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How cyber security companies manage their IAAS (infrastructure as a service)

Forward-thinking organizations are moving IT infrastructure to the cloud to realize the benefits and economies of scale IaaS delivers. IaaS allows enterprises to remotely deploy and provision virtualized servers and infrastructure real time and on-demand. IaaS security and performance are different from on-premise, and a common misconception many companies have is the expectation of having the same resources and security in the cloud as they do in-house. Despite that, security concerns are the same but most IaaS providers offer improved levels of security than on-premises solutions. This is because service providers must invest more in securing their systems than most enterprises can do themselves.

Although IaaS is not inherently less secure than on-premise IT systems, it does require additional planning to ensure data protection regardless of state (at rest, in-transit, and in-use), designing a multilayer security strategy, and determining which security controls/functions to deploy. Below are best practices when deploying an effective security solution for IaaS:

1. Data Protection. Enterprises must protect and closely monitor the usage of their sensitive data regardless of state. Additionally, companies should familiarize themselves with regional data sovereignty and protection laws. For multinational organizations, it is important to know where the physical location of each data center is and where the data is stored and what safeguards are in place to protect it.

Data security breaches are the most damaging because they cause harm to customers, brands, and reputations. Service providers must adhere to data compliance and security rules specific to their customer’s business or sector. For service providers and enterprises, it must have strict data protection policies to monitor who is accessing information (IP or MAC address), where it was accessed (device type and location), and what they did with the data (shared, downloaded, etc.)

2. Multi-Layer Security. Upfront, customers should determine which hosting model is right - public cloud or hybrid. Once established, they must implement security guidelines that ensure the protection of the entire infrastructure. Providing 24/7 organization monitoring via a managed Security Operations Center (SOC) ensures timely detection, triage, and incident response regardless of attack source or type. Security is a multidisciplinary profession and it is nearly impossible for today’s security executives to keep up with ever-changing attack vectors and methods. SOCs employ multiple specialists with diverse skills and backgrounds in information security. Combine this with sound security controls it completes a multilayer security strategy.

3. Security Controls. Security controls are how the service provider addresses network access, isolation of virtual environments, patches, monitoring, etc. At a minimum, service providers should offer identity and access management (IAM), multifactor authentication, detailed logging, and other encryption methods like tokens or public key infrastructure (PKI).

Because IaaS is by nature highly flexible and customizable users can deploy, delete, and modify virtualized machines instantly, and by doing so eventually makes it difficult to keep track of where all data and compute resides. Right-sizing using automation tools helps confirm employees are not creating and forgetting virtual machines which create vulnerabilities within the environment. Top IaaS providers will have access to the tools or managed services ensuring organizations right size their IaaS environments while providing the best cyber security for cloud services.

When it comes to security, there are few differences between IaaS and traditional IT. Often, vulnerabilities in the cloud occur due to a misconfiguration made when setting-up the environment or by user/administrators making changes. Until recently, malware providers were not targeting cloud service providers as it is difficult to run in a virtualized environment. With the new breed of ransomware, extortion and other hijacking methods, attackers look for weakness in cloud accounts where they can compromise customer data. Therefore, data protection, a multi-layered security strategy, and tight security controls are important especially as IaaS environments become more complex to manage. A minor mistake or vulnerability can create a major security challenge for organizations.

Although the security concerns are real, IaaS offers a way for IT organizations to improve efficiency, speed, and flexibility while reducing costs. IaaS Service providers are continually working to improve their security, processes, and technologies to ensure they are delivering the right solutions to best suit the business requirements of their customers. For more information about IaaS and security.


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