Cloud Data Center

Understanding the increasing challenges of cloud and cloud security

Cloud migration has offered many advantages to organizations such as making it much easier to manage data as well as make transactions smoother than before. However, with almost all the data in the cloud, the potential risks abound.

In Fortinet’s blog post “Redefining the Cloud and Cloud Security,” the company discussed how to address the growing cloud challenges. In the article, the cybersecurity company said that in just a few years, ” over 80% of enterprises have adopted two or more public cloud infrastructure providers, and nearly two-thirds are using three or more.”

Cloud challenges

When people use the cloud every time they go online, the data keeps piling up. How many terabytes are stored for every single day by thousands, if not millions of users? The realization that it is easy to deploy a cloud application than to commission it hit the organizations. Data management and security have become quite a concern.

Some organizations don’t have a unified cloud service. Fortinet said different departments may have a different cloud service provider that may not be “funneled through the central IT department” that may have created a “shadow IT.” This may create confusion and the IT department cannot fully monitor activities within the organization such as what applications are being used risking entry of malicious software.

Employees use different cloud service providers that have their own set of security tools. This makes it difficult for organizations “to impose any sort of consistency to security policy distribution, orchestration, or enforcement.”

Fortinet also said that there may be organizations that may not be aware that not all cloud providers offer cloud security. There are companies that offer a package while others don’t.

Cloud solutions have three categories and they are deployment models, delivery models, and service providers. Under the deployment model, there is the public, private, hybrid, and community. For delivery models, there is the IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service), PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service), and SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). In service providers, there are the major and minor providers.

New risks

Many organizations now are using multi-cloud environments whether by intention or not, which means, it has become a security nightmare. What organizations should watch out for are data breaches, insufficient identity, credentials and access management, insecure interfaces and APIs, system vulnerabilities, account hijacking, increased opportunities for malicious insiders, an increased footprint for Advanced Persistent Threats, data loss and insufficient due diligence due to an exponential increase in network complexity, and the hijacking and abuse of cloud services by cybercriminals.

Fortinet advises for organizations to “strike a balance among “ubiquitous, on-demand cloud services and establishing consistent controls, policies, and processes.”

When choosing security solutions, companies need to find something that goes well with its whole environment without leaving any stone unturned. As emerging technologies are becoming more mainstream, they also need to consider the security needs of automation.

Like software, companies have to update their legacy security solutions with more sophisticated versions that “can function natively and consistent across any environment, whether physical or cloud. Solutions that operate natively in cloud environments need to also be aware of cloud-based resources as well as leverage native cloud services in order to better support the scale and dynamic nature of cloud workloads. Ultimately, organizations should also strive to fully decouple security management from data classification in order to classify resources on any infrastructure in the most natural way possible, while consistently referring to these objects when defining the multi-cloud security policy.”

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