I’m often asked about cloud security best practices, and my answer is always the same: It depends on what you want to protect in the cloud.
Of course, encryption and multifactor authentication are in the mix to keep your data and applications safe. Indeed, the security services you’ll find in the cloud are about as good as they get in IT. After all, we’ve yet to see a major attack in a public cloud. At least, nobody has fessed up if they experienced one.
But putting all security bets aside, the best way to protect your application in the public cloud is to actively watch it.
Let’s say you’re hit with attacks from outside of the country that look like access attempts on a group of IP addresses in the cloud. The data is encrypted on those servers, so you’re safe if the attackers gain access. However, a better approach is to kick them off automatically using a monitoring function that can see the odd behavior, note that it’s out of policy, and take corrective action.
Keep in mind that this is not a human standing in front of a console 24/7; it’s an automated process that watches the cloud-based systems at the infrastructure, data, application, and network layers. The analogy I like to use is that your cloud security systems lock your doors and windows, and it even puts your valuables in a safe inside your home. With monitoring, you also have a security guard who can spot attempted intrusions before the bad guys even attempt to test your locks.
There are many solutions on the market that you can use, either on-demand out of a cloud or as on-premises software. The trick is not to toss technology at this problem; take your time to pick the best approach for the workload you’ll be running on the cloud.