Securing Critical Applications Running in the Cloud

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Digital acceleration depends on making critical applications and services available to every user and device, whether on-premises, at home, or somewhere in-between. And increasingly powerful endpoint devices and more pervasive and agile cloud environments have created a development feedback loop to support the demand for faster, richer, and more collaborative user experiences. As a result, according to the 2022 Cloud Security Report, 40% of enterprises now run more than half of their workloads in the cloud. And that percentage is expected to increase to nearly 60% by 2024.

Securing today’s cloud environments requires working smarter, not harder

But according to that same study, part of the problem in securing today’s increasingly complex and distributed cloud environments is a growing lack of security skills (up from 57% last year to 61% now). This aggravates other cloud challenges such as protecting data constantly in motion (53%), interconnecting disparate solutions (51%), and dealing with the resulting loss of visibility and control (47%) that makes managing threats increasingly difficult. And these challenges may actually contribute to the rise of cloud-based attacks, with 37% of organizations experiencing an average of four cloud attacks or breaches in the past two years as cybercriminals invariably target the least secured segment of any operation.

One of the biggest challenges is building a security framework capable of scaling and adapting to the demands of cloud environments while centralizing visibility and control. Many organizations now have dozens of isolated point security solutions deployed across their expanding cloud environments, increasing management and enforcement complexity by siloing risk, limiting remediation, and increasing friction and overhead for already overburdened IT and DevOps teams. So, in addition to deploying security solutions in the cloud, organizations must also improve operational efficiencies if they hope to proactively manage cloud risks. And to secure cloud-based workloads, a cloud-native security platform must empower organizations to work “smarter, not harder” in securing their cloud deployments. Achieving this requires organizations to consider three critical criteria when selecting cloud security solutions:

Select cloud-native solutions able to maximize security value and effectiveness. Cloud-native, integrated security solutions are easier to deploy and manage. They are designed to keep pace with rapidly evolving cloud environments. And they can quickly scale as organizational needs evolve. Organizations should also consider consolidating solutions using integrated, cross-cloud platforms to simplify their overarching security architecture. An integrated and unified security platform approach enables broad visibility across all applications and workloads, helping maximize cloud investments.

Use cross-cloud solutions to focus on the most critical risks. Integrated cloud-native solutions can correlate and normalize security data across multiple security technologies, even across different cloud environments. Cloud-native solutions that span cloud environments allow IT teams to see and prioritize the most-critical risks.

Consolidate security operations to accelerate response and manage risk. 89% of today’s organizations have a multi-cloud strategy. To effectively monitor and secure expanding and expansive cloud environments, IT teams need to monitor and enforce consistent policies and workflows across multiple clouds from a single dashboard. Integrated and centralized management and response minimizes gaps in security coverage while improving security team productivity, enabling consistent protection across the entire cloud footprint.

Four critical criteria when considering a cloud security solution

When selecting solutions to manage cloud risk, organizations need to consider the following:

  1. Does this technology work natively across all clouds while integrating with local cloud provider solutions? Organizations securing their cloud resources often utilize the cloud service provider’s (CSP) broad range of security service offerings, which are easy to deploy and quick to implement. However, many organizations—especially those with a multi-cloud strategy—may be better served by third-party solutions designed to integrate natively with the security services and technologies provided by multiple CSPs and on-premises solutions they already have invested in, to minimize integration friction and maximize value.

This broader approach provides IT teams with a single platform to manage their workloads, ensuring consistent security and experience across all cloud environments. And in addition to centralized management, a unified platform means IT teams only need to build solution expertise once, resulting in more predictable outcomes and more efficient cloud-security operations.

  1. Does this solution provide a prioritized view of security risks? Managing cloud risk is a dynamic process. Broad visibility into potential and evolving risks is essential, but IT teams can be overwhelmed by alert fatigue. An effective cloud security solution must also prioritize those risks and provide insights into how to best address them across the distributed network. Ideal solutions not only need to operate natively in different environments. They should also integrate with other security tools and services to correlate and normalize intelligence generated by multiple security technologies—and across cloud environments. And it needs to do this in real-time, factoring in such issues as security posture, vulnerability, permissions, and threat signals to produce a normalized risk analysis.
  2. Does this solution simplify security operations while effectively managing risks? When it comes to streamlining security, solutions must not only leverage integrations with other security solutions and services but also be easy to activate, cloud-agnostic, and not require extensive expertise across security technologies. Integrated and easy-to-manage solutions enable consistent workflows end-to-end, minimizing gaps in security coverage across hybrid networks, including all major cloud environments. This single solutions approach, in addition to reducing technology management overhead, relieves security teams from having to master the intricacies of each cloud platform and their respective security services.
  3. Does this solution enable a cybersecurity mesh platform strategy? As organizations deploy business-critical applications and workloads spanning multiple clouds and hybrid networks, they face greater complexity combined with less visibility, resulting in security gaps and blind spots. A cybersecurity mesh platform integrates traditionally isolated security solutions into a unified solution, enabling broad, integrated, and automated capabilities to help organizations harmonize their enterprise security. But to be effective, it must also integrate across cloud deployments, empowering centralized management and visibility, consistent policies, and automated response and operations across their entire deployment. This integrated approach also addresses cybersecurity skills and resource gaps because IT and DevOps teams can come up to speed faster and respond more efficiently to threats because artificial intelligence and machine learning can be deployed end-to-end.

A single solution spanning your evolving network

Consistent cybersecurity deployed across major cloud platforms enables a friction-free, cloud-native approach that reduces IT overhead, especially when it can be easily integrated into the more extensive hybrid network. It helps organizations maximize the value from their cloud-native security investments by reducing complexity, providing greater visibility to better protect critical applications and workloads, and delivering consistent workflows that can be securely enabled across all cloud environments.

Learn how Fortinet’s cloud security solutions provide the necessary visibility and control across cloud infrastructures, enabling secure applications and connectivity from data center to cloud.




Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.