IT Security

Human error is one of the top reasons for data breaches in the cloud, as administrators forget to turn on basic security controls. No matter what type of cloud services you are consuming, keep these rules in mind to secure your cloud workloads.

When making the big shift to the cloud, companies often become hyper-focused on the cost savings, greater scalability, and increased agility they hope to see as a result of their cloud adoption. While these are all benefits of the cloud, proper controls must be in place to experience these benefits.

Many times, in eagerness to ignite change, companies are falling prey to a common misperception: that existing, or default, cybersecurity measures will suffice to secure their distributed multi-cloud environments.

To keep data safe, secure and compliant in this new environment and your IT teams must take certain actions. They must ensure that their cloud solutions have the right security capabilities in place and they must ensure that those solutions are compatible with security deployed elsewhere across the distributed network.

The reality is, misconfiguring your cloud security controls could very well leave the kind of gaps that cyber criminals are hoping for. In fact, Gartner predicts that by this year, 99% of all cloud security incidents will be the customer’s fault due to device misconfigurations.

So how do we fix this? Start by putting the top cloud security controls in place.

Why Misconfigurations are The Problem

This summer’s infamous Capital One breach is the most prominent recent example. The breach resulted from a misconfigured open-source web application firewall (WAF), which the financial services company used in its operations that are hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The misconfigured WAF was apparently permitted to list all the files in any AWS data buckets and read the contents of each file. The misconfiguration allowed the attacker to trick the firewall into transmitting requests to a key back-end resource on AWS, according to the Krebs On Security blog.

Misconfiguration continue to be a common challenge with cloud services.

“The challenge exists not in the security of the cloud itself, but in the policies and technologies for security and control of the technology,” according to Gartner. “In nearly all cases, it is the user, not the cloud provider, who fails to manage the controls used to protect an organization’s data,” adding that “CIOs must change their line of questioning from ‘Is the cloud secure?’ to ‘Am I using the cloud securely?’”

A number of elements are at play in creating and intensifying the misconfiguration problem. Many times, especially with public cloud providers, it is assumed that cloud service provider is in charge of securing the cloud environment.

This is not the case. Public cloud providers such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google only take care of their physical data centers and the server hardware the virtual machines run on. The customer is completely in charge of protecting its virtual machines and applications.

With a private cloud provider, more security controls are in place. On top of the security defenses a provider offers, it is still up to the customers to protect their own networks, users, and applications.

The growing adoption of multi-cloud environments among enterprises, coupled with a lack of complete awareness of all the cloud services in use at an enterprise, is exacerbating the misconfiguration problem, according to McAfee.

In its recent study, 76 percent of enterprises reported having a multi-cloud environment, but an examination of customer data found that actually 92 percent of those environments are multi-cloud, an increase of 18 percent year over year.

Know What You Are Responsible For

All cloud services aren’t the same and the level of responsibility varies. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers make sure their applications are protected and that the data is being transmitted and stored securely, but that’s not always the case with Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), environments.

Double-check with your providers to understand who is in charge of each cloud security control. Checking the contract details for cloud services can be a dry, confusing and extensive process, but do not overlook the details.

Cloud service agreements (CSAs), service-level agreements (SLAs), and other contracts exist in a continuum from simple to sophisticated.

The customer agreement describes the relationship between the customer and provider, including explicit definitions of the roles, responsibilities, and execution of processes.

SLAs specifically address service levels and acceptable thresholds for service delivery, such as performance, uptime, and serviceability, including the ability of the firm’s technical support to configure its tools, debug faults, and provide maintenance.

Improve Visibility

Major cloud providers all offer some level of logging tools, so make sure to turn on security logging and monitoring to see unauthorized access attempts and other issues.

Key capabilities of effective workload protection and platform security tools include:

  • Traffic analysis
  • Inspection of data stored in the cloud for sensitive or malicious content
  • Regular configuration monitoring and assessments
  • Recommendations for how to improve vulnerable areas of the cloud environment
  • Alerts for configuration issues
  • Identification of compliance issues due to misconfiguration

Some providers, like LightEdge, are backed by one of the strongest service guarantees in the industry. Our support team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – no exceptions. Our technical support starts with direct access to technicians in LightEdge’s Network Operations Center (NOC) via a toll-free number for emergencies.

The NOC experts also handle all formal monitoring, logging, and event management to ensure that pertinent information is recognized, identified, recorded, and processed in a timely manner. This level of support is included with every LightEdge service and is designed to accommodate the unique needs of each customer.

Security Automation

Given the security skills gap, the current state of the security field is not enough to cover all enterprise needs in today’s environment. Even if the skill shortage was a non-issue, remember what we said earlier. Human error is one of the top reasons for data breaches in the cloud.

One approach being used right now includes plugins that provide administrators more visibility into multi-vendor ecosystems, enabling automation and simplified management. When application changes arise, IT and DevOps teams can stay current without having to update their security policies every time app attributes evolve.

Get a Clear Cloud Security Strategy

Combined, all of these threat intelligence sources will help security teams and automated controls to better defend the infrastructures they’re charged with protecting.

As cloud adoption grows, think more carefully about the cloud security controls you’re implementing to reduce complexity, while ensuring comprehensive security. Cutting-edge features such as those outlined above will ensure that your organization is prepared as you face new and more complex security challenges as the business embraces digital innovation.

Take Your Cloud Security to the Next Level with LightEdge’s Help

LightEdge is working with tons of organizations like yours to deliver predictable and contained costs to alleviate this stress. We’ve actually seen such a drastic impact in pricing that we’re setting up calls to perform a free Reduced Cost Estimate showing you exactly how much we could save you right away.

Our goal is to cut your costs right away and get you on a predictable model you never have to worry about again. The reliable availability of business IT is essential to the management and livelihood of every company, large or small. All elements hinge on the dependability of your technology to deliver vital information right when you need it.

When asked about our differentiators against the competition, one of the first answers is always – our network. Our history with network goes all the way back to 1996 when we were founded as an ISP. We spent over two decades making sure our network and infrastructure were scalable, redundant, and secure enough to meet the most challenging IT needs.

LightEdge’s highly trained compliance and network security experts take the guesswork out of keeping your business protected. LightEdge’s top priorities include compliance and network security to guarantee that our customer’s data is protected. LightEdge is compliant with:

Have you heard enough? Get in touch with us today to learn how we can save you money immediately. During this global pandemic, saving money where is matters is crucial to the survival of a business.

We have empowered hundreds of organizations across the nation through cost containment, security, and reliability. We are ready to do the same for yours.


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Claire Kirk

With a background in compliance & security, cloud hosting, colocation, and business continuity, Claire uses her knowledge and experience to create educational content for end users. A creator at heart, she specializes in B2B marketing with a focus in content creation and technical literacy.

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