Cloud security fundamentals for an informed buyer

Lacework EditorialSeptember 27, 20224 min read

Abstract architectural photo shot from the ground. Features a lot of modern windows and steel.Given the complexity of cloud environments, how do you know what cloud security solution is right for you? There are many factors to consider, including the coordination of technologies, processes, controls, and policies. The cloud also lacks traditional network or infrastructure architecture, meaning that cloud users and cloud service providers must work together to protect a given environment.

But security offerings vary widely. Since each cloud provider offers different levels of security controls and policies, customers must sort through a sea of options before selecting a cloud environment that works for their particular business needs. To make an informed decision before choosing a provider, buyers need some key information. 

If you’re looking to purchase a cloud security solution? Read on to find out what you need to know.

Resources and processes to consider

Deploying workloads can get complicated in the cloud as security environments are undergoing constant change. These changes are occurring across the board, especially where the following processes and resources are concerned. Here are the primary ones to consider:

  • Microservices: These offer increased flexibility at runtime and better resource utilization efficiency, but the need to manage every microservice in a cloud app can quickly up your complexity level.
  • DevOps: While the continuous deployment of code in a cloud environment can speed development, it can also increase your attack surface.
  • Ephemeral workloads: It’s typical to maximize resources by recycling data, firewalls, IP addresses, and drives. These workloads, and the cloud environments they’re in, change rapidly.
  • Containers: It’s much easier to deploy functions, applications, and microservices in containerized environments. Still, they increase complexity — and bring the possibility of new vulnerabilities.

Taken together, the activity from these different components can quickly grow your attack surface. And given that a cloud environment can generate billions of events each month, threat detection becomes an even greater challenge.

 A layered defense strategy

In dynamic cloud environments, legacy approaches no longer cut it. The cloud requires multiple layers of defense, including router, firewall, antivirus/malware protection, intrusion detection and prevention, and identity and access management (IAM). 

Combined, these layers of defense can help prevent unauthorized network access and activity. It’s much harder for a malicious actor to break through all these levels of security. But no matter how many security tools you use to restrict access to your own assets, you have to remember that attackers share your infrastructure. Therefore, it’s important to leverage cloud providers’ tools, federation capabilities, and identity sources.

For an extra layer of defense, you need deep visibility into your infrastructure. However, in your search for increased visibility, you might run up against the limits of what your cloud provider can offer. Cloud providers often do not deliver a comprehensive view of anomalous activity, and they may not account for the ever-changing addition and removal of microservices and containers.

Security capabilities to include

A constantly evolving cloud environment demands a new approach: one that is continuous and operates in real time. To monitor all the activity in your environment, you need continuous behavioral analysis and anomaly detection. This can correlate and log activity among containers, users, and applications.

It’s also pivotal to trigger automatic alerts through monitoring and analysis. With behavioral analytics, you can monitor your complex environment with non-rules-based event detection and analysis. Plus, you can perform continuous, real time configuration and compliance auditing across cloud storage and compute instances; continuous, real time access and configuration monitoring activity across APIs (and developer and user accounts); and continuous, real time monitoring of workload and deep container activity. Since public clouds offer limited visibility into network activity, you also need agents on containers that monitor access control, file integrity, and orchestration tools.

Above all, know that you don’t have to choose between security and speed. With new security tools that can perform deep cloud infrastructure monitoring and workload analysis, it’s possible to scale and deploy while staying secure. 

Making a purchase decision

Cloud security solutions have evolved significantly in recent years. The industry has started to move away from on-prem and legacy solutions, and toward original approaches that can identify known vulnerabilities and threats with ease. But many of these solutions leave notable gaps: what about the need to address data complexity or true runtime behaviors?

That’s where Lacework comes in. Built in the cloud and for the cloud, Lacework is a data-driven solution that works at scale to analyze, store, and secure huge amounts of cloud data. Lacework covers the full range of security needs, offering:

  • Cloud configuration
  • Cloud log detection
  • Host and network intrusion detection (HIDS, NIDS)
  • Host vulnerability assessment
  • Host configuration assessment
  • Container runtime detection (container IDS)
  • Container vulnerability assessment
  • Application relationships
  • Serverless monitoring
  • Investigation time under five minutes
  • Orchestration runtime detection

With automated security and compliance that spans Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, Azure, and private clouds, Lacework offers unparalleled visibility, intrusion detection, compliance, and one-click investigation — all in a single platform. Lacework delivers context-rich data, empowering users to get to the root of new vulnerabilities and threats, all while strengthening their security postures and meeting compliance goals.

Ready to learn more about the fundamentals of securing your cloud environment? For a deeper dive into this topic, please read our Cloud Security Fundamentals ebook.

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