By Raj Srinivasaraghavan
It has been a known fact that cloud computing has been transforming the functional dynamics of businesses around the world making complex infrastructure and application deployment tasks simple. It is also known that in the pre-pandemic stage too, most organizations around the world were hosting their IT environments on the cloud. With no upfront capital investment required and low maintenance cost, migrating to a cloud environment offered businesses the advantages of cost optimization, reduced downtime and improved resilience. By facilitating seamless runtime mobility between multiple server environments, cloud hosting also offers the benefit of lowering stress on a single server. Businesses are not required to expend precious time and resources to deploy and monitor their applications manually because cloud computing offers automatic software integration, automatic security updates and customized software services. Investing in cloud hosting has been seen as an operationally strategic and financially prudent move by business entities to facilitate application/database scalability, reduce risks and drive flexible work practices.
As businesses around the world consider migrating their critical tasks to a cloud environment, the foreseen and unforeseen security concerns and risks cannot be undermined. It is highly likely that as organizations undertake the process of migration, they could lose precious data and application files due to weak infrastructure. Data exposure and breach are already emerging as serious risk considerations as malicious hackers increasingly target cloud infrastructures to gain unauthorised access to corporate databases/applications and steal sensitive business information. This not only entails huge financial losses for business organizations but also leads to dire consequences in terms of loss of brand reputation if the stolen data is used to perform unscrupulous acts. It is often deduced that improper security settings of application infrastructure in the cloud leads to these serious data or application breaches. .
For example, by providing accidental inbound/outbound network access in an unimpeded manner, unverified/non-whitelisted external entities are likely to encroach into cloud databases for stealing crucial data or plant a malware to disrupt server or network operations. Many a times, data breach or exposure could be an inside job. Employees may willingly or unintentionally share confidential data while transferring workloads to a cloud environment. . While in some cases, it can be a case of plain negligence or oversight, it has been observed that in most instances, data breaches or misappropriations are inside jobs for personal gains.
Going ahead, cloud service providers and business organizations will need to collaborate more in a shared security model that is already in place, in addressing cloud security concerns and resolving compliance issues. Businesses will have to ensure that they are compliant with cloud-relevant regulatory compliances. Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) will be instrumental in identifying misconfigurations and will help to prevent data breaches through security automation. With the implementation of CSPM, businesses will be able to assure customers that their data can be safe and secure. The emphasis will also be on the deployment of a zero-trust access model mandating authentication, authorization and validation of employee identity for data and application access. A zero-trust architecture works on the principle that trust cannot be taken for granted and stringent access controls and identity verification is imperative to ensure higher levels of access security. Rather than addressing the software development and deployment processes in isolation, the concept of DevSecOps (development, security and operations) will need to be applied in an integrated manner to improve the overall security deployment and implementation of a company’s Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC).
With the implementation of a robust end-to-end automated orchestration and monitoring of a secure infrastructure and with the right compliances, businesses will improve their security posture to defend against external and internal attacks. Cloud security solutions will play a pivotal role in ensuring seamless business continuity thus offering a strong customer experience in 2022.
(Authored by Raj Srinivasaraghavan, CTO, SecureKloud Technologies Ltd.)