(In)Security in the Cloud

More and more enterprises are choosing to deploy their applications “in the cloud”. Over 90% of companies utilize the cloud in some capacity—most of these in a hybrid cloud format with multiple public and private clouds working together. In fact, the average cloud footprint supports over 90 cloud applications.

The cloud enables greater performance, agility, innovation, and scalability. But in a cloud architecture with data and applications spread across so many moving parts, complexity rises, and the consistent security for all of those pieces is harder to ensure.

The security strategies that organizations commonly use often aren’t enough to contend with the evolving nature of the threat landscape. Some of these include:

  • Security solutions. Businesses can elect to use point solutions from third-party vendors to secure their cloud environments. Some of these solutions are merely traditional applications virtualized for use in the cloud, while others are designed to be cloud-first. Regardless of which type of solution a business employs, both of these options lack thorough integration with multiple clouds, leading to a fragmented security approach that doesn’t comprehensively protect your environment.
  • Native public cloud security measures. Most cloud service providers offer built-in access and data protection tools. However, to make the most of these measures, businesses must choose between using a single cloud provider, thereby limiting flexibility, or making sacrifices when it comes to integration between various cloud providers’ security features. Furthermore, these tools can suffer from improper configuration or use, which opens the door for potential breaches.

Effective security in the multi-cloud space requires far-reaching visibility and comprehensive knowledge of the latest threats. A constant security structure that spans the entirety of a multi-cloud environment keeps your data and your business safe.

Effectively Securing Cloud Environments

The right cloud security approach should protect data and ensure continued uptime without impacting the ability to develop and implement applications. No matter the size of the multi-cloud environment or where data and applications are located, security must be continuous and integrated, leaving no gaps for potential breaches. The business must be able to expand and realize new opportunities without being constrained by security. 

Choosing Security-Focused Partnerships

Because a multi-cloud environment incorporates a range of services, including private clouds and Infrastructure, Platform, and Software-as-a-Service offerings, organizations must work in concert with service providers to implement comprehensive security strategies. The best choices allow you to integrate security measures—like monitoring and authentication—directly into those services.

When choosing security solutions, look for options that are designed for multi-cloud environments, not just retrofitted for cloud use. These offerings should include extensive logging, management, and reporting capabilities, as well as centralized security information and event management (SIEM) tools. In addition, by partnering with vendors that work closely with major cloud service providers, your business can be confident that its security measures will remain intact even if it changes cloud providers.

Centralization, Transparency, and Insight

Success in security comes when enterprises can monitor and analyze their environment through a unified view, rather than a disparate, divided approach that requires the use of multiple tools and dashboards. Fostering this consistency defeats the shortfalls that exist in the gaps between infrastructure components. When security measures are working together across your enterprise, they combine to manage and repel breaches, no matter what parts of your landscape those threats may target.

Securing Private Clouds

Public and private clouds are similar in many ways, but securing them are very different processes. Consistent security across public and private clouds is paramount. A unified toolset and a single method of monitoring security concerns leads to success in a multi-cloud environment.

Securing IaaS and PaaS

The way cloud applications are designed has evolved, as the applications now utilize various parts of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offerings. While this speeds development and enhances scalability, it also means that you must take a security approach that covers all pieces in play.

In-line security defends against threats by providing deep insight into traffic throughout your cloud environment. Workloads are segmented to enable interaction while limiting the damage threats can cause.

API-based security is a transparent option that lets teams monitor the cloud for potential problems. Additionally, it enables customizable reporting and compliance with regulations and standards.  

Host-based security assigns a host to the cloud environment. It monitors for potential breaches and can help defend the system until vulnerabilities can be covered.

Securing SaaS

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications, like Salesforce, Google Drive, and more, are widely adopted in today’s e-business marketplace. However, they lead to their own kinds of issues, often stemming from indiscretions in how they are utilized or failures in security protections. Gaining deeper insight into how SaaS offerings are used—and what risks they pose—allows you to manage and control potential threats.

SaaS application security can be deployed in-line as a cloud service or physical appliance. This approach enables your business to protect key data across your applications. On the other hand, security powered by APIs creates a more in-depth security posture, offering a deeper dive into data movement, utilization, and risk.

Like PaaS and IaaS offerings, SaaS ones must be secured in a continuous and seamless way across the entire environment to ensure the maximum level of security.

About the Author


Jeff Quinlan

North American Security Sales Leader

A cyber security veteran, Jeff Quinlan has been deeply involved in delivering enterprise security solutions to many of the largest financial services providers in North America for the past 15 years.