Developers
August 11, 2020

Why a Cloud Security Audit Is Important

A cloud security audit can be a valuable tool in protecting the security of your cloud apps and services.

The cloud industry is experiencing a period of growth unlike any other. Companies large and small are migrating to the cloud in record numbers, drawn to the benefits cloud computing provides.

In addition, as the coronavirus pandemic swept the globe, companies have relied on the cloud to remain operational. As employees began working from home in record numbers, cloud computing provided a way for them to stay connected and productive.

While there are many advantages to cloud computing, it often requires a new way of thinking about issues such as security.

Cloud vs On-Site

On-site computing gives companies a tremendous amount of control over the environment, in terms of both hardware and software. IT rules and protocols can be implemented to dictate what software can and cannot be used, what hardware can access the network and more.

Cloud computing offers a completely different set of challenges. As employees bring their work home, access the corporate network remotely and rely on cloud computing, there are a host of security issues that would normally not be an issue with on-site computing.

Potential Cloud Security Issues

One of the biggest issues with cloud security is the radically different approach it entails. With on-premise computing, much of the focus is on keeping intruders, hackers and bad actors out. As a result, on-premise computing security is often geared around perimeter security. As long as you can keep the bad guys out, everything else should be ok.

With cloud computing, however, there is no real perimeter, at least not in the traditional sense of the word. Therefore, a much greater emphasis is placed on zero-trust security. This ensure that, even if a hacker gains access, their ability to cause harm is fairly limited.

Similarly, with on-premise security IT can control how the local network, computers and services are accessed. With cloud computing, on the other hand, a person may be accessing the company’s resourced via a corporate computer or their own personal smartphone. As a result, IT must make sure that measures are implemented to help secure connections to cloud resources, regardless of where they originate from.

Benefits of a Security Audit

For many cloud companies, security audits have become a vital part of maintaining security. A security audit can help shed light on a number of potential issues.

Access Control

One of the most basic areas where a security audit can help is in managing access control. Especially as personnel changes, as individuals leave and others are onboarded, as employees move to new departments and roles, access control must be maintained to preserve security.

Similarly, security audits can help uncover any issues not only with who has access but also how they have access. Are employees using the right programs? Are their devices equipped with firewall, VPN and encryption software?

Regular audits can go a long way toward ensuring the right people have the right access.

Storage Management and Configuration

Virtually every week there is a new data breach involving a database that was misconfigured and public-facing. Often these incidents expose millions of records containing customer information of varying degrees of sensitivity.

Companies large and small have suffered the embarrassment, cost and potential legal issues that go along with these breaches, not to mention the loss of customer trust.

Security audits are critical to maintaining the right configuration and management options for storage. Whether the database is for development, testing, backup or production, a review can ensure it’s configured properly for the best security.

Third-Party APIs and Tools

One of the benefits of cloud computing is the wealth of third-party tools and APIs that are available. Many of these add critical functionality to a company’s cloud applications and services. As an added benefit, many of these tools and APIs are open source and free, adding tremendous value.

At the same time, however, each third-party tool or API represents a potential security risk. System admins may work hard to maintain the security of their own applications and code, but miss a vulnerability in a critical tool or API.

To make matters worse, many hackers specifically target APIs and tools that are widely used. Doing so gives them a much larger attack vector. Rather than trying to compromise one organization at a time, exploiting a single vulnerability in a widely used tool or API can open the door to hundreds or even thousands of organizations simultaneously.

As a result, regular security audits are critical to maintaining security, especially where third-party tools and APIs are concerned.

Evaluate Backup Policies

One of the greatest benefits of cloud computing is the ease with which companies can establish and maintain backups. This only works, however, if a company’s cloud platform is configured to perform the backups on a regular basis.

In addition, an audit can help ensure the proper security measures are being taken to protect those backups.

Conclusion

Cloud computing is often credited with being more secure than traditional, on-premise computing. While it certainly has that potential, it can only meet that potential if the proper measures are taken.

Regular audits are a vital part of making sure your cloud computing security meets the challenges posed by today’s environment.

TagsCloud SecurityAPIsOn-Site
Matt Milano
Technical Writer
Matt is a tech journalist and writer with a background in web and software development.

