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5 Tips for Owning Your Cloud Security

As cloud expands and evolves, so does the need for customers and providers to work together to ensure data is stored safely and securely. The rise of cloud-native environments brings with it a series of new challenges that make collaboration even more relevant.

Security has jumped to the forefront of priorities for IT and cloud projects in the last few years. With concerns ranging from foreign hackers infiltrating power companies to massive data exposures in marketing and personal fitness information, it's no wonder companies are looking for measures to tighten security around their cloud applications.

The causes of security breaches often include insufficient access management, malicious attacks, and shared technology vulnerabilities. But, whether a company is outsourcing development or working entirely in-house, it's necessary to clearly define responsibilities and establish what falls on whose plate to ensure security across the entire system.

Security ownership depends on cloud architecture models

 Responsibilities will shift as infrastructure models differ from system to system:

  • In IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), where the cloud provider only supplies the physical or virtual infrastructure, the responsibility falls heavily on the customer to manage the network and system infrastructure, the applications, and data.
  • In a PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) model, the cloud provider gains more responsibility as they manage the whole infrastructure which allows customers to build, run, and manage applications on it.
  • In SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), the brunt of the responsibility falls on the cloud provider, who delivers everything but the data, which customers supply and access.

The Shared Responsibility Model, a cloud security framework that lays out the responsibilities of cloud providers and cloud users, is a good starting point. However, it's important to remember, that the cloud customer is responsible for their operation and business objectives. So, it's up to the customer to own their cloud security, which includes selecting a cloud provider and understanding its development and security practices.


The task may seem daunting, which is why we've compiled 5 tips for customers to own their cloud security:

1. Research your vendor 

As our DevOps champion, Juan Ruiz, says, "Knowledge is the only thing that can save us in these situations." That's why reading up on your selected or potential cloud provider is essential to understanding how to approach security and what falls under whose jurisdiction.

2. Understand how your vendor works

It's important to understand how your vendor functions, what services they offer, and what's expected on your side: What's the vendor's shared responsibility policy? Do you need a cloud-specific architect? Is your IT outsourcing services partner or team familiar with the technology?

3. Look up references and case studies

Take the time to find reference architectures and case studies. Being able to see and understand how other organizations approached a solution's architecture with the cloud provider you're interested in can be eye-opening and provide some valuable insight.

4. Get ready for constant security assessments

First and foremost, understand that this is not a one-time effort. Maintaining security demands you continually assess your processes, how your company interacts with your cloud provider, and the provider itself. A lot of the work of security is remaining ever vigilant.

Pro-Tip: Stay up to date with news and updates on database vulnerabilities, so you can anticipate and prevent possible breaches from happening.

5. Remember people are always the easiest to hack

No matter how many precautions you've taken, it just takes one blunder for your entire system to be compromised. That's why making sure people know and practice security precautions will ensure that people don't become your system's weakest link.

[READ MORE: Cloud Delivery Models Explained]

An unforeseen and ignored security risk that emerges can result in an incalculable loss—not just monetary, but reputation as well. And while it's good to have a well-drafted agreement in place, a given clause won't necessarily help you regain your clients' trust in your product. That's why trying to be as informed about risks as possible is key to mitigating risks and ensuring your solution is always secure.

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Thursday, 23 January 2020

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