Traditional network security protects endpoints and the data center within the perimeter by applying physical and software controls to protect the infrastructure from unauthorized use. This approach protected the company’s servers and other devices from attacks that could steal or compromise data or other assets.
But security strategies must evolve as businesses migrate workloads to the cloud. The cloud has propelled the transformation, resulting in hybrid architectures where some workloads run in the cloud, while others run on-premises.
Secure connectivity is crucial for the stability of these environments and the protection of the assets that run in them. But this hybrid architecture also presents new complexities, as organizations track activity across highly distributed resources. As a result, companies are looking for ways to integrate cloud network security protections across multiple layers of their infrastructure.
Cloud network security encompasses all the policies, protections and practices required to protect infrastructure, systems and data against unauthorized access or abuse, intentional or unintentional. A successful cloud network security strategy builds on the fundamental building blocks of conventional network security: protect, detect, and respond. It also forces organizations to understand the unique issues associated with protecting hybrid environments on demand. Here are five essential factors to consider.
1. Shared responsibility
The cloud obscures the traditional lines of network security. IaaS providers, for example, build controls into their physical and virtual infrastructures and leverage best practices to protect the environment. In the same way, SaaS providers integrate protections in their applications and installations. But the business needs to know that their data is protected not just in the cloud, but across the environment. This is not easy, given the potential for blind spots where potential vulnerabilities could be hidden. To this end, third-party security vendors and vendors offer a variety of complementary tools – from monitoring software to packet sniffers – to enhance the security of the cloud network. Telecommunications service providers, on the other hand, offer a set of cloud security tools designed to protect data as it passes through the hybrid environment. Therefore, IT needs to understand all the controls that vendors build into their services and identify potential vulnerabilities. It’s a conversation that should take place before any contract is signed.
2. Software-defined access
Optimal cloud operations require that security be an intrinsic part of the network. This approach incorporates policy-based software-defined practices delivered via the cloud in what is known as Secure Access Service Edge (SASE). SASE, in turn, relies on a variety of cloud-based services to protect assets in the hybrid environment, including cloud access security brokers, secure web gateways, and an online firewall. as a service, as well as features such as browser isolation. Zero confidence, in which all entities are assumed to be potentially harmful until authenticated as safe, is an important component of SASE. Many organizations use Zero Trusted Network Access (ZTNA), which masks IP addresses and separates application access from network access, to protect network resources from threats such as malware running on a compromised system. . Access to applications is only granted to authenticated authorized users and devices.
3. Network segmentation
ZTNA can work in conjunction with network segmentation to strengthen the security of the cloud network. Network segmentation divides the physical network into smaller pieces. IT can use virtualization to micro-augment the network, creating network areas that are precise enough to support an individual workload. These areas serve as virtual walls to prevent cyber attackers from moving unhindered in the hybrid environment. Advances in automation now allow businesses to create zones based on changing conditions and established policies, creating new zones as the environment expands and reducing the number of segments as they go. that it contracts.
Businesses need to ensure that data is encrypted both at rest and in transit. Cloud providers typically offer encryption services, but beware: not all are created equal. Additionally, not all application workloads require the same level of encryption. Email, for example, may only need protection at the transit level – where messages are only encrypted as they move across the network – as opposed to endpoint encryption. end, where messages are decrypted when they reach their destination. The first is less secure, but it is also cheaper than the second.
5. Test and response
A key part of effective cloud network security is testing to make sure the right controls are in place in all the right areas. Perform penetration testing between audits to expose vulnerabilities so they can be remedied before they are exploited or otherwise compromised. Continuous testing can also relieve some of the pressure during the compliance audit process. Finally, have a strategy in case of violation. Maintain an incident response company to help mitigate the impact of any successful attack. Make sure you have a plan in place to effectively bring systems back online. Automate as much as possible to eliminate manual errors and speed up service recovery. And study the logs to determine the best way to restore your operations.