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Five Cloud Security Myths

The pandemic will have a lasting, long-term effect on IT, and one of the most important will be even faster migration to the cloud, according to Richard L. Villars, group vice president, Worldwide Research at IDC. Recently, he said, “By the end of 2021, based on lessons learned in the pandemic, most enterprises will put a mechanism in place to accelerate their shift to cloud-centric digital infrastructure and application services twice as fast as before the pandemic.” 

Unfortunately, cloud architects and cloud security experts  in particular, are in short supply, which means organizations may fall prey to the prevalent cloud security myths circulating within the IT community. To help ensure your organization builds its cloud security strategy on a solid foundation, we’ve identified some of the most common misconceptions regarding cloud security to avoid: 

  • Cloud providers handle security for their customers: This myth is partly true, because cloud providers operate on a shared responsibility model. However, believing they take care of all aspects of cloud security is both wrong and dangerous. Cloud providers protect their infrastructure against attackers, but customers are responsible for the security of their workloads that run on that infrastructure. If you misconfigure an instance in such a way that unauthorized individuals can access it, for example, the cloud provider will not be able to prevent an attacker from taking advantage of this vulnerability and will likely not be responsible for the breach and its outcome. 
  • It’s nearly impossible to achieve compliance in a cloud environment: Compliance in the cloud is not impossible, but it is different from traditional, on-premises IT. Thankfully, there are strong, mature tools on the market with pre-built rulesets that map to a wide array of regulatory compliance requirements and also provide automated audit reports to prove that you’re following the rules. So long as you work with a strong third-party expert and use the proper compliance tools for the cloud, ensuring  compliance is achievable .
  • Machine learning (ML) is a cloud security silver bullet: There’s no doubt that machine learning is a powerful security tool, especially within an environment as complex as the cloud. ML can uncover risky activities and anomalies that human beings would often overlook. But these insights require a human expert to place them into context and decide on the proper course of action. Unless you have in-house personnel or a security partner with the right cloud security skills, your organization will not benefit from the full power of ML in cloud security.
  • Moving on-premises applications to the cloud is simple: Migrating an application from an on-premises environment to a hyperscale cloud isn’t as simple as uploading whatever you have on a local server to AWS, Azure or Google. For example, not every feature or function of a software solution is used by the enterprise, so there’s no reason to pay for the additional processing and storage, and unused components are often not deployed. Additionally, applications typically need to be optimized for the cloud to reduce the amount of cloud resources they require to reduce costs. These alterations to the deployment can change the security stance, which is already quite different from that of an on-premises environment. Whenever IT migrates an application to cloud or hybrid cloud, it’s critical to conduct a complete security assessment first.
  • Remote work is more secure when using the cloud: The cloud provides a lot of advantages for supporting remote workers such as ubiquitous access and unlimited scalability, but it’s not inherently any more secure than remotely connecting to an on-premises server. Connections must be encrypted, and end-users should use multi-factor authentication to log into their cloud resources no matter where they’re located. 

Whether your workloads are already in the cloud or transitioning there, it is important to note that attackers are fully aware that more and more valuable information is becoming cloud hosted. Therefore, they are dramatically increasing their focus and ability to compromise these environments.  Likewise, bad actors  will take advantage of those organizations with a cloud security and compliance strategy based on misconceptions. By correcting these popular myths, organizations can continue to capitalize on the benefits of modern cloud infrastructure and services on a secure footing.

If you want to learn how Threat Stack helps its customers handle their side of the shared responsibility model while streamlining cloud security compliance book a demo today.