What is Cloud Security?

June 8, 2020

In a loose sense, think of cloud computing like banking.

You could store all your money under your mattress, or you could place it in a remote, secure location where it's managed responsibly by a third party, like a bank. It's not a perfect metaphor, but it gets the basic idea across for public cloud computing.

Similarly, the same idea could be applied to data, infrastructure, and applications on your personal computer. They can be stored locally in the machine or they could be owned and operated through the internet, held and managed at a separate location by a trusted third party.

Unlike public cloud computing, private cloud computing allows for storing files in a heavily controlled server of your own instead of a separate entity, but will require much more stringently trained IT security staff.

What's The Point Of Cloud Security, And How Does It Work?

Cloud security is the protection of data, infrastructure, and systems operated in cloud computing environments. The issues it can handle include data protection, network security, virtualization security, application integrity, and identity management.

Tangible examples of cloud security include the protection of credit card numbers, health information, personal identity, and so on. Threats include data breaches, data loss, account hijacking, service traffic hijacking, insecure APIs, incorrectly choosing the appropriate cloud storage provider, and sharing technology.

Data is protected with a mixture of encryption, integrity protection, two-factor authentication, data loss prevention, firewall services, and authorization protocol. Cloud security is also achieved through administrative control, given that cloud environments are highly connected and allow for threats to bypass traditional defenses. This includes careful use of account credentials and prudent delegation of administrative access to information systems.

What Is The "Cloud" Exactly?

The "cloud" is a relationship between a user and a provider. There are three ways cloud computing is deployed by a provider: public, private, and hybrid. In a public cloud, you're renting space from a provider in a multi-tenancy. It's like an apartment building. You share server space with others while the provider takes care of the infrastructure, just like you lease an apartment in a building shared by others while the landlord takes care of the building.

You can have troublesome neighbors in an apartment building, much like in a public cloud, which is where cloud security services comes into play, resolving problems like DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks.

A private cloud is when the infrastructure is given to a specific organization and no others. A hybrid cloud is a mixture of public and private cloud computing.

A private cloud will suffer from many of the same issues as a public cloud, unfortunately. The problems that a public cloud provider will have are just adopted by the organization that decides to take on a private cloud ecosystem. The public cloud vendor will likely have a skilled IT staff on hand to validate and maintain security protocols, which is something the private cloud computing organization will seriously need to consider building and/or training.

Cloud computing comes in three models: infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and software-as-a-service (SaaS).

IaaS is achieved through common third party hosts like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google. The organization gains access to a virtualized computing resources where it's a pay-as-you-use approach. You pay for what you consume, kind of like electricity.

PaaS is a great option for organizations to develop, test, deploy, and manage applications without a layered IT infrastructure, including servers, storage, and backup. You can focus on code and applications without the complexity of managing overhead and infrastructure.

SaaS is a commonly used tool in modern society. It replaces software on your device with a subscription-based online service, like iCloud or Microsoft Office 365.

Why Does Cloud Security Matter To Organizations?

Consider the role businesses have in transactions and customer service. Think about healthcare providers. What about public, private, and post-secondary schools? Look at the government.

Any modern organization will have sensitive data that will be accessed by multiple stakeholders, not all of them being secure. There are threats that will seek to maliciously access and utilize consumer data, and the more sensitive, the more valuable.

Organizations are beholden to their customers, users, and benefactors in the digital era. Security threats are consistently growing and evolving as technology becomes more and more sophisticated.

There are laws that work to protect consumers by mandating regulatory compliance to protect customer privacy.

Threats don't just arise externally. There are internal issues, too, with data leakage and improper use of administrative access that may otherwise expose an organization to problems down the line.

If your organization is in need of cloud security services help contact us or give us a call at 1.888.262.6925