Avoid costly cloud security mistakes by examining your network architecture, access controls and permissions, and threat monitoring practices
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Organizations must understand the shared responsibility model of cloud security by managing access controls, permissions and network configuration.
Organizations should start with a secure cloud computing architecture and enforce security on their portion of the shared responsibility model with cloud service providers.
To ensure ironclad cloud security, remain vigilant and take proactive measures in an ever-changing threat landscape.
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As organizations mature in their data and application migration to the cloud, cloud security is a top priority. Cloud computing has revolutionized how organizations operate, enabling them to easily scale their operations and be cost efficient. Along with these benefits, this transformation brings the additional responsibility of ensuring a secure cloud environment.
Cloud security mistakes and potential threats
A common mistake in cloud security is the misunderstanding of the shared responsibility model between cloud service providers (CSPs) and the organization using the cloud services. CSPs offer secure services, but it is the organizations' responsibility to use those services securely. This key distinction highlights the significance of "security of the cloud" versus "security in the cloud." Insufficient access controls, excessive permissions and a lack of privileges are common vulnerabilities that lead to costly security breaches.
Understanding the potential dangers of these mistakes is crucial. Misconfigured cloud services can expose sensitive data to unauthorized access or exfiltration. Moreover, implicit trust can lead to undetected persistent threats. Overly permissive access to storage services has resulted in significant data breaches, while improper network security configuration can jeopardize critical infrastructure components.
Unfortunately, mistakes related to cloud security are exceedingly common. Countless organizations have suffered the consequences of these missteps, highlighting the importance of proactively addressing and preventing them.
Steps to avoid cloud security mistakes
Organizations must adopt a secure cloud computing architecture and enforce security on their portion of the shared responsibility model. Key steps include:
1. Properly implementing security controls, leveraging FedRAMP-approved services and adhering to established frameworks, such as NIST 800-53 and or the Risk Management Framework, to ensure comprehensive security measures
2. Following the principle of least privileges, limiting access to only what is necessary to reduce the risk of unauthorized actions
3. Utilizing multi-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security of user authentication
4. Adopting a zero trust approach, where trust is never assumed and continuous verification is mandatory
5. Continuously monitoring and auditing your cloud environment to identify and rectify potential vulnerabilities.
Preventing future cloud security mistakes
To ensure ironclad cloud security, it is important to remain vigilant and take proactive measures. This includes continuous monitoring and implementing multi-layered security to detect threats early. Analyzing log data from software-as-a-service solutions on a regular basis can help identify suspicious activities. By making informed, risk-based decisions from these insights, organizations can effectively protect their data and assets.
By prioritizing these essential practices and remaining committed to security, organizations can strengthen their cloud security posture and minimize the risk of security incidents and breaches. In the ever-changing landscape of cloud computing, these measures are crucial for safeguarding sensitive information and maintaining the trust of customers and stakeholders.
Learn more about how we support customers with cybersecurity solutions and capabilities at SAIC's Cybersecurity page.
Posted by: Ravi Raghava
Vice President of Cloud and Digital Solutions
Ravi Raghava is vice president of Cloud and Digital Solutions for Science Application International Corporation (SAIC). Raghava is a transformational leader who has ushered numerous federal agencies through their IT and digital transformation journeys to realize increased innovation, capabilities, speed, savings and security.
Prior to joining SAIC in 2022, Raghava held key positions including chief technology officer at GDIT’s Cloud Center of Excellence and vice president for ManTech’s (InfoZen) Cloud, DevSecOps, Cyber Security Solutions Practice. In these roles, he led teams of highly skilled senior solution architects, capture managers and subject matter experts.
Raghava boasts an impressive track record of driving digital transformation across enterprise and supporting U.S. Federal, State and Local governments. With over 24 years of experience in information technology leadership within public and commercial sectors, he possesses a keen ability to strategically accelerate new business growth, whether through organic development or contractual endeavors, utilizing technological innovation and digital transformation.
Raghava is an expert in building “Centers of Excellence” in diverse domains such as cloud, cybersecurity, enterprise IT, DevOps, data and AI/ML.
Raghava was recently recognized as a finalist for the 2023 Cloud Executive of the Year Pinnacle award and a one of the Top 20 Cloud Executive to Watch in 2023 by WashingtonExec.
Raghava earned his Bachelors of Science degree from the University of Madras in Chennai, India.