At almost every trade show or security event we attend, typically the two biggest topics attendees ask us about are:
- Effective firewall cleanup
- Visibility into the cloud
Makes sense, as we provide services around both needs. We’ve talked a lot about cleanup in the past. Click here, here or here to read up on that topic. But we haven’t spilled as much digital ink on cloud security visibility – mostly because it’s a newer phenomenon. But it’s one that security teams are facing head on now. Especially as cloud controls (or lack thereof) have become one of the leading causes of security breaches.
With that said, let’s dive in.
Cloud computing is one of the most aptly-named technologies enterprises have. The cloud – just like the actual clouds you see your friends post on Instagram – is swift, appearing out of nowhere. The cloud is shifty, moving around at a whim. It can be dense. It can be lightly stratified.
Cloud computing is not concrete, not homogenous and not stoppable.
And as a result, many simply lack the visibility into their cloud – and that’s why it comes up so much at those aforementioned tradeshows.
In order to gain control of your cloud security, though, visibility is absolutely the first step.
How do you gain visibility into your cloud?
Work with us. How easy was that?
Kidding – well, for a second at least.
Step 1: Get control of your inventory. Before we can know which controls could be helping or hurting security, we logically need to know which controls exist. This starts by gathering security controls from across the global cloud infrastructure. This inventory needs to update in real time. When all the controls are in a central place, you now have inventory.
Step 2: Normalize those controls. Now that we’ve gathered all the security controls from the cloud infrastructure, we need to normalize these rules. Every application, IaaS and micro-service contains security controls and settings that lend themselves to normalized structures. By focusing on the essentials (users, permissions, protocols, etc.), we can get a standard that applies to all cloud security controls. For example, we can see that Control A for AWS and Control B for private cloud have the same parts, even if they need to be rearranged for review. Now we have a more accurate lineup of our cloud security and can reach decisions faster.
Step 3: Coordinate those controls. Finally, we need to conclude our visibility effort by relating security controls to the corresponding cloud infrastructure. Not all cloud security controls are applicable or a best practice for certain cloud environments or applications or storage. Having the correct correspondence will allow us to see what’s out of bounds and take action to improve security. Controls need to be tailored to (a) business needs and (b) security intent of the organization.
With these three factors in place, we have a crisp view of our cloud in its current state. All controls are accounted for (inventory), they are all represented the same way (normalization) and they all relate to the intended goal or target (coordination).
You’ve started to achieve visibility now – and the next step (in our next blog!) will be about creating effective cloud controls.
In the meantime, take a look at some of the ways we’re helping enterprises tackle the cloud security visibility challenge. That’s what we meant by “Work With Us” above. Everything comes full circle. We help 900+ clients with this every day.