A captivating business model is offered by Iaas (Infrastructure as a Service) and that is why its adoption is increasing in all kinds of organizations. While implementing IaaS, whether it a hybrid cloud or public cloud strategy, one should comprehend the security challenges that can be encountered which can help them to overcome hurdles associated with protection of cloud-based operations and business.
Along with the advantages that IaaS offers, it is also a web of challenges as organization’s resources are stored in shared public data centers which are remotely accessible on unsecured networks. Nowadays, hackers are making use of cloud occurrences to make an attempt of malicious attacks. A fact that can’t be ignored is if businesses don’t have concrete security infrastructures, the cloud environment is vulnerable to many numbers of threats and attacks.
Many security measures and tools are available in the market but security needs vary with different organizations. There are 4 stages of cloud security ranging from simple to complex which should be deployed by every organization. Let us review the challenges that organizations face in each stage of cloud complexity.
Stage 1 – Security Best Practice in Cloud
Organizations which are into the first stage of cloud complexity are using IaaS on a somewhat low scale in a single, simple data center alignment. Cloud infrastructure strategy giving access to a specific cloud infrastructure which was earlier available only to large companies is deployed by organizations to diminish computing costs and thereby improve efficiency. But such organizations lack in-house IT security expertise and thus cannot address the requirements of security required on their own. Such companies can avail solutions that bundle the best security practices. Best security practices include identity-based access policies, secure remote access, firewall etc.). Such solutions should be offered as a service.
Stage 2 –Automate Security & Scale
In this stage of complexity, organizations which have pretty good experience in the cloud as well as have good in-house security proficiencies fit here. Such organizations adopting security solution externally is not because they lack in-house knowledge or skills but because you require more than just a manual configuration. A manual configuration does not scale up in the same stride as cloud computing power scales. In such situations, automating security helps the on-premise team with enormous and dynamic cloud usage.
The company should be able to respond in situations when a number of virtual servers fluctuate. E-commerce portals are best examples. During holidays and seasonal peaks, there is traffic spike whereby the company should be able to add servers without worrying about the downtime. Manually doing such tasks can have human errors or in worst cases, resources will fall short at peak times causing loss of sales and revenues. In order to protect organization’s network, automated security scaling should be deployed irrespective of the number of servers used at any specific time.
Remote secure access is another point of concern which organizations at this level of security have to deal with. If organization’s employees are working somewhere remotely and want access to cloud servers, requirements should be established properly ensuring the identity is verified, secured connections are established and no risk is associated with data in motion.
Stage 3 – Multi-location, Multi-Cloud Deployments
This stage of complexity comprises of companies that are too much dependent on the cloud. Several data centers are deployed by such companies, sometimes on more than one cloud or a hybrid environment is deployed maximizing potential of the cloud. Securing multi-location environments while reaping the benefits of the cloud gives rise to another layer of complexity.
For small enterprises, how can they securely connect cloud computational resources on more than one data centers? For effective deployments, it is inevitable for data to travel across several data centers than resources being accessible. Data is traveling around everywhere, though its organization’s responsibility to secure the path. Nonetheless, even if automation is deployed, in such complex scenarios and levels the risk of blunders is quite high.
Organizations should consider multiple locations, diverse infrastructures with diverse security configurations for data traveling across. It is necessary for a security layer to be implemented defining and implementing network-wide policies across different infrastructures. Organizations can then configure security policies as per network-wide policies across various data centers and deployments irrespective of the number of locations and physical locations.
Stage 4 – Compliance with Security Regulations
Companies which have to comply with regulations of external security like PCI compliance for enterprises taking care of credit card information so far in this 4th level of complexity. It is necessary for such organizations to comply with such regulations. In a failure to comply, various civil penalties can be levied upon, inclusive of exorbitant fines and chances of imprisonment.
Note that fully compliant infrastructure services are not provided by any of the public cloud service providers. In this stage, the companies have to meet the government rules and regulations for implementing additional security. Some of the compliances are:
- File and configuration integrity checks
- Encryption of data-in-motion
- Complete access logs for servers holding sensitive data
- Identity-based access management and control
Organizations coming under all four stages have to deploy the extra layer of security with the basic infrastructure bridging the gap between in-house capabilities and network security needs. One of the important aspects of any security infrastructure which has the capability to scale as and when the business expands. The first three stages can be treated as a natural evolution of growth and development. A right security solution is one which evolves naturally through the three steps without any distraction. Moreover, a security solution should allow a company to go beyond a single data center enabling deployment across multiple data centers, various infrastructures and across several clouds. And at the end, right security features should be in accordance with the level of data sensitivity and regulations a company holds.