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What Is Cloud Security Monitoring?
Cloud security monitoring is the activity of continuously monitoring both virtual and physical servers to examine data for threats and vulnerabilities. Automation is frequently used by cloud security monitoring solutions to track and evaluate activities connected to data, applications, and infrastructure.
How Does Cloud Security Monitoring Work?
Solutions for cloud security monitoring can be integrated directly into the infrastructure for hosting cloud servers (like AWS’s CloudWatch, for instance), or they can be added as third-party enhancements to an existing system (like Blumira). Using current security management solutions, organizations may also undertake cloud monitoring locally.
Similar to a SIEM, cloud security monitoring gathers log data from several servers. The use of alerts and incident response are enabled by advanced cloud monitoring technologies, which analyze and correlate collected data for signs of aberrant activity. Typically, a cloud security monitoring service will provide:
Visibility. The visibility of an organization’s infrastructure is naturally reduced when moving to the cloud; as a result, cloud monitoring security systems should provide a single point of access to monitor application, user, and file behavior and spot potential assaults.
Scalability. Large amounts of data scattered over a number of remote sites should be under the observation of cloud security monitoring technologies.
Auditing. Large amounts of data scattered over a number of remote sites should be under the observation of cloud security monitoring technologies.
Continuous monitoring. To swiftly detect malicious activity and stop an attack, advanced cloud security monitoring solutions should continuously monitor behavior in real-time.
Integration. An organization’s current services, such as productivity suites (like Microsoft 365 and G Suite), endpoint security products (like Crowdstrike and VMware Carbon Black), and identity and authentication services, should ideally be integrated with a cloud monitoring solution to optimize visibility (i.e. Duo and Okta).
The 5 Cloud Security Risks
Security risks in cloud systems are distinct from those in conventional on-premises setups. Typical challenges to cloud security include:
Misconfigurations. One of the largest risks to cloud security is human mistake, which can also occur when the proper security controls aren’t set up on a cloud platform. Unintentionally opening up access to an S3 bucket or permitting uncontrolled outbound access are two examples of misconfigurations. A real-world example of how cloud misconfiguration can be detrimental was the Capital One breach in 2019, in which personal information of Capital One clients was exposed by a former Amazon employee thanks to a wrongly configured web application firewall (WAF).
Data loss. Cloud services’ collaboration and data sharing capabilities are two-edged swords because they make it too simple for users to share information with the incorrect internal parties or external third parties. According to Synopsys’ Cloud Security Study, data loss and leakage is the top cloud security issue for 64% of cybersecurity experts.
API vulnerabilities. APIs are used by cloud applications to communicate with one another, although they are not necessarily secure. Denial-of-service (DoS) attacks can be launched by malicious actors to take advantage of APIs and get access to corporate data.
Malware. The threat of malware exists in the cloud. Since data and documents are continually being sent to and received via the cloud, threat actors have additional opportunity to conduct malware attacks like hyperjacking and hypervisor infections.
IAM complexity. In a cloud or hybrid cloud context, identity and access management (IAM) can be incredibly complicated. Just determining who has access to which resources may be a time-consuming and challenging procedure for larger organizations. Incorrect user provisioning and deprovisioning as well as “zombie” SaaS accounts (inactive users) are further IAM issues in the cloud. IAM can become more siloed and complicated in hybrid settings where users must access a variety of SaaS and on-premises applications. This can result in incorrect configurations and security holes.
The 4 Benefits of Cloud Security Monitoring
The advantages of cloud security monitoring are as follows:
- Maintain compliance. From HIPAA to PCI DSS, practically every significant law has a monitoring requirement. Cloud-based businesses must utilize monitoring technologies to prevent costly fines and compliance infractions.
- Identify vulnerabilities. Automatic monitoring tools can help IT and security personnel immediately notify them of anomalies and find patterns that suggest unsafe or malicious conduct. Overall, this increases the visibility and observability of cloud infrastructures.
- Prevent loss of business. Customers’ trust and happiness may decline as a result of an unreported security event, especially if client data was exposed. It may even force the closure of corporate activities. A potentially disastrous data breach can be prevented by using cloud security monitoring to help with business continuity and data protection.
- Increase security maturity. A mature infosec model calls for a proactive, multi-layered security strategy from a company. Organizations can integrate the cloud as one of those layers with the help of a cloud monitoring system, which also offers visibility into the complete environment.
Cloud Security Monitoring Challenges
Lack of cloud security strategy. To support remote workers, many businesses hurriedly shift to the cloud without first establishing a defined cloud security plan.
The following questions should have clear responses from key stakeholders:
- How can we monitor modifications to or setups of cloud policies?
- How can we maintain track of who has access to our cloud-based assets?
- How are we going to handle backups? Will there be copies made elsewhere?
- Will our cloud service provider have access to corporate information? What are their options if that is the case?
Your organization won’t be able to completely profit from a cloud security monitoring service without a clear strategy.
Alert fatigue. Many cloud monitoring tools are noisy, which can make it difficult for IT and security teams to determine what needs to be their primary emphasis. According to a FireEye study, security systems can generate up to 10,000 warnings per month for some firms. Reduced noise and the possibility of receiving false positives are two benefits of cloud monitoring solutions with prioritized alerts, which boost security.
Lack of context. Only when a company knows how to evaluate logs and warnings are they useful. When receiving alerts, security teams should know what to look out for and why; they should also know what to do. In addition to prioritized warnings, a best-in-class threat detection and response platform will include playbooks and remediation methods.
The 3 Cloud Security Monitoring Best Practices
These recommended methods for cloud security monitoring will assist you in being strategic, gaining visibility into your environment, and adding layers of security to ward off threats:
Carefully evaluate cloud service providers. When it comes to security, the top three cloud service providers (Amazon, Google, and Microsoft) are very comparable. Organizations should assess levels of compliance and data/network availability regardless of the vendor to make sure it meets their demands.
Perform a cloud infrastructure inventory. To comprehend possible vulnerabilities like shadow IT, security teams should thoroughly examine their current cloud infrastructure. Companies should regularly audit their cloud infrastructures and be aware of any modifications made in order to assist pinpoint the root causes of misconfigurations.
Take a layered approach to cloud security. Organizations can get the maximum visibility into their IT stack by implementing security layers. AWS GuardDuty and other native cloud monitoring tools can help with that, but it’s also vital to use specialized solutions to handle various tech stack components, from physical hardware to orchestration.
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