Cloud Computing: A Comprehensive Guide to Trends and Strategies  

Cloud computing is no longer just for the largest enterprises. Moving to the cloud is now cost-effective for even the smallest organizations. However, security in cloud computing can be an entirely new frontier.

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

What Is Cloud Security?

Cloud security is a specialized cybersecurity field focusing on the unique challenges of cloud computing (Kaspersky, 2023). Whereas traditional network security is focused on securing on-premises 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 open to more attacks since the services are available over the internet instead of behind a company’s firewall. Today’s cybersecurity professionals need to employ unique strategies and keep up with the latest trends to keep their company’s assets safe.

The Latest Cloud Security Trends

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

Zero-trust Security Models

Successful data breaches have historically exploited vulnerabilities that allow privilege escalation. At a high level, this means 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 the system’s data and user accounts.

Zero-trust security is a modern cybersecurity approach that no account should be trusted by default. In the zero-trust model, access levels are continuously 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 least privileges required to perform specific tasks. If a higher level of access is needed, access control policies are verified before the system grants further privileges.

Containers and Serverless Security

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

Containers take that concept a step further. Containers are a lightweight form of virtualization that packages applications and their dependencies in a portable manner. This means that if, for instance, a company wants to run a web server, they no longer have to devote physical or virtual machines to host the server software. A container with only the needed bits runs in the cloud, appearing to the outside world as if it were its dedicated machine. Many containers can run in 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. Companies gain cloud network security by not managing multiple servers and operating systems that could be exploited.

AI and Machine Learning for Threat Detection

Because cloud computing provides flexible and scalable infrastructure, it’s 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 cost-effectively provides all this.

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, like multiple failed login attempts or unauthorized access. AI-powered threat intelligence platforms process massive amounts of security data to keep a cybersecurity team aware of potential threats.

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

Blockchain Technology

Blockchain first gained worldwide attention as the ledger behind Bitcoin. But the technology has many other uses. It’s especially well-suited for enhancing data security in cloud computing.

The structure of blockchain is, appropriately enough, 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 data has not been tampered with.

Furthermore, since blockchain offers transparency and auditability, cloud users can be sure of several things about their data. This is partly due to blockchain’s timestamping and notarization features. Combining features adds data security to cloud computing because users can trust the information they are working 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 is a rundown of some of the most popular:

  • Robust Identity and Access Management (IAM) Practices Strict control over user identities and authentication methods helps ensure that only authorized users can access their specific digital resources. Role-based access controls (RBAC) is 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 Security Incident Response Automated monitoring solutions and robust incident response time can make all the difference when a company’s systems are compromised. It’s one of the best ways to mitigate data loss or stop attacks before any 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, monitoring for malicious activity or unauthorized changes to cloud environments.
  • Regular 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 in compliance with legal requirements and customer specifications.
  • Employee Training and Awareness Programs While an excellent cybersecurity team is needed for every company today, true security requires everyone’s participation. Training and awareness programs for all employees help cut down on human error. A knowledgeable staff is more likely to recognize security incidents when they happen so they can be promptly reported.
  •  

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 free of challenges. Most companies pay for multiple cloud services from different providers. For example, they might use Microsoft’s cloud services for email, collaboration, and other day-to-day 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) is focused on equipping professionals with cloud security best practices, technologies, frameworks, etc. More than 50 complex labs are dedicated to giving learners practical, hands-on experience in dealing with real-world 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 like IAM, monitoring, and encryption are covered in depth. Candidates will learn how to implement security for multi-cloud environments and private, multi-tenant, and hybrid clouds.

References

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

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

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

Share this Article
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
WhatsApp
Pinterest
You may also like
Recent Articles

Train with EC-Council