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cloud security

7 ways to avoid a cloud misconfiguration attack

With the world ready to move into the 5G age, companies are increasingly adopting and revamping their existing cloud computing services. By moving their operations to IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Solution), enterprises are looking to leverage cloud-managed offerings such as Amazon Web Services (AWS). However, with the increased adaptation of IaaS comes increased vulnerabilities and exposure to cyber threats. Cloud security has therefore become a hot topic in the tech world, paying special attention to avoiding misconfigurations during migration to cloud-native environments. Any misconfigurations can open cybersecurity loopholes that criminals can identify and use to their advantage, putting your business operations in jeopardy.

Misconfigurations are not a rare computing concern. In fact, studies by McAfee’s enterprise security research note that a typical organization experiences around 3,500 incidents every month. To curb the security concerns and aid your enterprise’s digital transformation, it is vital to avoid cloud misconfigurations, especially during migration.

In this blog, our experts will discuss 7 ways to effectively avoid a cloud misconfiguration and maintain cloud security.

Cloud misconfiguration- How does it present a security threat?

Cloud misconfiguration can be any computing errors, gaps, or glitches that make your system vulnerable to risks during cloud adoption. A vulnerable cloud ecosystem cannot withstand security breaches such as malware, hacking, ransomware, or even insider threats that utilize the exposed vulnerabilities to access your network.

Since multi-cloud environments are complicated, any kind of misconfiguration during the cloud adoption stage makes it even more difficult to detect and manually rectify the issue. A lion’s share of such cloud environment failures is attributed to human errors. Although there is no quick-fix or one-time remedy for cloud configuration mistakes and issues, adopting DevSecOps and implementing security procedures right from the build stage can reduce such instances and their consequences drastically.

With that said, let us look at some of the best strategies to avoid cloud configuration mishaps and subsequent attacks-

  • Understand your cloud environment inside out

When establishing a cloud environment, it is important to have a comprehensive understanding of the system. Cloud security built without proper knowledge of the cloud could pose risks both internally and externally. So it is prudent that you are aware of the full state of the cloud environment including every resource, configuration details, and network relationships maintained. Increased visibility into the setup will enable professionals to proactively identify and nullify security threats as they occur.

  • Adopt security automation

Apart from visibility, automation is the next key factor that will help improve cloud security and avoid misconfiguration issues. By automating and augmenting their work, security teams can keep up with DevOps teams who build and release applications and updates regularly. To make this possible, our cloud consulting experts recommend implementing a software-defined infrastructure (SDI), Infrastructure as Code (IaC), and the latest templates and containers to keep the cloud safety configuration on point. Using IaC can improve the efficiency, scale, and predictability of cloud operations and assist the automation process.

  • Rely on policy-based automation

Policy as code is a great way to avoid interpretation and implementation errors. By expressing cloud security and compliance policy as executable codes, management and security enforcement becomes easy. However, it is better to choose solutions that don’t require different tools and policies for IaC and running the cloud infrastructure without glitches.

Prioritize solutions that don’t require different tools and policies for IaC and running cloud infrastructure.

  • Improve your cloud access policies

For accessing and managing your cloud environment, it’s time to set up stringent cloud access policies. To enforce secure communications to and from critical network spaces such as Azure Virtual Network or Amazon Virtual Private Cloud, it is recommended that you rely on virtual private networks (VPNs). If VPN access is available, it helps the team to access company resources from remote locations, without the worry of their Wi-Fi network getting compromised. Additionally, frequent audits are also necessary to get a comprehensive list of networks that have access to the enterprises’ virtual machines and cloud infrastructure. This helps to lock down IP ranges and monitor unrestricted access to the cloud.

  • Keep a tab on all cloud resources through tagging

Tagging your entire collection of cloud resources effectively is the best way to keep track and manage them. As the first step, establish tagging conventions and enforce them across the entire cloud footprint in your enterprise. Ensure that every resource has a name and point of contact that is human language. The presence of untagged resources must be considered suspicious and must be terminated accordingly.

  • Set goals for a mean time to remediation (MTTR)

Mean time to remediation (MTTR) is the most effective measurement used to measure the risk and effectiveness of your cloud security. If you don’t know what your current MTTR is for potential security-critical cloud misconfigurations, it’s high time you rectify it. Ensure that an automated or manual (if automation isn’t viable) remediation is set up to detect and rectify critical vulnerabilities in your cloud environment by setting a target MTTR. 

  • Upskill the workforce

Cloud security is more of a software engineering problem rather than a data analysis one. At the same time, cybersecurity is not something that young programmers pick up right after school. Most of the workforce you may hire may not have an inherent security-driven focus at the start, and it may result in many bugs and errors during the development stage. To overcome this challenge, enterprises must consider upskilling their employees. Training the DevOps as well as Security teams on cloud engineering practices will equip them with the right knowledge and skills required to design applications that can withstand modern cloud threats. Not only is training beneficial to your enterprise, but your developers will also gain valuable skills and experience as a result which is necessary to advance their careers. As a thoughtful organization that aids its employees in upskilling, you will also improve team retention and reduce insider threats.

Takeaway

Cloud security is a responsibility shared between the cloud service provider and your enterprise. By doing your part by taking the necessary steps in the house to secure the cloud environment, you can avoid misconfiguration issues and consequent attacks.

Remember that as your cloud grows, it becomes more complex. As a result, it becomes challenging to keep it secure. To avoid critical configuration mistakes, adopt these recommendations put forward by our cloud consultants. For more information and managed IT services, connect with Citrus Consulting today.

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