Modern services live and breathe in the cloud. Cloud technologies have taken over the world by storm and onboarded almost every possible service through their easy-to-maintain infrastructure and cost-effective offerings. Enterprises are focusing on becoming fully cloud-centric. The extensive adoption brings many advantages to the table with security risks. Security is an utmost priority and is established in every organization’s core principles.
Data is the most valuable asset, and all the hurdles we go through are to find better ways to compute, store, and present data optimally and securely. You know how difficult adopting and maintaining security can be if you are oriented toward helping with infrastructure- or data-related activities. Every time a new service or feature is added, several repetitive chores necessitate manual intervention.
Data generation and consumption are increasing at an alarming rate, and following traditional approaches is no longer viable from a security standpoint. Intentionally or unintentionally, many factors can mess up the system when human intervention is involved. Recently, it has become evident that automating security practices and guidelines is the only way to create a reliable and stable system. But achieving this is not always easy. Enterprises need great talent and clear goals to streamline, smoothly transition, and improve overall cloud data security.
Implementing an Automated Strategy to Streamline and Safeguard Data
Always be in charge of your data plane.
Enterprises focus on collecting as much data as possible to provide a best-in-class user experience. Collected data needs to be analyzed and transformed to extract meaningful value. The analysis and exploratory part rely upon third-party service providers, either open source or paid.
Third-party SaaS and PaaS providers usually undertake the entire responsibility and promise to enable secure data maintenance and sharing. The commitment is valid and eliminates all the heavy lifting on the user side to monitor and maintain the data plane.
With more control over the data plane, we can enforce governance and access restrictions more strongly on all the data. We can integrate monitoring and alert services straight into the data plane with less effort and have a clear view of the data usage and metrics.
Monitoring stacks such as Grafana can play a vital role in capturing and alerting about data usage, network IO, and data durability in real time.
Maintain customer-managed policies and secrets.
Cloud providers offer multiple policies and secret management features by default. However, default policies are not always aligned with organizational standards and do not guarantee that each customer’s compliance requirements are met.
Cloud policies and secrets are best when we want to encrypt and govern the data in the cloud, but the heavy lifting takes place when data is in transit or at rest. Therefore, we need to have a fail-proof and well-established credential manager and need to enforce access and usage restrictions through custom customer-managed policies.
These customer-managed policies define how data at the enterprise level should be stored, processed, and transmitted in the cloud, and your system should be custom designed to protect sensitive information and comply with governance and regulations. When these policies are compiled with customer managers through external offerings such as Hashicorp Vault, a trusted secrets manager that enables numerous features with greater flexibility, automation, and delivery guarantees, the overall security build becomes airtight.
Apply and install tools to harden conf on all clusters and images.
An essential aspect of security-first enterprises is that they ensure security is applied on every inch of the tech stack. All cloud infrastructures run on clusters, and most enterprise stacks run in containerized images. Therefore, equipping a sound strategy during the cluster and image build can yield exceptional benefits regarding security.
Real-time vulnerability management, compliance reporting, and automated remediation with minimal impact on performance can easily be achieved by setting up configuration hardening tools during the cluster spin-up. In addition, there are numerous potential third-party technologies available that offer features like data discovery, threat detection, access control, and encryption management.
Ensuring the security or monitoring agents are set up on clusters through user data or via global init scripts boosts the overall security confidence of the system.
Compute and Storage are the main pain points that the cloud focuses on. Storage prices are dropping with advancements in compression and scaling up of data centers. However, security was and will always remain a problem.
Data security is a crucial component of cloud computing and calls for an all-encompassing strategy to safeguard confidential data. Businesses can lower the risk of data breaches and adhere to requirements by putting strong security measures in place, such as encryption, access control, and incident response.
Planning and architecting strategies at the beginning of development and setup is the most followed and sound approach. Undoubtedly, future innovations will be bred on the cloud, but securing them and streamlining them is important.