We're all familiar with the many benefits of moving to the cloud, but taking the steps to do it can be daunting. At the end of the day, however, if you take time to understand the risks posed by the cloud and implement a comprehensive strategy for managing them, you can—with confidence—take full advantage of all the benefits that come from running fast in the cloud.
Embracing the Cloud
In early days, the question used to be: "What are the risks of operating in the cloud, and are they worth it?"
Over time, cloud adoption has skyrocketed. Today the question is: "What's the risk if we don't embrace the cloud?"
The answer to the latter question is easy: you get left in the slow lane while your competitors speed on by.
Moving to the cloud is no longer a question of if; it is a question of when. You've got to do it, and to do it right, you must first understand the critical components of cloud security, how to get started with a cloud strategy, and who can help along the way.
The Bad Old Days
In earlier years, single point security solutions were common. These attacked security piecemeal, producing fragmented coverage that might have created the illusion of security but actually left significant gaps and reduced operational efficiency. Because these "bolt on" systems couldn't correlate or consolidate information, they delivered pieces of data, making it impossible to capture a complete, real-time picture of operations. And of course, running multiple systems raises Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) significantly.
To drive organizational efficiency, organizations need streamlined workflows. You can't implement them with point solutions, however.
Modern Times Require Modern Security
A total shift in approach has taken place in cloud security management, and new, integrated systems are replacing traditional products. (Think "built in" instead of "bolt on".)
The new world requires comprehensive, automated cloud security platforms that integrate into your business, provide end-to-end workload visibility, and deliver rich, contextualized data that keeps you up to date and positioned to make informed decisions in a timely manner. Instead of slowing you down, these integrated systems strongly support your business goals.
There are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there, but here are a couple of key recommendations that will help:
● Invest in an integrated, cloud-native solution and re-engineer your organization.
● Rebuild your team of Ops/DevOps experts.
● Don't feel you have to go it alone; in fact, it's smarter to engage cloud-centric experts.
Sound like a big investment? Don't worry: the initial cost will be repaid over and over.
Another incredibly important aspect is to focus on the workload. It holds the single source of truth for what's happening in your infrastructure. The data here can tell you if suspicious behavior exists in your workloads; if application servers aren't working properly; and if workers aren't following policies and processes.
My advice to those who haven't already immersed themselves in the cloud culture? Do it, but do it right. The speed and complexity of the cloud require new security tools, new practices, and new strategies. With guidance from security experts, these challenges can be addressed with confidence. Come chat and learn more about cloud security on June 14-15 at Cloud Security World 2016!
As Threat Stack's Chairman & CEO, Brian Ahern is passionate about building disruptive technology companies, fueled by innovation and high performing teams. A seasoned technology executive with nearly two decades of experience, Brian joins Threat Stack from Industrial Defender where he was Founder and CEO, and which he saw through a successful acquisition by Lockheed Martin in April 2014. Brian's talk, Inside-Out Security: Why the Cloud Workload is the New Endpoint, will be featured at Cloud Security World on June 15th at 11:15 am.