A Guide to Choosing a Security and Compliance Platform for Your Cloud

Insurance may be one of the least sexy things you’ll ever buy in your entire life. It’s actually beyond unsexy; the entire thought of it conjures images of fallen branches, broken bones, and dry rot. There will come a time, however, when the impact of some unfortunate event will be softened because you paid your premiums. A cloud security platform is a little like that too.

Think about it this way: you can take all the precautions and do all the securing your IT team is capable of, but unless you are protected with a version of insurance called continuous monitoring, you’re exposed. That means you’re at the mercy of the next DDOS attack or poorly formed password, or any of an infinite number of ways your cloud environment could be jeopardized. If you’re thoughtful about how you approach cloud security, however, you will assiduously seek and find a solution that provides you with the best measure of protection against bad actors and the threats they present.

Identifying the right security platform for your cloud is challenging because it necessitates a different way of “doing” security. Enterprises have to progress beyond the security frameworks of their legacy systems that governed on-premise environments. The approach to those environments was all about safeguarding the domain under your ownership, and it emphasized the surface of a network that generally extended only to the firewall.

Even for today’s cloud customers, most security vendors promise an additional “layer” around your network or data, and many customers fall into the habit of just adding more of these layers as a way to try to hermetically seal their environment. The problem with that is three-fold. For one thing, the nature of the cloud is that it’s an effective enabler of data transactions and communication, both into and out of an environment. Your business depends on your ability to integrate with different applications and share certain data with different types of stakeholders, so you can’t really do that while your data is tightly controlled within a quarantined environment.

Another issue with this approach is that most cloud security solutions are focused just on your cloud and your data. In the cloud your data is, indeed, your issue, but it’s travelling into and out of your vendor’s environment. You’re not really secure unless you’re aware of the security status of your environment and that of your cloud vendor. Those two things truly constitute your cloud environment, and the burden is on you to ensure security across the entire surface of your cloud, irrespective of who actually “owns” the different pieces.  

The third potential problem has to do with the security mindset. Hackers operate at scale; they go after multiple targets and keep up their offensive until they find a way in to something. Eventually, they WILL find a way. Even if you’ve secured all the layers of your cloud stack, unless you’re continuously monitoring it, you just don’t know where the potential risks are. Far too many organizations treat security as a one-and-done proposition, which could be a killer. In fact, when using multiple security tools, it’s easy to get beholden, literally, to a false sense of security. The fact is, security never stops and enterprises need to maintain scrutiny over the security of their cloud, and that of their cloud vendor, at all times.

We’ve published a simple guide to choosing a cloud security vendor so you can begin to frame the right solution for your cloud needs, How to Choose a Cloud Security and Compliance Platform. Our guide emphasizes how to include considerations for things like internal policies and requirements, compliance, DevOps, security training, automation, remediation, and other critical elements that are necessary to having a comprehensive security solution for your cloud. We encourage you to learn more about cloud security and how it fits with your organization.