The steps to cyber security with the cloud and its utilisation can be daunting if you don’t know the necessary processes, policies, and procedures. A locked-down cloud control plane is integral to maintaining cloud security, especially in multi-cloud environments.

There are 3 fundamentals of cloud security:

  • Know the company’s environment
  • Focus on prevention and secure design
  • Adopt cloud policies

Know the company’s environment

Resource misconfigurations will always slip past guardrails and into the run-time environment, that’s unavoidable. Finding and remediating them before attackers can exploit them and knowing the environment makes sure the resources aren’t misconfigured. Security pros need to think like a hacker to understand the vulnerabilities in the environment if a hacker gains initial penetration.

Most cloud exploits are because of imperfect design and architecture; cloud security functions mainly as a design problem, not a maintenance problem. It’s very different from data centre security.

Focus on prevention and secure design

Because the IT team must know its environment to thwart attackers and prevent security events from occurring, the team must implement secure designs that start not with the security team but with the people working in the cloud every day: developers.

Inherently-secure cloud architecture denies attackers the ability to discover knowledge about the environment and move laterally — should they gain initial penetration. Secure design focuses on the configuration and use of identity and access management (IAM) resources as well as resource access policies.

Adopt cloud policies

Cloud policies are the guidelines under which companies operate in the cloud. Often implemented in order to ensure the integrity and privacy of company-owned information, cloud policies can also be used for financial management, cost optimisation, performance management, and network security.

Compliance can mean a lot of different things, depending on your business function or what kinds of internal or external regulations directly impact your work. External compliance requirements — those dictated by governments, organizations, and industries — primarily focus on privacy. Two examples include:

  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): governs the handling of sensitive patient information
  • Payment Card Industry’s PCI DSS standard: governs storage, processing, and handling of credit card information

Internal compliance focuses on protecting valuable organizational data like intellectual property, strategic plans, and business records.