The Silver Lining In Your Cloud TM

5 Must Have Cloud Computing Security Features

Businesses of all sizes need to be hyper-vigilant when it comes to cybersecurity, whether they use a traditional on-premises infrastructure or a cloud-based one. Slow responses to cyber-attacks and weak defenses leave companies at the mercy of hackers.

According to statistics cited by the Economist, “the average time between an attacker breaching a network and its owner noticing the intrusion is 205 days.” In that time, hackers can do untold damage to the business and its customers.

The problem is that implementing strong security features can be prohibitively expensive for the company making the investment. Using a cloud service provider can eliminate the large, up-front capital expenses attached to top-of-the-line cyber security measures.

However, it’s vital for businesses to make sure that the cloud service provider has the right security features for their cloud infrastructure.

When researching cloud service providers, check for the following 5 must-have cloud computing security features and services:

1: Top-of-the-Line Perimeter Firewall

Most firewalls are very simple—they typically inspect a packet’s source and destination and that’s all. Some more advanced firewalls feature stable packet inspection, which checks the integrity of the file packets for stability issues prior to approving or rejecting the packet.

Top-of-the-line firewalls, such as Palo Alto Networks’ perimeter firewall solution will check the contents of the file packet to examine the type of file in addition to source, destination, and integrity. Such granularity is necessary to thwart the most advanced persistent threats out there today.

2: Intrusion Detection Systems with Event Logging

Numerous IT security compliance standards require businesses to have a means of tracking and recording intrusion attempts. So, for any business that wants to meet compliance standards such as PCI or HIPAA, using IDS event logging solutions is a must.

Some cloud providers offer monitoring for IDS, and will update their security rules for their firewalls to counter threat signals and malicious IP addresses that they detect for all of their cloud users.

3: Internal Firewalls for Individual Applications, and Databases

While having a strong perimeter firewall can block external attacks, internal attacks are still a major threat. Infrastructures that lack internal firewalls to restrict access to sensitive data and applications cannot be considered secure.

For example, a compromised employee user account can give hackers a way to bypass the perimeter firewall almost entirely. Or, a disgruntled ex-employee with a valid account may try to abuse their access privileges.

In either case, internal firewalls that keep individual applications, and databases separated can help limit the damage an attack from the inside can do.

4: Data-at-Rest Encryption

Encrypting the data that is stored on your cloud infrastructure can be an effective way to keep your most sensitive information from being accessed by the wrong party.

Strong encryption can minimize the risk of stolen data being used against your company or your customers/clients before you have a chance to alert them so they can take steps to protect their identities.

It’s better to have time to warn customers than to let hackers profit off of the stolen information immediately.

5: Tier IV Data Centers with Strong Physical Security

The physical hardware used to run a cloud environment represents one last opportunity for hackers and industrial spies to steal your most important data. When allowed direct access to the hardware that runs the cloud, hackers have free reign to steal data or upload malware directly to your systems.

Hackers should never have this opportunity.

Tier IV data centers help protect cloud environments by restricting access to the physical systems that run the cloud environment. A secure Tier IV facility will use measures such as:

  • Armed security patrols
  • Controlled access checkpoints with biometric security controls
  • 24/7 CCTV monitoring

These security measures are critical for keeping unauthorized users from directly accessing the hardware that runs your cloud.

By looking for these five security features when comparing secure cloud services, businesses can ensure that the cloud solution they choose is able to protect them from internal and external threats alike.

However, there are many other threats to cyber security on the cloud that companies need to watch out for.