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DevelopersAugust 11, 2020
Why a Cloud Security Audit Is Important
A cloud security audit can be a valuable tool in protecting the security of your cloud apps and services.

The cloud industry is experiencing a period of growth unlike any other. Companies large and small are migrating to the cloud in record numbers, drawn to the benefits cloud computing provides.

In addition, as the coronavirus pandemic swept the globe, companies have relied on the cloud to remain operational. As employees began working from home in record numbers, cloud computing provided a way for them to stay connected and productive.

While there are many advantages to cloud computing, it often requires a new way of thinking about issues such as security.

Cloud vs On-Site

On-site computing gives companies a tremendous amount of control over the environment, in terms of both hardware and software. IT rules and protocols can be implemented to dictate what software can and cannot be used, what hardware can access the network and more.

Cloud computing offers a completely different set of challenges. As employees bring their work home, access the corporate network remotely and rely on cloud computing, there are a host of security issues that would normally not be an issue with on-site computing.

Potential Cloud Security Issues

One of the biggest issues with cloud security is the radically different approach it entails. With on-premise computing, much of the focus is on keeping intruders, hackers and bad actors out. As a result, on-premise computing security is often geared around perimeter security. As long as you can keep the bad guys out, everything else should be ok.

With cloud computing, however, there is no real perimeter, at least not in the traditional sense of the word. Therefore, a much greater emphasis is placed on zero-trust security. This ensure that, even if a hacker gains access, their ability to cause harm is fairly limited.

Similarly, with on-premise security IT can control how the local network, computers and services are accessed. With cloud computing, on the other hand, a person may be accessing the company’s resourced via a corporate computer or their own personal smartphone. As a result, IT must make sure that measures are implemented to help secure connections to cloud resources, regardless of where they originate from.

Benefits of a Security Audit

For many cloud companies, security audits have become a vital part of maintaining security. A security audit can help shed light on a number of potential issues.

Access Control

One of the most basic areas where a security audit can help is in managing access control. Especially as personnel changes, as individuals leave and others are onboarded, as employees move to new departments and roles, access control must be maintained to preserve security.

Similarly, security audits can help uncover any issues not only with who has access but also how they have access. Are employees using the right programs? Are their devices equipped with firewall, VPN and encryption software?

Regular audits can go a long way toward ensuring the right people have the right access.

Storage Management and Configuration

Virtually every week there is a new data breach involving a database that was misconfigured and public-facing. Often these incidents expose millions of records containing customer information of varying degrees of sensitivity.

Companies large and small have suffered the embarrassment, cost and potential legal issues that go along with these breaches, not to mention the loss of customer trust.

Security audits are critical to maintaining the right configuration and management options for storage. Whether the database is for development, testing, backup or production, a review can ensure it’s configured properly for the best security.

Third-Party APIs and Tools

One of the benefits of cloud computing is the wealth of third-party tools and APIs that are available. Many of these add critical functionality to a company’s cloud applications and services. As an added benefit, many of these tools and APIs are open source and free, adding tremendous value.

At the same time, however, each third-party tool or API represents a potential security risk. System admins may work hard to maintain the security of their own applications and code, but miss a vulnerability in a critical tool or API.

To make matters worse, many hackers specifically target APIs and tools that are widely used. Doing so gives them a much larger attack vector. Rather than trying to compromise one organization at a time, exploiting a single vulnerability in a widely used tool or API can open the door to hundreds or even thousands of organizations simultaneously.

As a result, regular security audits are critical to maintaining security, especially where third-party tools and APIs are concerned.

Evaluate Backup Policies

One of the greatest benefits of cloud computing is the ease with which companies can establish and maintain backups. This only works, however, if a company’s cloud platform is configured to perform the backups on a regular basis.

In addition, an audit can help ensure the proper security measures are being taken to protect those backups.

Conclusion

Cloud computing is often credited with being more secure than traditional, on-premise computing. While it certainly has that potential, it can only meet that potential if the proper measures are taken.

Regular audits are a vital part of making sure your cloud computing security meets the challenges posed by today’s environment.

Cloud Security
APIs
On-Site
About the author
Matt Milano -Technical Writer
Matt is a tech journalist and writer with a background in web and software development.

Related Articles