How to Improve Breach Detection in the Cloud

Security and proper incident response are business-critical concerns which cannot be treated as afterthoughts. In fact, as technology supports almost all business-critical decisions and activities, security and compliance must be prioritized and embedded into an organization’s business practices. In complex, cloud environments, the threat of breaches and other security issues still loom large, but with a smart strategy that includes visibility and corresponding incident response, organizations can minimize damage and maintain control.

Managing the aftermath of a security breach or cyberattack is no easy task. Incident response is often referred to as the most painful part of the cloud security workflow. Businesses which continuously monitor security and improve incident response processes in a proactive manner are fundamentally stronger and more resilient to security incidents and, in turn, have fewer fires to put out. But, one thing is certain: Incidents do happen. The question is, are some of these incidents avoidable?

Yes and no.

With more and more members of your team pushing code and making changes to configurations and access for your cloud environments, how can you be certain that they are all adhering to security best practices and policies? The best cloud practitioners are embedding security experts and automation within product teams so they can work side-by-side from the start. This proactive approach provides the guardrails to prevent misconfiguring AWS services and enables DevOps to maintain their rapid pace of innovation while security ensures that risks are mitigated.

Testing and monitoring everything that is deployed to production at the speed of continuous development is impossible with the limited resources most organizations have. Employing automation, prioritizing, and then spending time around those concerns are the way to go.

So, if a breach is unavoidable, what are the best practices for how to respond?

The first step is to identify and prioritize the items that could affect the business and immediately initiate the organization’s incident response protocol. Some IT incidents cause downtime and/or can compromise security and there are many different types of incidents that need to be considered:

  • Security incidents causing availability downtime, like a DDoS attack, could be extremely damaging. This is especially the case for financial services or ecommerce companies where services are dependent upon data accessibility and access.
  • Information breaches or leaks always rank high on the priority list, mostly because of the severe repercussions stemming from loss or damage of an organization’s assets and the loss of a customer, investor, or stockholder trust is beyond measurement. A breach could come in the form of a threat to the network, systems, Intellectual Property (IP), and/or Personally Identifiable Information (PII).
  • A security incident of any kind can lead to service degradation, additional downtime, and regulatory and financial penalties.

The way enterprises approach security is changing to meet the rapid adoption of the public cloud. While agile and driven to meet business needs through innovative technology, the cloud has also introduced many potential risks and threats which are increasingly difficult to keep up with. Human activity doesn’t scale to meet these demands, nor can it adapt to the complexity required to continuously update rules, and organizations need to know their security posture is aligned with how fast they need to move.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash