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Cloud_Security_Monitoring_Tools.jpgKeeping track of security events in business IT infrastructure is a huge concern for meeting compliance standards such as HIPAA and PCI.

Without reliable processes and tools for tracing security events back to their point of origin, it’s difficult to protect against similar threats in the future.

Additionally, companies need to be able to inform their customers if a breach occurs so that identity protection measures can be taken. Failing to spot breaches and notify clients gives attackers  the chance to do more damage when they strike.Having strong, multi-layered defenses in place to prevent intrusions is an excellent start for any cloud security setup, but there needs to be comprehensive monitoring for the cloud environment if a business is going to make the most out of its cybersecurity setup.

Here is a list of three key cloud security monitoring tools business need for protecting their systems:

1: Intrusion Detection Systems

Intrusion detection systems (IDS) have long been a key tool for businesses to monitor traffic on the network and analyze when vulnerabilities and exploits have been leveraged against the network.

These monitoring solutions are usually placed outside of the network infrastructure’s communication line, using a test access port (TAP) or switch port analyzer (SPAN) to analyze a separate copy of the network’s traffic stream. When intrusions are detected, a report is forwarded to the personnel in charge of maintaining network security.

This has the benefit of minimizing the IDS’s impact on the network traffic stream. However, this does make IDS a kind of passive monitoring system rather than an active form of monitoring and defense.

The major benefit of IDS is that the event reports generated by an IDS solution make it easier to track the origin point of an attack so that steps may be taken to prevent future intrusions. This is a must for compliance with key regulatory standards.

2: Intrusion Prevention Systems

While passive IDS with event logging capabilities are highly useful for spotting exploits and vulnerabilities that have been used, active intrusion prevention systems are more capable of stopping an attack.

In most cases, IPS will use either signature-based threat detection or statistical anomaly-based detection to detect threats and take automatic actions to stop intrusions from occurring. Signature-based detection will target either specific exploits, or an underlying vulnerability in the system.

Statistical anomaly detection will sample traffic on a server at random and compare it to pre-set baseline performance benchmarks. If the network activity is unusual compared to the benchmark, then the IPS will start enacting countermeasures.

Each of the above detection system methodologies have their own advantages and drawbacks. For example, as noted by Palo Alto Networks, vulnerability-facing signature detection methods:

“allow networks to be protected from variants of an exploit that may not have been directly observed in the wild, but also raise the risk of false-positives.”

Such false positives can lead to the IPS taking actions that impact network performance, restricting access to mission-critical data.

In many cases, IPS is a critical part of a firewall solution.

3: Managed Cloud Monitoring Services

One of the biggest challenges in keeping any network secure is the need for a dedicated team of professionals to not only maintain the system, but to actively watch for alerts generated by the business’ IDS/IPS solution.

Fast responses to major security events such as a breach can drastically alter the severity of such events. However, many businesses struggle to find and deploy an internal IT security team that is both large and skilled enough to efficiently handle the countless threats faced by modern businesses.

Merely hiring a single network engineer can add a six-figure yearly expense to the business’ operating budget, and effective monitoring requires a team of experts.

Managed cloud monitoring services allows businesses access to a team of experts at a fraction of the cost of attracting, hiring, and retaining them internally. Additionally, any manually-configured security solutions created by this team (such as custom threat signatures) for one client will be deployed to all of their clients, increasing the likelihood of being able to protect against the latest threat signatures.

With the right cloud service provider, businesses can get the tools and the skilled threat management they need to prevent a data breach and enable compliance with the latest security standards.

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Topics: Cloud Security