Enterprises are shifting to the Cloud faster than ever before. They realize the benefits that Cloud provides for the business, how it unlocks new capabilities and enables them to increase their operational efficiency.
As companies across the globe increase their reliance on the Cloud, they have a greater responsibility to secure their Cloud environments and their data in the Cloud. New policies are required to deal with the security challenges at the device, network and Cloud-level.
A comprehensive security strategy that’s designed to secure an organization’s data and applications in the Cloud is called the Cloud Security Architecture. It should be viewed through the prism of shared responsibility with the Cloud service provider.
Over the years, a sort of herd mentality has emerged which has formulated the Cloud security wisdom that you’ll now see being repeatedly shared. As we’ll explain, a lot of it can be safely ignored.
Cloud security myths you shouldn’t believe in
Rely completely on “Trusted Providers” for security
Trusted providers carry a presumption of security. A service provider that countless businesses are already trusting with their security seems like a sure bet. If others are fine with entrusting the provider with essentially the keys to their business-critical information, what’s stopping you?
It’s true that most of the trusted providers do invest heavily in ensuring that the safety and security of their customers’ data is not breached. However, Cloud security needs to be viewed through the lens of shared responsibility.
Simply relying on a trusted provider isn’t enough. As Cloud workloads increase so do their security challenges. In multiple Cloud scenarios, it’s very important to secure access, enforce identity management and run constant security audits.
You, the Cloud tenant, are always the ultimate custodian of your data and safeguarding it is your responsibility. The provider’s job is to ensure that their hardware isn’t compromised, software vulnerabilities are patched before they can be exploited, and their data facilities are secure.
It’s vital to be vigilant against cybersecurity threats. Virtual machines must be patched, permissions must be controlled appropriately, and access monitoring must be centralized to always have a birds-eye view of cloud security.
Having more security tools is better
They say that too many cooks spoil the broth. This conventional wisdom is often ignored when it comes to mapping out a Cloud security architecture. A very simplistic belief has emerged that more security tools will guarantee more security. It doesn’t quite work like that.
Countless surveys have found that this belief is very closely held by many organizations that are moving to the Cloud. They feel that too many tools will be required to ensure the security of their Cloud architecture. Surveys have also found that each user relies on dozens of discrete security tools.
That can often cause more problems than it fixes. With multiple tools in use from different providers, gaps can emerge that can be exploited by attack vectors. The greater the number of tools in use, the higher the Cloud complexity. It also happens quite often that these different tools don’t integrate well with each other. That only increases the risk of vulnerabilities that could be exploited.
Simplification of the architecture can actually help improve overall security. This reduces the number of gaps that may be open to attack vectors.
Significant breaches are only caused by sophisticated attacks
There’s no denying the fact that the Cloud remains at risk of sophisticated attacks. Highly prominent organizations, particularly those that host customer data, are increasingly being targeted through sophisticated attacks. However, this isn’t the only way they can suffer a significant breach.
This Cloud security myth is actually leading to organizations underestimating cloud risks. Their next significant breach could just as easily come from user error. Gartner predicts that through 2025, 99% of Cloud security failures cloud result from user error.
A user simply not following established Cloud security and responsibility policies remains a crucial vector that can be exploited by attackers. It’s as if the attacker happened upon an unlocked door just because the user forgot to lock it.
Most instances where Cloud security gets compromised are actually opportunistic. One widely used method is to search for publicly accessible AWS S3 data buckets. You’ll be surprised to know how many organizations fail to properly secure them and thus end up having to deal with a significant data breach.
CVEs are the only vulnerabilities worth worrying about
Believing that only securing against Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures or CVEs is enough happens to be one of the biggest Cloud security myths out there. The thinking behind this is that since these are publicly disclosed flaws, patching them ensures that nobody will exploit them, and the architecture will remain secure.
Pathing CVEs is undoubtedly important but that still doesn’t mitigate the risk of other attack vectors. If anything, it actually increases the risk since organizations could have their guard down once they’ve patched up all the CVEs.
For example, compromised passwords are often the primary attack vector in significant breaches. They’re not a CVE and yet can cause irreparable damage to an organization’s Cloud security.
A lot of users have the habit of reusing their passwords online. That means a breach from one unrelated service could end up compromising an organization’s Cloud security if users’ work passwords are the same.
Similarly, misconfiguration isn’t a CVE but remains a crucial vector that needs to be protected. There can be many instances of misconfiguration such as disabled encryption, default credentials and the accidental public sharing of cloud databases.
Take a holistic approach to Cloud security architecture
Much of the Cloud security dogma that has evolved over the years can actually prove to be detrimental. Organizations need to take a more holistic approach to their Cloud security architecture that aims to cover all potential attack vectors. That requires a considerable amount of due diligence on the tools being used, Cloud security policies being enforced and the providers being chosen.