Cloud Cybersecurity: The Buyer’s Guide It’s no secret that more organizations are adopting cloud applications than ever before – but where does that leave security professionals looking…

Cloud Cybersecurity: The Buyer’s Guide

Michael Gleason

I spend my days (and nights) explaining how the strengths of the cloud - high availability, scalability, and interoperability - can help us overcome what is often considered its greatest weakness: security.


Cloud SecurityIt’s no secret that more organizations are adopting cloud applications than ever before – but where does that leave security professionals looking to protect sensitive information in a sprawling digital world?

Necessity, after all, is the mother of invention; and cloud cybersecurity solutions have emerged accordingly to enable businesses to use cloud applications confidently and securely.

In an expanding sea of vendors, it’s easy to get lost in the buzzwords – but we’re here to set you straight. Here are fourteen no-nonsense must-have criteria you should demand when seeking a cloud security solution.

1) Multi-SaaS Support. Trying to stitch together a piecemeal approach made out of point solutions isn’t an efficient use of your time. Future proof your security efforts by going with a solution that supports multiple cloud applications.

2) Cloud-Native Architecture. Smart architecture avoids reliance on cumbersome hardware, gateways, proxies, or network reconfigurations. Instead, it favors the deeper integration made possible in an API-based SaaS model. As Forrester explains: “API-level integration is also a must.” Bonus points for catching the cloud-to-cloud traffic missed by in-band solutions.

3) Unified Policy-Driven Data Governance. One size does not fit all: sensitive information means something different to every organization. Find a solution that allows you to build custom data governance policies based on the data most meaningful to you.

4) User Behavior Monitoring and Threat Protection. As cyberthreats continue to grow in quantity and persistence, it becomes increasingly critical that cloud cybersecurity solutions are capable of intelligently assessing user behavior to identify anomalous activity and defend organizations accordingly.

5) Response Action and Incident Management. This one is straight ahead: rapid, prioritized incident response translates to both reductions in risk as well as less administration. Go ahead – have the audacity to leave at 5pm.

Buyers-Guide-Cloud-Data-Protection6) Third-Party Application Risk Control. As third-party cloud applications communicate with corporate SaaS apps, they introduce another entry and exit point for risk. Visibility into and control of this interconnected world is crucial.

7) Meaningful Encryption. Organizations often want an additional layer of protection over their most sensitive information, but not at the cost of interrupting platform functionality or disrupting the employee experience. Your cloud cybersecurity solution needs to help you strike the right balance.

8) People-Centricity. As security solutions that disrupt the way people work are often subverted (who turned out the lights?!), the significance of prioritizing the user experience is clear. Cloud cybersecurity should help bring users into the fold by ditching the blocking mentality and involving the end-users as part of the solution.

“Allow for secure collaboration, not just security … This means that ‘blocking’ is not the model used, but a ‘continuous monitoring’ model with end user notifications, risk-appropriate response, and integrated security incident / event management workflows.” – Forrester Research. (2015, March). Market Overview: Cloud Data Protection Solutions

9) Integration with Existing Security Solutions. For a cloud cybersecurity solutions to be as effective as possible, it must be capable of communication with IT service management systems and security information and event management (SIEM) tools. For example, consider the efficiency gained by integrating a cloud cybersecurity solution with your existing ticketing system.

10) Real Time Security Intelligence. This is a no-brainer: with the value of security intelligence tied to the time-to-detection factor, continuous monitoring minimizes risk, allowing incidents to be detected, analyzed, and resolved quicker.

11) Auditing and Forensics. Security is an ongoing process, not a task to complete and forget. Cloud cybersecurity solutions must support analysis to identify weak points and allow you to improve the ongoing integrity of your cybersecurity program.

12) Compliance. With mandates varying from industry to industry, cloud security solutions should offer both out-of-the-box compliance policies as well as configurable policies designed to help you satisfy the compliance regulations that you are subjected to.

13) Vendor Viability. How confident are you in your security vendor? The importance of a vendor’s business stability and best practice trustworthiness must come into play in a big way.

14) Time to Value, Total Cost of Ownership. How is your cloud cybersecurity vendor ensuring your success? How much value will the solution in fact provide?  Consider the deployment model and onboarding process, support provided by the vendor, and upgrade process, for example.

The Buyer’s Guide to Cloud Cybersecurity

Looking to learn more about cloud cybersecurity solutions? This is only the beginning.

We dedicated an entire document to helping you evaluate cloud cybersecurity solutions, highlighting and explaining in detail the criteria that matters – no nonsense allowed.

In our free buyer’s guide to Cloud Cybersecurity, we help you:

  • Gain an understanding of cloud cybersecurity fundamentals
  • Arm yourself with selection criteria to help guide research
  • Snag over 50 security-savvy questions to ask cloud cybersecurity vendors

Get started by downloading your copy today!

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