What Is Cloud Security?

Cloud security refers to measures taken to protect data, infrastructure, applications and the integrity of cloud environments.

Written by Anthony Corbo
Published on Jan. 03, 2023
What Is Cloud Security?
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Mitchell Telatnik | Jan 06, 2023

Cloud security is crucial because users rely on access to their cloud data at any time. As a result, cloud environments must be continuously maintained, making cloud security a vital part of overall enterprise security.

Cloud Security: 6 Types

  1. IAM
  2. Network and device security
  3. Secrurity monitoring/alerting
  4. Governance
  5. Disaster recovery and business continuity planning
  6. Legal compliance

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What Are the Types of Cloud Security?

Cloud security includes identity and access management, governance, network and device security; security monitoring and alerting; disaster recovery and business continuity planning; and legal compliance.

Cloud security requires a combination of multiple strategies to ensure across-the-board protection from emerging threats and exposed vulnerabilities. Cloud environments include physical and virtual networks; data storage drives, data servers, virtualization frameworks, operating systems, runtime environments and several other components. This means multiple methods must be utilized to ensure there are no exposed vulnerabilities and threats can be mitigated. Cloud security is accomplished through a combination of data security, identity and access management (IAM); data retention, business continuity planning and governance, such as threat prevention; detection and mitigation policies.

  1. IAM is the process that ensures the correct user has specific access privileges. Common IAM techniques include password management and multi-factor authentication.
  2. Network and device security involves using tools to put barriers between the access and visibility of data in contained environments, including techniques such as encryption and VPNs.
  3. Security monitoring/alerting is the installation of both automated and monitored systems, such as a Security Incident and Event Management (SIEM) platform and a Security Operations Center (SOC), that can check for and immediately bring attention to unusual or compromising activity.
  4. Governance is the enforcing of policies to prevent, detect and mitigate threats, such as user behavior policies and training.
  5. Disaster recovery and business continuity planning are recovery measures taken in the event of technical disaster. These measures include data redundancy tactics like establishing backups and frameworks for testing the validity of backups.
  6. Legal compliance refers to the adherence to legislative policies designed to protect user privacy (GDPR), the integrity of financial data (SOX), government assets (ITAR) and more.
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What Are the 4 Areas of Cloud Security?

Four cloud security solutions include cloud data visibility, control over cloud data, access to cloud data and applications, and compliance.

Cloud security consists of several elements working simultaneously to ensure comprehensive security against threats. Four critical security solutions include visibility into cloud data, control over cloud data, access to cloud data and applications, and compliance.

  1. Visibility into cloud data allows authorized users to view and directly monitor data stored in a cloud environment as well as the network’s stability, with alerting systems used to facilitate mitigation of compromising events.
  2. Control over cloud data pertains to data classification, data loss prevention, collaboration controls and encryption processes.
  3. Access to cloud data and applications is the implementation of user access control systems, device access control systems, abnormal behavior identification systems, malware prevention measures and privileged access control.
  4. Compliance are requirements in place that include data and applications in cloud environments, such as risk assessment and compliance assessment.
What Is Cloud Security? | Video: IBM Technology


What Does Cloud Security Include?

The four central pillars of cloud security are visibility and compliance, compute-based security, network protections, and identity and access management.

  1. Visibility and compliance requires continuous improvement to build an effective cloud security solution, with asset inventory, proven frameworks and data security measures all utilized.
  2. Compute-based security involves all security measures taken to protect end systems, managed services, and workloads running within the cloud This includes measures such as automated vulnerability management and ongoing operational security.
  3. Network protections involve using micro-segmentation to create protection measures dedicated to the live flow of traffic, securing both the cloud environment and the user.
  4. Identity and access management involves the design, configuration and administration of measures that authenticate, authorize and account for (AAA) user and machine identities.
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