Controlling cloud security

Written by Ian Tinney

November 8, 2021

Cloud security is becoming more complex, but the answer is to simplify. We look at the elements you need.


Cloud security can be complex due to several factors, and it’s a problem that is set to worsen as cloud build-out ramps up and more systems and users are added, making it even more challenging to audit and manage the entire cloud environment.

A recent survey by the Cloud Security Alliance found that 62% of businesses have moved to a multi-cloud set up using different cloud platforms such as AWS, GCP and Azure, leading to more complexity. The survey also found that many felt ill-equipped to deal with this new environment using in-house resources, and half of those surveyed regarded the security offered by the cloud provider as insufficient.

Security issues can range from lack of visibility of cloud assets to misconfiguration, difficulty in prioritising and resolving alerts (resulting in alert fatigue), and poor implementation of access privileges (resulting in privilege-creep).

Attempting to resolve all of these security issues on an individual basis can be costly and time-intensive, resulting in overburdened teams with high burnout rates, which is why many businesses are now turning to purpose-built, multifunctional, cross-platform security solutions.

Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) is a term coined by Gartner to describe a new breed of cloud software that automates the detection of unintentional human errors (such as gaps in policy enforcement or the misconfiguration of systems) and ensures compliance needs are met. It offers a unified approach for multi-cloud by providing:

  1. A single view that enables you to monitor for incidents
  2. Policy enforcement, auditing, and risk assessment with compliance standards
  3. Monitoring of the cloud for misconfigurations and of high-risk areas
  4. Automated management and remediation

CSPM is rapidly becoming regarded as a ‘must-have’ because of the number of data breaches attributed to misconfiguration, the need to ensure continual compliance and the problems of cloud governance of multi-cloud environments.

CSPM can be further complemented by incorporating other approaches to provide a comprehensive cloud management solution. These include:

A. Risk Scoring

Assesses the severity and impact of a risk to prioritise the response. Numerous models have been developed to try to do this but what makes far more sense is to use a risk scoring system based upon an existing framework such as the CVSS framework from NIST. This ensures the scoring criteria uses established industry best practice.

B. Cloud Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR)

SOAR enables real-time threat detection and response. It sees security orchestration collect threat data from internal and external tools such as endpoint protection, firewalls, and SIEM etc., while previously manual processes such as vulnerability scanning and log analysis are automated before recommendations or responses are then made. Playbooks are used to help automate the response to specific incidents to refine this. The response capability gives security analysts an overview of threats, incident response reporting and post-incident actions such as threat sharing.

C. Incident Response (IR)

Real-time incident response through Identity and Access Management (IAM) log ingestion. When combined with Playbooks, security policies can be set up to trigger actions in the event of a violation of these rules. These actions can include the creation of an incident ticket, a push to SIEM tools, or automated remediation.

Combining all three disciplines with CSPM creates a complete cloud control solution that gives context-based actionable intelligence across the multi-cloud, as opposed to a host of point solutions collating siloed information. It makes it far easier to share and act upon threat intelligence, which means a multi-cloud solution can assist numerous teams, such as:

  • DevOps – sharing intelligence between the security team and DevOps helps solve the problem of secure continuous delivery in the cloud
  • SOC – the risk scoring framework allows security teams to prioritise threats and provide appropriate responses without suffering alert-fatigue
  • Compliance – provides auditors with a consistent record of compliance as compliance checks and audits can be performed on a regular basis
  • IAM – gives administrators complete visibility and control over identities, access and permissions
  • External auditors – oversight of the security posture and compliance means reports can quickly and easily be generated, and this can help enforce other areas, such as supply chain security

Controlling the cloud has never been more critical or more complex, particularly given the move to multi-cloud, but using a unified system can simplify cloud security.

Cloud Control is an API-based agentless cloud security platform developed specifically to provide cross-platform intelligence using CSPM, Risk Scoring, SOAR and IR. It’s the first solution to base its risk scoring upon NIST’s CVSS framework, providing benchmarking based upon industry best practice.

To find out how you can use Cloud Control to improve your security posture, contact us for a consultation at sales@4datasolutions.com or via +44 330 128 9180. Or, to read more about the solution, download the Cloud Control datasheet.

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