Many organizations have adopted cloud computing, but they are struggling with securing their new cloud infrastructure. These organizations struggle to achieve full network visibility across both cloud and on-premises environments and to identify security solutions that address core cloud security challenges.
Cloud Security Lags Behind Cloud Adoption
Before the COVID-19, almost all organizations had moved to the cloud, and the COVID-19 pandemic only served to accelerate this trend. The need to support a remote workforce inspired companies to adopt cloud-based solutions to support remote meetings and other corporate collaboration.
However, while many organizations have embraced the cloud, they lag behind at learning to secure their cloud investments. Many organizations still have difficulty understanding the cloud shared security model, a core tenet of cloud security. They also have difficulty adapting from protecting on-premises data centers and infrastructure to effectively addressing the unique security challenges of the cloud.
Where Legacy Security Approaches Hamper Cloud Security
The cloud is very different from an on-premises environment. This makes some of the common practices in traditional cybersecurity ineffective for securing the cloud. Some legacy security approaches that hinder cloud security include:
- Perimeter-Based Security Models: Historically, many organizations have adopted a perimeter-focused security strategy that assumes that all threats come from outside the organization and attempts to block them from gaining internal access. This security model does not work in the cloud, where the public Internet is now inside an organization’s “perimeter”.
- Standalone Security: Many organizations have based their security architecture on identifying standalone solutions that address specific use cases, which results in a network that is complex and difficult to monitor effectively. Taking the same approach in the cloud – where an organization may have multiple different cloud deployments – will only exacerbate the issue and result in inconsistent monitoring and security policy enforcement across the organization’s on-premises and cloud-based infrastructure.
- Appliance Focus: On-premises, the process of designing security architecture is often focused on selecting the physical appliances that provide an organization with the capabilities that it requires. In the cloud, physical appliances are not an option, and service-based models are available and offer a greater degree of flexibility and scalability.
Designing Security for the Cloud-Based Enterprise
The cloud requires a different approach to security than on-premises data environments. In the cloud, an organization does not have full control over its infrastructure, is working in a variety of vendor-specific environments, and needs to implement security that does not impede the scalability and flexibility that drove its move to the cloud.
Addressing these challenges require cloud-specific security solutions. Some of the crucial features to look for to secure the cloud include:
- Platform Agnostic: The majority of organizations have adopted multi-cloud environments, and they also have on-premises infrastructure as well. An effective cloud security solution should be platform-agnostic, enabling it to provide consistent security across all of an organization’s environments.
- Security Integration: Cloud environments are already complex, and a poor approach to security can only exacerbate the issue. A cloud security solution should allow an organization’s security team to converge its security architecture into a single solution, enabling more rapid and effective incident detection and response.
- Flexibility and Scalability: Flexibility and scalability are the hallmarks of the cloud, and the ability to be agile and adapt to meet business needs are major drivers behind cloud adoption. An organization’s cloud security solution should have these same features, enabling it to adapt to these changes and continue to provide effective security.
- Cloud-Native: The increased use of cloud infrastructure and remote work requires security solutions that are cloud-native. Security strategies that require traffic to be routed through on-premises environments for inspection are inefficient and degrade network performance and employee productivity.
- Complete Network Visibility: Cloud deployments contain both applications and data that may be hosted in multiple cloud environments. Organizations need visibility not only into north-south but also east-west traffic within their cloud-based infrastructure.
While this is a diverse set of requirements, a solution exists that meets all of them. Secure access service edge (SASE) is a cloud-native solution that combines the network optimization of SD-WAN with a fully integrated security stack.
SASE points of presence (PoPs) are deployed in the cloud, making it easy for them to be located near to traffic sources and destinations. All traffic is routed through the nearest PoP, which performs a full security inspection before optimally routing it to the PoP nearest to its destination, which forwards it on to its eventual destination.
By deploying security at the network level, SASE eliminates the challenges of implementing consistent security across heterogeneous on-premises and cloud-based infrastructure. It also converges security into a single solution with complete network visibility, simplifying the role of the security team and enabling them to more scalably and effectively protect the organization against cyber risks.