Protect your business from malware in the cloud

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The cloud offers a multitude of benefits to businesses. This includes making the task of security management more accessible. However, there are still many gray areas associated with the cloud and its implications for the overall security of an organization. With the widespread implementation of cloud computing in enterprises, the conversation around security management has become somewhat convoluted, which has only added to the difficulty of making security decisions. effective.

Despite the reduced maintenance load provided by cloud providers, the move to the cloud often blurs existing security lines within the organization, which can pave the way for poor decision-making. In addition, the term “cloud” carries with it multiple interpretations, as it is a broadly defined term that contributes to various meanings in different technological contexts and ecosystems. Everyone has their own security considerations.

In many cloud-centric environments, those at the forefront of decision-making may not be aware of the cloud, which means they may not understand the ramifications that choosing a choice could have. secure cloud solution. This is a potential disaster plan.

When organizations relied on local infrastructure for all of their data, it was necessary to consider security threats such as malware. For a local infrastructure to function effectively, organizations had to be aware of the threat posed by malware and take responsibility for protecting those systems. The move to the cloud allows organizations to shift responsibility for infrastructure maintenance to cloud providers, thereby reducing this particular area of ​​risk.

Businesses can minimize the considerable risk posed by malware by carefully considering the exact nature of the services these third-party cloud providers provide to their businesses. As we move towards a future heavily dependent on the cloud, it is up to companies to realize the importance of exercising effective cybersecurity practices and how these fit into their business models.

There are different cloud models, each with logical processes that businesses can adopt to make sure cloud malware is hijacked.

Where does your organization fit into the cloud?

The best way to start your organization’s cloud security implementation is to remotely analyze it. The right place to start might be to ask yourself, “Where exactly is my organization located in the cloud?” When assessing how dependent your business is on a cloud-based infrastructure, you are likely to encounter one of two scenarios: either your organization has moved completely to the cloud or you are using a hybrid model.

A hybrid cloud model is one where the actual computation occurs both locally and across multiple clouds so that the organization is not hosted in the cloud. In a hybrid model, traditional security concerns are still highly relevant to local technology assets and resemble the security requirements associated with on-premises server infrastructure. More often than not, businesses find themselves using the hybrid cloud model because many of the core technologies used by organizations don’t work as efficiently in the cloud.

An example scenario of the cloud transition challenge can be demonstrated with the help of a graphic design company. Computerized visual arts can be bandwidth and processing intensive. The flexibility of the cloud can easily compensate for most increased workloads; However, without proper planning, this can lead to unexpected and increased costs. It can also have security implications.

Once you have completed the step of identifying which assets have made the full transition to the cloud and which are still under the control of the organization, you will need to delve deeper into the potential cloud solutions available to you. Organizations should be careful with any assumptions about what to expect from their cloud-based solution. This could lead to expectations which could therefore lead to a higher level of risk.

To ensure the best outcome from any cloud solution your organization chooses to adopt, you should spend time discussing a few different cloud models and how you might approach your security posture to deal with a threat such as cloud malware in all of them.

How do you protect yourself against cloud malware in different cloud models?

1. The SaaS model

The most common cloud model implemented today is software as a service model (SaaS). This is a software distribution method that allows a third-party vendor to host multiple applications, distributing them to customers over the Internet. It can be safely assumed that the SaaS model is strictly dependent on the Application Service Provider (ASP), as well as on-demand compute and software delivery models.

To better demonstrate how the SaaS model works, just take a look at some of the popular streaming services. Think about how the content is delivered to you. You pay a monthly subscription to the service and then connect to all the movies and shows offered through the cloud. No matter what device you use, compute, infrastructure, storage, and platform all exist remotely in vendor environments.

Since these platforms exist in the cloud, the responsibility for security is limited to the user account and the particular device used to connect to the cloud. With this in mind, when formulating a security strategy that eradicates the cloud malware, consideration should be given to potentially infected areas, which typically consist of the end user’s device.

It’s also worth mentioning that while the SaaS solution allows data to be downloaded locally to your device, you are essentially using a hybrid model since the data now exists in the local environment. SaaS takes a ‘hands off’ approach to cloud security, which is proving to be one of its strengths.

2. The PaaS model

Unlike the SaaS model, the Platform as a Service (PaaS) model allows more control by giving the consumer responsibility for applications and data. The PaaS model is a cloud computing model in which a third-party vendor provides both hardware and software.

To understand how the PaaS model works, we can consider an offer that presents a ready-to-use environment to its users. Of course, customers can always change the apps they download as well as the data they store on those platforms. Similar to how you can buy a PC in a store, which is fully configured to download and install apps, the PaaS model allows customers a much higher level of control and customization.

While the PaaS model allows users a greater level of control than the SaaS model, it comes with its fair share of security concerns. For example, using the PaaS cloud model, your primary concern should be the data you accumulate. You should be aware of ensuring security throughout the PaaS environment.

3. The IaaS model

Like the PaaS model, the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) model goes even further, offering consumers an even greater level of control. IaaS is a cloud computing model that gives users control over the configuration and organization of their server, which is made up of elements such as the operating system.

Since the IaaS model gives users greater control and freedom, you will need to take on some additional security responsibilities. With the IaaS model, you are now in control of the operating system, so you need to apply patches and updates regularly. Additionally, you need to make sure that you are testing and managing vulnerabilities more aggressively than in a PaaS or SaaS model to protect yourself against the risk posed by malware in the cloud.

Final words

This is just a preliminary review of part of the security that needs to be considered with different cloud offerings. If your organization is new to its cloud adoption journey, I encourage you to read more on the Tripwire blog using the hyperlinks provided in this article. You can also refer to Tripwire Configuration Manager to learn how to handle configuration errors in the cloud: https://www.tripwire.com/products/tripwire-configuration-manager/worry-less-about-cloud-security.


About the Author: Waqas is a cybersecurity journalist and writer with a knack for writing articles on technology and online privacy. He strives to help create a secure online environment and is proficient at writing topics related to cybersecurity, AI, DevOps, cloud security and more. Waqas runs the DontSpoof.com project, which features expert opinions on online privacy and security.

Editor’s Note: The views expressed in this guest author’s article are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of Tripwire, Inc.


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