As more organizations move workloads to the cloud for improved cost savings, agility, and flexibility, hesitation remains. Securing cloud workloads is an understandable concern as enterprises watch massive volumes of data moving in and out of their networks. In addition, malicious hackers have been watching the exodus to the cloud and are targeting cloud infrastructure and workloads to access that data.
When attacking, the easiest way to gain access to your systems is by compromising a user’s credentials so that the hacker can gain access to the network and all your data. When they leverage a trusted identity, they operate without detection and pull data without raising a single eyebrow. The use of phishing campaigns, password sniffers, and malware attacks are indicative of an era where hacking is no longer necessary; they simply login.
Enterprises need to move to a zero trust model, where employees are always verified and are granted the least privilege necessary. Zero trust enables enterprises to empower their workforce and reduce risk across a cloud environment. Here are five practices for securing cloud workloads in a zero trust model:
Use What You Know: Cloud workloads operate outside the traditional perimeter of the network, but that doesn’t mean that you need to pitch everything you know about security and start over. The concepts that you’ve applied traditionally to your on-premise solutions are still applicable to cloud workloads. Your roles and responsibilities, for instance, are identical whether the data is in-house or in the cloud, so your infrastructure remains the same for your existing directory.
Embrace Multi-Factor Authentication: Your credential process must involve multiple factors, including password entry followed by a unique, single-use access code, ideally provided on a separate device. Use multi-factor authentication across your enterprise as a rule to defend against attacks.
Avoid Identity Sprawl: Don’t rely on the access keys provided by your local cloud provider; instead use centralized identities and a federated login system. A federated system gives you the ability to allow an existing access right to a cloud provider. This helps you avoid identity sprawl, as well as needing to manage different identity silos. You also have the ability to manage problems around identity duplication or synchronization that might otherwise leave your network vulnerable.
Limit Rights: Always grant the minimal level of access needed to complete any given task. Determine what each user’s role requires and then allow only those tasks. You can also create some dynamic privileges based on context, while offering some capabilities available only in case of an emergency.
In partnership with restricting rights is the need to monitor authorized and unauthorized sessions. Some security solutions even offer the ability to record actions so that logs can be analyzed to detect patterns and anomalies in system access.
Take Responsibility: Don’t rely on your cloud provider for security protection. You own the data in those cloud workloads, and the risk is ultimately yours. You will have a shared responsibility with your cloud provider for those cloud workloads, but it’s best to take control of your cloud workloads with a Zero Trust approach.
Implementing a Zero Trust approach for cloud workloads helps you gain all the benefits of the cloud, without unnecessary worry over cyber security. Contact us at Cory Communications to learn more about the tools available for securing your network.