Do you have full visibility into your cloud applications and platforms? Are all of your cloud assets securely configured and managed? Can you contain and analyze a cloud attack in an automated way?

Cloud security is top of mind for CIOs and CISOs, faced with a changing technology paradigm in which control and security responsibility has become a shared concern. Widespread adoption of software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platforms as a means of improving business efficiency naturally leads to an increase in the number and frequency of cloud-based cyber-attacks.

Organizations are challenged to transition legacy systems (and the associated legacy IT management or security practices) to newer cloud paradigms, often inadvertently and unknowingly creating security risks in the process. In order to create an integrated, holistic and workable cloud security strategy, CISOs – particularly public-sector and larger enterprises – must reexamine policies and technology choices against an ever-changing and sophisticated threat landscape.

CISOs are faced with a changing paradigm whereby security responsibility in the cloud is a shared concern between the cloud service provider and customer. With shared responsibility, organizations can leverage the security foundation and, in many cases, cloud-native security tools offered by the providers to focus their efforts on securing operating systems, applications, and data. However, customers must clearly understand what their security responsibilities are and not incorrectly assume these activities are being performed by the cloud platform or application provider.

In this second paper of our Reference Architecture series, we consider cloud security and the relevant protection technologies from some of the industry’s leading vendors.  We use the widely recognized National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework (CST) to identify these activities, and categorize them by their respective components from Secure Blueprint, our strategic approach to cybersecurity program management.

To fulfill these cloud security activities and address cloud risks, we highlight cloud protection technologies from leading vendors that work in concert with the native security services from leading IaaS and SaaS providers. We take a clean-sheet approach that presupposes no existing cloud security or management technologies. However, we recognize that most organizations do not start with a blank slate, and in some cases, alternative technologies to the ones that we have highlighted may make more sense based on current IT investments, business needs, regulatory considerations, etc. Organizations can also compare their incumbent risk management activities and technology solutions to identify gaps in their existing cloud protection.

Our aim is to help you to help you make smart technology decisions in an ever-crowded and noisy cloud security market.

To better understand your cloud risk posture and identify gaps that may exist with your current cloud protection technologies, click here to read our Cloud Security Reference Architecture.

Bo Lane