As you consider the sometimes overwhelming options for cloud security solutions, there is a lot to think about. How does a solution go about discovering vulnerabilities in your environment? What types of issues will it flag, and what will it do or help you do about them? Does it work across your entire environment? How much work will it do for you versus have you do for it? What are the implications of its architecture? Can you trust the vendor providing it? One thing is for sure, and we agree with Forrester on it. “If your firm uses the cloud, cloud data protection is a mandatory security control”.
As organizations adopt not one, but many cloud applications, there is a growing need for a consistent level of security across the enterprise’s entire SaaS portfolio. When considering cloud security solutions, look for ones that centralize security operations for data, applications, and users across multiple cloud applications. This increases operational efficiency, minimizes administrative workload, leads to more favorable pricing models, and - most importantly - allows for streamlined and universal security across the organization dictated by the standards of the security team, not the capabilities of the platform.
Cloud-native solutions are API-based in that they leverage the capabilities native to the monitored platform. By eliminating dependencies on gateways, proxies, and network reconfigurations, cloud-native architectures offer rapid deployment and a high time-to-value factor. Additionally, API-based solutions are unobtrusive and transparent to end users, allowing access to cloud applications from any location and any device without the impedance of traffic reroutes or agents.
Given the speed with which SaaS applications function, real time monitoring - and real time risk detection - is crucial. The quicker incidents are found, the quicker they are resolved, minimizing risk to your most valuable corporate data assets.
Data protection and security means different things to different organizations, particularly when leveraging public cloud applications. An effective cloud security solution finds, surfaces, and helps remediate the exact data that is sensitive to your, whether it is PCI, HIPAA, or other regulated information, a piece of intellectual property, or a document containing the word “confidential”. Accurate, policy-driven identification translates to highly focused security operations, reducing the risk of data exposures and breaches.
Cloud security solutions must also be able to detect and control third-party cloud applications that pose a security threat to the organization. Many call this “Shadow IT”. Start with efficient shadow IT risk elimination, by identifying the applications that matter, focusing on ones that touch corporate systems. Next, find a solution that helps you tell the “good” from the “bad” apps, and makes informed decisions on each. Then, make sure you have enough flexibility to granularly black- and whitelist apps based on your organization’s unique usage needs.
In order for a solution to enable efficient security operations practices, it must integrate with security and other IT systems - particularly security information and event management (SIEM) systems and ticketing systems - maintaining established processes, and preserving existing investments.
Trust is a big word, particularly in the security world. When organizations adopt a cloud data protection solution, they entrust the management of their sensitive data and, in a bigger sense, the strength and effectiveness of their cybersecurity program, to a third party. Make sure you have confidence in the stability, company best practices, and required security standing of each vendor you evaluate. A proven customer track record, certifications and reports, such as SSAE 16, SOC I, II & III, are not luxuries in this space, but musts.
See Cisco Cloudlock in action from one of our cloud security experts
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