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How to Keep Sensitive Data Safe with IaaS

Article by Bitglass CTO Anurag Kahol

In today's cloud-first world, more and more enterprises are utilizing infrastructure as a service (IaaS) to enhance their operations.

IaaS offerings like AWS, GCP and Azure allow enterprises to focus on business growth, gain flexibility and scalability, and to achieve significant cost savings.

However, while using IaaS brings many advantages, it also raises unique data leakage concerns that must be addressed in order to maintain robust cybersecurity.

There are three cornerstones of security for those considering IaaS platforms, and the use of cloud access security brokers (CASBs) can help to ensure that sensitive data to remain protected at all times.

Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM)

To protect data at rest and the applications that access it, organizations must ensure that underlying IaaS settings are correctly configured for continuous security, as well as for compliance with frameworks like the CIS Benchmark, HIPAA, and PCI DSS.

Accomplishing this requires an effective cloud security posture management (CSPM) solution that can analyse an enterprise’s IaaS instances and check for misconfigurations.

In something like AWS, these misconfigurations can take a variety of forms: for example, multi-factor authentication not being enabled for users, CloudTrail being disabled, or public-facing S3 buckets.

Time and again, these issues expose sensitive data that may not be protected or encrypted, enabling unauthorized access and a host of other headaches for the enterprise and its data subjects.

Keeping Sensitive Data Safe with Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASBs)

While the challenges surrounding IaaS can seem varied and complex, there are highly effective security solutions available that offer the all-in-one protection that enterprises seek.

Chief amongst them is the cloud access security broker (CASB), which is a software tool that acts as a gatekeeper, secures data at rest, and proxies traffic between end users and the cloud, providing a central point of visibility and control for any IaaS platform.

CASBs offer a variety of helpful capabilities. For example, encryption which renders data at rest completely unreadable and indecipherable to external prying eyes as well as unauthorized internal personnel. Unless an authorized user is accessing the application securely through the CASB, they will see nothing but meaningless encrypted pointers, significantly reducing the risk of data exfiltration.

Select CASBs also provide the real-time, inline protections necessary for securing access to custom applications. For example, leading agentless CASBs boast advanced threat protection (ATP) that can halt the upload of malware from any device, as well as contextual access control, which governs data access by a variety of factors, including users’ geographic locations, device types, job functions, and even behaviors in real-time.

Finally, some CASB vendors also incorporate CSPM capabilities into their solutions.

In this way, they can find misconfigurations, notify admins and tell them how issues can be fixed.

Leading CASBs also offer automatic remediation of uncovered issues, providing the continuous assessment and compliance monitoring that companies need when making use of IaaS.

While the benefits of migrating to an IaaS environment are clear, enterprises contemplating the move must consider the security implications of doing so, and take steps to address them before it’s too late.

While this can seem daunting, the careful deployment of technologies such as CASBs allows enterprises to enjoy the myriad of benefits that the cloud has to offer – all while remaining confident that corporate data and IT resources are fully protected.

Bedrock Cloud Solutions partners with many IaaS providers, like Rapidscale, that offer Security as a Service. They have industry and regulatory compliance expertise with audit-ready facilities and a compliant cloud infrastructure. Contact Us today to learn more.

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