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DevOps and Security Glossary Terms

Glossary Terms

Cloud infrastructure security - definition & overview

In this article
What is cloud infrastructure security?
What are the different types of cloud infrastructure?
Best practices to secure key components of a cloud environment
Cloud Infrastructure Security solution for AWS
What is cloud infrastructure security?
What are the different types of cloud infrastructure?
Best practices to secure key components of a cloud environment
Cloud Infrastructure Security solution for AWS

What is cloud infrastructure security?

Cloud infrastructure security is the cloud computing security practice of securing cloud environments, sensitive data and supporting information systems from unauthorized access and other security issues. Infrastructure security includes cloud data security, identity and access management, application security, network security and cloud resources and cloud services, e.g. cloud apps.

What are the different types of cloud infrastructure?

Cloud infrastructure consists of all hardware and software components that are needed to support the delivery of cloud services to the customer. Cloud infrastructure is not the exclusive domain of third-party, public cloud service providers. In fact, all three of the most widely adopted cloud architecture models –– private cloud, public cloud and hybrid cloud –– use the same basic components of cloud infrastructure to deliver computing services:

Private cloud infrastructure is accessed by just a single organization. On-site IT staff may develop and maintain private cloud architecture, or an external service provider may deliver it. With private cloud deployments, organizations are required to invest in their own hardware and IT infrastructure. Private cloud deployments are seen as a way of leveraging virtualization and resource pooling without exposing data to external entities.

The public cloud consists of third-party cloud service providers, such as Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, who offer a large pool of available storage and computing power that can be delivered to customers on a pay-per-use basis. Instead of investing in their own IT infrastructure, organizations pay a fee to use a cloud service provider's IT infrastructure to perform computing and data storage tasks. Public cloud providers use a multi-tenant environment model to lower the overall cost of computing resources. Still, it may also create security challenges for how companies handle their sensitive data.

Hybrid cloud computing environments are defined as private and public cloud environments interacting with each other in separate but connected systems. Organizations may choose to maintain data privacy around sensitive data by storing the information in on-site servers while hosting less sensitive applications and other resources in the public cloud, where the cost may be lower. Organizations that use hybrid cloud maintain their own private cloud environments but may leverage public cloud services for additional capacity or computing tasks on a flexible basis.

Best practices to secure key components of a cloud environment

Challenges with microservices architecture, the shared responsibility model of cloud vendors and specific concerns around cloud migration represent some of the top-most challenges for cloud architects, developers and security professionals alike. Here are some best practices to enhance security measures and security controls in a cloud environment:

  • Identity and access management (IAM):
    • Implement strong authentication mechanisms, such as multi-factor authentication (MFA), to control access to your cloud resources.

    • Regularly review and update access permissions based on the principle of least privilege.

    • Use role-based access controls and groups to assign permissions rather than granting individual user access.

  • Data encryption:
    • Encrypt data both in transit and at rest using industry-standard encryption algorithms such as AES 256.

    • Leverage cloud provider services like AWS Key Management Service (KMS) or Azure Key Vault for centralized key management.

    • Regularly rotate encryption keys to minimize the security risk and impact of a potential security incident.

  • Network security:
    • Utilize virtual private clouds (VPCs) or virtual networks to isolate critical resources.

    • Implement network security groups (NSGs) or security groups to control inbound and outbound traffic.

    • Monitor and log network traffic to detect and respond to suspicious activities.

  • Monitoring and logging:
  • Incident response and recovery:
    • Develop an incident response plan that outlines steps to be taken in case of a security incident and ensures business continuity.

    • Regularly conduct security drills to test the effectiveness of the incident response plan.

    • Create backups of critical data and regularly test the restoration process.

  • Patch management:
    • Regularly update and patch operating systems, applications and services to address newly discovered vulnerabilities.

    • Implement an automated patch management system to ensure timely updates.

    • Conduct vulnerability assessments and penetration testing to identify and address potential weaknesses.

  • Compliance and governance:
    • Understand and adhere to regulatory compliance requirements relevant to your industry and geographic location.

    • Implement governance policies and procedures to enforce security standards and compliance requirements.

    • Conduct regular audits to ensure ongoing compliance, prevent compliance drift, and identify areas for improvement.

  • API security:
    • Secure application programming interfaces (APIs) with proper authentication and authorization mechanisms.

    • Use API gateways and consider implementing Web Application Firewalls (WAFs) to protect against common web application attacks.

    • Regularly audit and review API usage and access patterns.

  • Container security (if applicable):
    • Implement container security best practices, such as scanning container images for vulnerabilities.

    • Use orchestration tools with built-in security features, such as Kubernetes with pod security policies.

    • Regularly update and patch container runtime environments.

By incorporating these best practices, organizations can enhance the cybersecurity of their cloud environments and better secure their data and resources against potential threats. Keep in mind that security is an ongoing process, and regular reviews and updates are essential to adapt to evolving threats and technologies.

Cloud Infrastructure Security solution for AWS

An integral part of cloud security is knowing who is accessing the cloud and what changes are being made in your organization’s cloud environment. Modern, fast-moving cloud environments need ongoing audits of configurations, risks, versioning, activities and other factors to ensure they are well maintained and not subject to risks created by aging or drifting configuration, access rights or software.

Sumo Logic Cloud Infrastructure Security for AWS helps teams gain ongoing security visibility into the diverse aspects of their environment and provides customizable alerting, evaluation and remediation of security issues. Sumo Logic’s rapid onboarding process makes setup easy, allowing AWS users to monitor and analyze vital AWS services in a unified view to begin improving their cloud security posture management in minutes.

Learn more about how Cloud Infrastructure Security for AWS can help your organization find cloud security gaps, manage cloud risk and monitor cloud configurations and cloud security posture.

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