March 4, 2024

What is cloud computing? A complete guide to strategies and trends

Cloud computing is no longer just for larger companies. Moving to the cloud is now cost-effective for even the smallest organizations. However, security in cloud computing may be a completely new frontier.

Data security in cloud computing is a particular concern. As companies move their digital assets from their hardware to the cloud, they need to ensure they are secure. Fortunately, the latest trends help overcome many of the challenges of cloud computing. With solid operational strategies, businesses can achieve top-notch security in cloud computing.

What is cloud security?

Cloud security is a specialized field of cybersecurity that focuses on the unique challenges of cloud computing (Kaspersky, 2023). While traditional network security focuses on protecting local networks, such as computers and servers, cloud security requires different strategies.

Most cloud computing environments are made up of shared and virtualized resources. Additionally, cloud resources are theoretically exposed to more attacks since services are available over the Internet rather than behind a company’s firewall. Today’s cybersecurity professionals need to employ unique strategies and stay up to date with the latest trends to keep their company’s assets safe.

The latest trends in cloud security

Fortunately, many excellent approaches help address security issues in cloud computing (Connectria, 2023). These are some of the latest cloud security trends in use today.

Zero trust security models

Historically, successful data breaches have exploited vulnerabilities that allow privilege escalation. At a high level, this means that an attacker accesses a system using the credentials of a standard user, one without limited privileges. They then exploit a flaw that allows them to gain administrative rights with unlimited access to system data and user accounts.

Zero trust security is a modern approach to cybersecurity where no account should be trusted by default. In the zero trust model, access levels are continually verified and granted as needed.

The zero trust approach addresses some of the unique challenges in cloud computing security. All users and devices accessing a server or network go through strong authentication methods, such as MFA (multi-factor authentication), and are then granted the minimum privileges necessary to perform specific tasks. If a higher level of access is needed, access control policies are checked before the system grants more privileges.

Containers and serverless security

As a company moves to the cloud, it reduces the number of servers and other hardware its IT department must maintain. Cloud computing efficiently uses today’s powerful processors, fast networks, and huge amounts of storage. Cloud virtual machines allow businesses to run multiple servers on one physical machine.

Containers take that concept one step further. Containers are a lightweight form of virtualization that packages applications and their dependencies in a portable way. This means that if, for example, a company wants to run a web server, it will no longer have to dedicate physical or virtual machines to host the server software. A container with just the necessary bits runs in the cloud, appearing to the outside world as if it were your dedicated machine. Many containers can run on the same cloud instance for maximum efficiency.

This approach is sometimes called serverless computing or Function as a Service (FaaS). The application-level isolation inherent in serverless computing restricts the attack surface that attackers can exploit. Businesses gain cloud network security by not managing multiple servers and operating systems that could be exploited.

AI and machine learning for threat detection

Since cloud computing provides flexible and scalable infrastructure, it is a perfect match for artificial intelligence and machine learning. AI and ML algorithms require significant computing power, large amounts of data storage, and the fastest networks. The cloud provides all this cost-effectively.

AI and ML can also provide solutions to security issues in cloud computing. AI and ML analyze user behavior and can alert staff to potential problems, such as multiple failed login attempts or unauthorized access. AI-powered threat intelligence platforms process massive amounts of security data to keep the cybersecurity team aware of potential threats.

With the right combination of automation and rapid human response, AI and machine learning enable rapid responses to emerging threats. AI and ML algorithms in the cloud are constantly learning, keeping businesses up to date with the latest threats.

Blockchain technology

Blockchain first gained global attention as the ledger behind Bitcoin. But the technology has many other uses. It is especially suitable for improving data security in cloud computing.

The blockchain structure is, appropriately, a chain of blocks. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block in the chain. This creates a tamper-proof chronological record of data transactions. Storing metadata (information that describes the characteristics of other data) in a blockchain ledger ensures that the data has not been tampered with.

Additionally, since blockchain offers transparency and auditability, cloud users can be sure of several things about their data. This is partly due to the notarization and timestamping features of blockchain. The combination of features adds data security to cloud computing because users can trust the information they work with.

Strategies to strengthen cloud security

The tools mentioned above add layers of security to cloud computing. However, some proven strategies can further strengthen a company’s security posture (Crowdstrike, 2023). Here’s a rundown of some of the most popular ones:

  • Strong identity and access management (IAM) practices Tight control over user identities and authentication methods helps ensure that only authorized users can access your specific digital resources. Role-based access controls (RBAC) are a subset of IAM focused on associating privilege levels with job functionality, which fits well with the zero trust model.
  • Data encryption and secure key management Cloud providers frequently offer data encryption services; Companies should take advantage of them. Storing, sending, and receiving data in encrypted form adds an extra layer of security that can prevent data loss.
  • Continuous monitoring and response to security incidents Automated monitoring solutions and robust incident response time can make the difference when a company’s systems are compromised. It is one of the best ways to mitigate data loss or stop attacks before systems are compromised.
  • Cloud Workload Protection and Vulnerability Management Regular vulnerability assessments and rigorous patch management help reduce the risk of exploiting cloud systems. Cloud workload protection tools provide a protective layer that monitors for malicious activity or unauthorized changes to cloud environments.
  • Periodic security audits and compliance assessments Regular security audits and compliance assessments help identify vulnerabilities in cloud network security and human operations. A routine audit schedule also keeps companies compliant with legal requirements and customer specifications.
  • Employee training and awareness programsWhile every business today needs a great cybersecurity team, true security requires everyone’s participation. Training and awareness programs for all employees help reduce human errors. Trained staff are more likely to recognize security incidents when they occur so they can be reported promptly.

Become a Certified Cloud Security Engineer (C|CSE)

As more and more companies transition to the cloud, the need for more cloud professionals has also peaked. This is especially true because moving to the cloud is not without its challenges. Most companies pay for multiple cloud services from different providers. For example, they could use Microsoft cloud services for email, collaboration, and other daily business activities, along with Amazon Web Services (AWS) for application development.

Multi-cloud environments must work together seamlessly while paying close attention to cloud network security. EC-Council’s Certified Cloud Security Engineer (C|CSE) focuses on equipping professionals with best practices, technologies, frameworks, etc. cloud security. More than 50 complex laboratories are dedicated to providing students with hands-on experience in handling real-world situations. global cloud security risks.

In the C|CSE course, you will learn how to plan, implement and execute cloud platform security for an organization. Security concepts such as IAM, monitoring and encryption are covered in depth. Candidates will learn how to implement security for multi-cloud and private, multi-tenant, and hybrid cloud environments.

References

Connectria. (2023, June 8). Cloud security trends and challenges. https://www.connectria.com/blog/cloud-security-trends-and-challenges

Mass strike. (2023, April 20). 16 cloud security best practices. https://www.crowdstrike.com/cybersecurity-101/cloud-security/cloud-security-best-practices

Kaspersky. (North Dakota). What is cloud security? https://usa.kaspersky.com/resource-center/definitions/what-is-cloud-security

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