The cloud offers businesses enormous opportunities to expand and scale. Since its debut, forward-thinking businesses have viewed the cloud as a way to push the boundaries of computing, allowing them to grow and develop. Teams today are constantly taking advantage of the unimaginable pace with which new features are released to optimize deployments and provide better services.
However, as every cloud security expert knows, the cloud is riddled with complexities that are unheard of in on-premises environments. Security incidents and breaches in the cloud have become more regular than on-premises attacks. According to the 2021 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR), cloud assets were involved in 73 percent of cyber-attacks in 2020, compared to only 27 percent in 2019.
The cloud isn’t known for extending transparency or its incredible ability to be monitored, owing to its numerous configurations and deployment options. And the obfuscation isn’t improving any time soon. With the inclusion of more features than any DevOps team can keep track of, the introduction of microservices to enable developers move quicker, and new deployments for multiple cloud service providers, multicloud adoption is becoming more complex. This is why cloud security audits are necessary for businesses.
Here are some best practises to consider when conducting a cloud security audit.
Evaluate security posture of third-party vendors
Every business today employs some type of third-party software or providers. Whether it is a cloud optimization software, or a marketing automation software – these are all part of the enterprise supply chain.
Many businesses did not consider their trusted third parties to be risks until recently, but that is changing in the wake of the SolarWinds breach. These vendors can create massive blind spots that can be exploited. Many of these services grant excessive rights, which might expose businesses to major threats.
Nobody wants to go into a relationship with a partner whose security posture isn’t up to par. This hold true for cloud vendors as well. Businesses need a means to independently assess risk based on data-driven insights from onboarding to the conclusion of the engagement, in addition to assessing their security policies and practises.
This may appear daunting, but with tools like security ratings, companies can quickly automate this process. Security ratings can also be used to track any changes in a vendor’s security posture over time. This will prevent risk from infiltrating the partnership.
Assess attack surface with cloud security audit
Managing cloud security has become a sticking point for security teams as cloud and multi-cloud solutions expand. Traditional cybersecurity assessment methods can be difficult to scale into the cloud, making it difficult to find and analyse the security of cloud-hosted assets.
Threat actors are well aware of this, and they routinely take advantage of the flaws that can occur when cloud assets aren’t continuously and efficiently monitored. Industrious hackers can take advantage of compromised systems, unpatched software, open ports, and other flaws.
Today’s attack surface monitoring technology, however, has evolved to keep up with cloud risk and is an essential component of any cloud security audit. Security teams can immediately discover weaknesses in existing security policies and get a handle on risk across their cloud assets by continuously analysing the cloud environment. They can better focus their remediation efforts by prioritizing assets that are at disproportionate risk or are vital to the business.
Establish external sharing standards
Convenience is one of the key advantages of the cloud. It’s made sharing and accessing information across the company a breeze. However, convenience comes with a price. Employees may save a file containing sensitive data to their home network or share it with someone outside the company.
The data loss prevention policies should be reviewed as part of the cloud security audit. For example, security leaders can set up policies to restrict the sharing of sensitive documents, such as automatically alerting users against sending files to an external email domain or quarantining files before they are accessed or shared.