6 Steps to Cloud Security Automation

6 Steps to Cloud Security Automation

Automating Cloud Security: A Comprehensive Guide

Cloud Security

Cloud security automation is crucial for protecting your team’s cloud environment from the ever-changing threat landscape of today. However, automating security protocols can be overwhelming, especially for teams new to cybersecurity. In this article, we will provide you with a straightforward six-step process to take your cloud security from default protocols to a customized, automated framework.

Step 1: Evaluation and Risk Assessment

The first step in automating cloud security is conducting a thorough evaluation and risk assessment of your cloud environment. Understanding how your cloud environment operates is essential before automating any security measures. This stage will help you identify key automation opportunities, vulnerabilities, and risk factors. The data gathered during this assessment will serve as the foundation for your cloud security automation strategy.

If your organization has not conducted a cybersecurity risk assessment before, a basic five-step approach can prevent confusion. While the risk assessment should cover all systems, prioritize cloud-related data and infrastructure. It’s important to note that an app can be highly secure and still be high risk.

During the risk assessment, identify the threats facing your organization’s most critical data, apps, systems, and infrastructure. Cybersecurity risk rankings will indicate the potential impact of compromise. Ensure that all high-risk systems and data are highly protected. Pay attention to any findings that reveal high-risk and highly vulnerable areas.

At this stage, establish your organization’s goals for cloud security. After reviewing the risk assessment results, pinpoint measurable areas for improvement. For example, you may want to automate system updates using scripting or implement an automated API security scanner. Rank these goals from highest to lowest priority to provide a starting point for your team.

Step 2: Expand Cloud Visibility

Effective cybersecurity requires expanded visibility of your cloud resources. It’s easy to miss things in a dispersed cloud environment. During the risk assessment, you may have discovered risks or opportunities you were unaware of. These signs indicate the need to improve your visibility of the cloud environment.

Building a cloud asset management platform is crucial for consolidating all your cloud resources into one hub. This platform acts as a control center, including devices, apps, services, servers, systems, and critical data. Don’t forget to include physical devices in your management platform, as many cloud systems rely on them.

IoT appliances are a prime example of devices that require high visibility. While they automate data collection, they are also vulnerable to DDoS attacks and often lack visibility. Ensure you have a clear view of IoT devices’ activity and connections to ensure tight security.

Numerous pre-built cloud asset management platforms are available today, but you can also build your own. Check with your cloud provider, as they may offer a management platform with your subscription or have partnerships with third-party platforms.

Step 3: Automated Cloud Security Basics

Once you have a clear understanding of the risks and priorities in your cloud environment and a way to monitor it, you can begin implementing basic automated cloud security measures. Start with automation that covers high-risk gaps and establishes a minimum security level for the entire cloud environment.

Encryption is a fundamental security measure that should be utilized in every cloud environment. Most leading cloud providers offer encryption options for data at rest, in transit, and in use. Implementing encryption ensures your data remains safe throughout its journey in the cloud.

Automated cloud data backups are another crucial security measure. Regular backups are essential for disaster recovery plans, protecting against natural disasters and cyber-attacks. Ensure your backups are stored in a different location than your primary data center, and consider using on-premises data storage for added redundancy.

Access control is a must-have protocol before automating security on a larger scale. Unauthorized users can easily navigate cloud environments, making effective access control crucial. Automate the process of denying access to unauthorized users and accounts.

Step 4: Implement Case-Specific Cloud Security Automation

With basic cloud security measures in place, you can now automate more complex processes. Refer to the goals established in the first step to identify what to automate first. Focus on one or two new integrations at a time.

Each organization’s cloud security automation strategy will differ based on unique risk factors and cloud environments. For example, if your team heavily relies on APIs, automate API security scans to verify their trustworthiness. Consider automating workload security scans, implementing MFA and 2FA for identity verification, and using scripting to automate repetitive security processes.

Unique circumstances may require specific cloud security automation tactics. For remote team members, multi-factor authentication and automated security updates using scripting can be especially helpful. Segmenting your cloud environment into isolated segments can also improve cybersecurity and limit the potential impact of a cyber attack.

Step 5: Integrate Automated Threat Monitoring

Automated threat monitoring is a critical component of any cloud security automation strategy. Implementing this automation requires careful consideration and dedication to using a trustworthy algorithm. Many organizations are leveraging AI tools, including cybersecurity algorithms, in the cloud.

When selecting an AI threat monitoring program, research the algorithm and its developer carefully. Look for an algorithm trained on a large dataset that receives regular updates to prevent zero-day attacks. Conduct a pilot program to test the algorithm’s performance and integrate it into your cloud environment if it proves effective.

Step 6: Track, Evaluate, and Adjust

After integrating a new automated cloud security measure, track and evaluate its performance. Automated tools should save time and detect more suspicious activity. If something is not practical or negatively impacting the network, adjust or replace it with a different automated security tool.

Automating security in the cloud is an ongoing process. Regular check-up sessions are necessary to evaluate success and identify areas that require updating. Stay informed about emerging threats and analyze your automation strategy to stay ahead of hackers.

Cloud Security Performance

Conclusion

As more operations, businesses, tools, and computing environments move to the cloud, building resilient cloud security becomes increasingly important. By following these six steps, you can transform your cloud security from zero to a robust and flexible automated system. Remember, continuous improvement is critical to adapting to emerging threats, so periodically repeat this process and closely monitor automated security performance.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Ola Dapo; Pexels; Thank you!