Cloud storage offers greater security and collaboration than many other modern storage options, but your network still requires proper setup and configuration to run as smoothly as possible. Make sure everything’s in order with our comprehensive cloud security assessment.
Getting Started With Cloud Security Risk Assessment
Despite its usefulness, there are some risks when using today’s cloud ecosystem for data storage and team collaboration. In this blog, we’ll shed some light on these risks before diving into our complete list of threat and vulnerability management services to address them.
There are three critical components to how a cloud risk assessment can optimize your security:
- Uncovering the most significant threats and vulnerabilities facing your cloud ecosystem today
- Facilitating risk mitigation and management tools to prevent security threats or attacks
- Responding to and recovering from security incidents and maintaining your integrity
Uncovering Vulnerabilities Through Cloud Risk Assessment
The first step toward implementing an impactful cloud security assessment framework is to understand the various risks associated with cloud platforms and general cloud infrastructure.
According to the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), current cloud ecosystems are susceptible to numerous risks. CSA keeps an evolving and up-to-date list of these risks online, which currently focuses on 11 particular cybersecurity threats it refers to as The Egregious 11. This list includes:
- Data breaches – These can involve anything from a few exposed customer records to an intentional release of mission-critical data (e.g., sensitive business files).
- System misconfigurations – One of the most common threats, often seen with novice system administrators, misconfigurations often precede a data breach. In some cases, they can make it possible for outside sources to control or modify digital resources.
- Missing security architecture – Although many organizations have migrated to cloud ecosystems to maintain their IT infrastructure (or are undergoing migrations), many fail to establish the fundamental security architecture. Updating your framework to keep pace with technological evolutions is as critical as initially establishing the proper foundation.
- Insufficient identity or access management (IAM) – Even the best cloud ecosystems are useless without thorough and efficient access management. For best results, implement multifactor authentication (MFA) whenever possible, ensure strong passwords, and, if necessary for compliance, require users to change their passwords regularly.
- Account hijacking and takeover – Individual user accounts are susceptible to hijacking through many different methods. Some administrators merely reset compromised account passwords for immediate mitigation. However, these incidents require thorough root cause analysis followed by a review of IAM protocols to fully address the underlying problems.
- Internal threats – Originating from users who already have access to your cloud ecosystem, these threats are difficult to detect. They can also be some of the most devastating in terms of service downtime, your organization’s reputation, and the loss of intellectual property.
- API security issues – Application programming interfaces (APIs) make it possible for your current cloud framework to communicate and integrate with external or third-party software. The substantial integration complexity presents numerous potential fail points. Moreover, APIs provide one of the most vulnerable access points for hackers and other malicious users, so proper configurations and security measures are critical.
- Weak control plane – In general terms, the control plane works alongside the data plane to ensure data stability and integrity at all times. Control plane deficiencies often result in the loss of data, either intentionally or through simple data corruption, which could have a ripple effect throughout your entire organization that ultimately impacts productivity, revenue, and your reputation.
- Metastructure failure – These issues are commonly the result of poor API programming or implementation, but they could also stem from deeper IAM problems. Regardless of origin, these issues provide hackers with multiple methods of disrupting service across your entire cloud ecosystem.
- Incomplete cloud usage statistics – Monitoring your organization’s cloud usage is more critical than you might realize. Apart from highlighting times of heavy traffic, it can also be used to detect and investigate malicious activity. If noticed soon enough, usage statistics could tip you off to an intruder or impending attack.
- Cloud abuse and misuse – In some cases, hackers and malicious users gain entry into a cloud ecosystem and immediately target pre-existing resources to nefarious ends. This can include anything from distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and digital fraud campaigns to illegal software distribution and even unauthorized cryptocurrency mining.
While the CSA’s list isn’t meant to be all-inclusive of every possible threat, it does cover the most common ones. Equipped with a fuller understanding of the threats currently facing your cloud ecosystem, your cloud security risk assessment can also help you mitigate these risks and make your network a safer, more enjoyable experience for all stakeholders involved.
Using Cloud Security Assessment Tools to Prevent Threats
Security threats like the ones listed above are best handled with a consistent, expert-driven approach. The next step toward implementing a comprehensive cloud security assessment framework—or risk management informed by cloud risk assessment—is conducting a thorough inventory of all your digital assets.
By looking at your company’s most valuable digital assets first and foremost, you can begin to think like the attacker and start patching holes before they’re exploited. RSI Security implements ongoing tests and system scans to develop a customized approach that meets your needs. Then, we help you design and implement policies and controls to maximize your cloud security.
Beyond a comprehensive cloud risk assessment, our service utilizes many other threat and vulnerability management tools to help bolster your network’s overall security, including:
- General threat intelligence
- Comprehensive penetration testing
- Ongoing system patch management
- Continuous vulnerability scanning
- Application security analysis
- Detailed reports
- Platform-specific security assessment (AWS, Azure, Google Cloud)
- Complete threat and vulnerability lifecycle management
- Dedicated asset management
- Internet of Things (IoT) security and efficiency
Responding to Active Incidents With Detection Management
The final step to implementing a robust cloud security assessment framework is using your assessments’ results and insights to respond to and recover from any attacks that do occur. In practice, this involves integrating threat intelligence into your mitigation and business continuity protocols. You should also continuously monitor your cloud, even during and after an attack.
It’s always a good idea to perform your security assessments ahead of time, when possible, but there might be some instances when you’re caught unprepared. For situations like this, you will benefit from active threat hunting capabilities, such as managed detection and response (MDR).
RSI Security offers a suite of MDR services, including but not limited to the following:
- Active threat detection – Our continuous risk scanning systems work around the clock to detect, identify, inventory, and respond to all attacks and other incidents in real time.
- Timely incident response – Any potential or suspicious activities are addressed immediately via our dedicated incident response and incident management framework.
- Comprehensive root cause analysis – To prevent these same issues from recurring in the future, we uncover the underlying problem and put an end to it for good.
- Ongoing regulatory compliance – Maintaining compliance with applicable regulations helps you avoid costly fines while also preserving the integrity of your cloud ecosystem.
By combining our MDR services with our comprehensive cloud risk assessment, you’ll ensure the security of your cloud, along with all personnel and clientele for whom it is essential.
Building Your Cloud Security Assessment Framework
If you have yet to perform a cloud security assessment on your ecosystem, or if you want to learn more about the myriad of services we have to offer, contact RSI Security today to get started right away.
We will help you secure your cloud network from internal and external threats, optimize data storage, drive collaboration, and ensure efficiency for all your users.