By Yuri Diogenes, Principal PM Manager, Microsoft Defender for CloudThe cloud is an engine that powers our daily lives. While the cloud has promised benefits such as improved IT efficiency, flexibility and scalability, there is still one big challenge at the top of everyone’s mind: security. And for good reason, too. As the cloud continues to expand, it also increases the potential attack surface for organizations. To make matters even more complicated, traditional security tools and services don’t fulfill today’s cloud security needs. This is why today’s infrastructure continues to represent such a critical threat vector.In this article we will explore some of the top challenges that CISOs are facing when securing their cloud environments, as well as how Microsoft’s cloud services can help enterprises better assess, secure and defend against evolving threats.CISOs are overwhelmedToday’s CISOs and their teams are constantly busy trying to prioritize what needs to be remediated while ensuring the right level of governance. The rapid push towards digital transformation spurred by the pandemic put extreme pressure on CISOs. Not only were they forced to secure a newly distributed workforce basically overnight, but also many organizations did not factor in security during this shift.As a result, these companies now have hybrid environments with multi-cloud and on-premises infrastructure, while also still dealing with security posture challenges of those remote workloads. This ultimately has a huge impact on the enterprise’s overall cyber hygiene. CISOs have less visibility into their organization’s environments, meaning they are unable to proactively monitor threats and mitigate cloud exploits.Poor cyber hygiene leads to exposed cloud environmentsThe Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) published an alert pointing to how attackers are exploiting poor cyber hygiene to compromise cloud environments. And why wouldn’t they? Our Microsoft Digital Defense Report highlights that poor cyber hygiene is still the number one reason for vulnerabilities getting exposed. In fact, basic security hygiene can still protect against 98% of attacks.A common problem is storing sensitive information in the cloud without the appropriate security controls in place. This is why it’s so important for organizations to know which sensitive data they have and where it’s kept, so they can ensure the appropriate steps are in place to protect that data.We also often recommend taking a risk-based approach regarding organizations’ security programs, which prioritizes knowing your data as well as understanding what is sensitive and\/or may be subject to regulatory requirements.Poor cyber hygiene is often a result of a lack of visibility across the organization, a lack of proper resources as well as a lack of proper security monitoring and governance.Microsoft Defender for Cloud provides strong posture management and workload protectionMicrosoft Defender for Cloud is a powerful solution used for cloud security posture management (CSPM) and cloud workload protection (CWP) to find weak spots across organizations’ cloud configurations. It also helps strengthen the overall security posture of their environment, and protects workloads across multi-cloud and hybrid environments from evolving threats. It provides the tools needed to harden organizational assets and resources, track security posture, protect against cyber-attacks and streamline security management.Defender for Cloud fills three vital needs for organizations to better manage the security of their resources and workloads in the cloud and on-premises:It continuously assesses vulnerabilities, providing visibility into current security posture. This requirement is supported by the secure score feature, which gives organizations a quick snapshot of their existing security situation. The higher the score, the lower the likelihood that a vulnerability will be successfully exploited.It secures infrastructure by providing customized and prioritized security recommendations to improve an organization’s posture, protecting all connected resources and services. For many of the recommendations, Defender for Cloud offers a “quick fix” button to easily execute the recommendation or remediate the problem.It defends by alerting organizations when threats are detected in their environments, leveraging Microsoft Threat Intelligence, which amasses billions of security signals. This provides the necessary context, relevance, and priority—sometimes called enrichment—for people to make faster and better cybersecurity decisions.Defender for Cloud can be hosted in Azure, AWS, Google Cloud Platform, and\/or on-premises. To help organizations focus on what matters the most, they will receive customized threat intelligence and prioritized alerts according to their specific environments. This also makes Microsoft the only cloud provider that enables users to manage security centrally across clouds.Microsoft goes above and beyond to closely monitor cloud hosting abuse and evaluate new ways to detect and neutralize hosting of malicious sites. We proactively detect abuse of the Microsoft cloud at the hosting source and neutralize it before attacks start or scale. To put this into context, in the three-month period between May and July 2021, we disabled roughly 15,850 phishing sites hosted on Azure.Visibility and proper protection are keys to ensuring a successful cloud security strategy. To learn more about how Microsoft Defender for Cloud can help accelerate your organization’s cloud security maturity, please read our guide, watch our Defender for Cloud series on the Microsoft Security YouTube channel, and check out our webcast on delivering security protection for your organization’s entire hybrid, multi-cloud, and multi-platform environment.