Layer by Layer: Evaluating the Security of Your Cloud Platform

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Avatar Matthew Stenberg

If you’re considering migrating your enterprise and development IT to a cloud platform, or have already migrated all or part of your business computing and DevOps to PaaS (platform-as-a-service), security should be your top concern. Every application generates new potential security breaches via user delivery systems, event repositories, and the application’s database. Without a wide-ranging and comprehensive security solution in place, all these factors present potential compromises of sensitive, business-critical data.

But if you know what to look for in the services provided by your vendor, PaaS offers you more robust security than other solutions. The key is a layered approach. Security should be integrated into your application development process. Your development process should integrate with an identity-driven access management framework in both the on-premise and cloud environments. And your identity policies should operate at application layers to enable you to identify characteristics of use.

Look for PaaS solutions that enable application request analysis in real time, with the capability to see how applications are being used to ensure policy enforcement. To fully secure data, it must be encrypted and subject to end-to-end management. For reasons of security, analytics, reporting, and compliance, you should be able to carry out regular audits with a complete audit trail.

As cyber-attacks can employ multiple vectors to compromise accounts, apps, systems, and databases, continuous monitoring and analytics are vital. Good PaaS security will block unauthorized access to critical data, flag unusual behaviors to trigger additional authentication requests, and enable real time machine learning technology to respond to organizational threats. Automation of organization-wide entity behavioral analysis will enable prediction of future potential security issues.

Whether migrating wholly or in part, make sure your chosen PaaS vendor’s SLA (service level agreement) guarantees full security and encryption of your applications and data during transition. While concentrating on the cloud, don’t overlook the physical aspects of security. Check that your provider has robust protections and insurance policies for fire, flood, theft, and other damage. Ask for details of the vendor’s disaster recovery plans. Make sure that your SLA makes an explicit statement of liability in the case of any breach of policy or breakdown in security leading to data loss.

While it’s the service provider’s responsibility to implement all commitments in the agreement between you, it’s your responsibility to make sure that agreement satisfies your business’ security requirements and that the provider’s security systems, both physical and virtual, are robust. PaaS offers considerable advantages over on-premise solutions for the development, delivery, and analysis of enterprise applications and is cost efficient and more easily scalable compared to other options. Most organizations’ concerns center around security provision. But with the right provider, able to deploy the latest in AI and machine learning to monitor, analyze, and respond to data threats in real time, there’s no reason why your migration to the cloud shouldn’t give you a reliable, robust, and responsive security solution across all levels of your organization.

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