plan with defined roles and responsibilities — including names of specific departments and individuals — so everyone in the organization knows what is expected of them to minimize the impact and return to normal business operations.  The plan should also be tested, reviewed and updated at least once a year.

Cloud security is a shared responsibility between you and your cloud provider. To develop a cloud security strategy that will protect your organization, it’s important that you understand where the provider stops and where your responsibility begins.

Alert Logic is a managed detection and response (MDR) provider. Our security experts, data scientists, vulnerability researchers, and 24/7 monitoring capability can help you proactively identify vulnerabilities and root out bad actors so you can deliver the best protection possible for your organization’s applications and data.

For more information on cloud security strategy and how we can help, check out our webinar Five Key Elements of a Strong Cloud Security Strategy.

Antonio Sanchez
About the Author
Antonio Sanchez
Antonio Sanchez serves on the Product Marketing team at Alert Logic. He has over 20 years of experience in the IT industry focusing on cyber security, information management, and disaster recovery solutions to help organizations of all sizes manage threats and improve their security posture. Antonio is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and has held various leadership roles at Symantec, Forcepoint, and Dell.

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