Security Monitoring: Safeguarding Your Cloud 

In Security by Daniel Newman1 Comment

cloud security

Monitoring is a key component of cloud security. Firewalls, access controls, and encryption stand guard around the clock, but monitoring ensures every other security measure works properly. If cloud monitoring is not currently part of your cybersecurity strategy, consider incorporating monitoring activities this year.

Why You Need Cloud Security Monitoring Measures

Cloud technology appeals to businesses and IT departments because it maximizes efficiency, supports mobility, and reduces operating costs. Without careful oversight, however, cloud activities can create new vulnerabilities in the network. Every endpoint and data transmission activity represents a potential vulnerability. Automated cloud monitoring gives IT professionals actionable reports on usage patterns, access logs, and potential threats. With ongoing monitoring, businesses can better manage security activities both proactively and reactively.

A well-developed cloud security monitoring solution gives businesses:

  • More control over accessibility. Monitoring and optimization help businesses maintain current information about dangerous websites and IP address connections in both inbound and outbound traffic scenarios. Cisco rolled its monitoring tool into a recently acquired monitoring platform, CloudLock. The security platform will go as far as to identify shadow IT activities that could expose private data.
  • Improved regulatory support. Many digital firms must comply with HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), PCI DSS (the payment card industry’s data security standard), and other privacy-centric regulations. Monitoring solutions from cloud vendors including Amazon and Microsoft and security-focused solutions providers such as Vormetric and OnRamp offer compliance-friendly log management, auditing, and access control functionality.
  • Better reputation management. Businesses that operate in the cloud must take steps to protect customer trust and customer experiences. Monitoring solutions act as an added assurance that customer data remains safe during every transaction.
  • Faster threat response times. Monitoring can help security professionals identify threats and their points of origin. Threat identification alerts give IT departments the ability to respond to attacks in real time for better disaster recovery. Without monitoring, a breach may go unresolved.

Visibility and control play crucial roles in cloud security. Monitoring solutions give companies more information for security optimization on a continuous basis.

Safeguard the Cloud with Several Approaches to Monitoring

Cloud users can implement monitoring activities within the cloud environment, onsite, or in partnership with a security service provider. Regardless of the approach, businesses that operate in the cloud must configure monitoring services to serve all cloud assets consistently.

Many organizations rely on virtualization, and take an agile approach to technology. They use a diverse arrangement of software, hardware, and data storage solutions at any given time. To manage all workloads, data-at-rest, and data-in-motion, companies need a flexible monitoring solution capable of integrating with other solutions, as infrastructure needs change.

In addition to flexibility, cloud-monitoring tools need to offer cost-effective scalability. As sensitive data sets expand and more Internet of Things (IoT) devices connect with the cloud, the data load a business handles will change. Monitoring tools that account only for a subset of software and data activities cannot provide holistic and actionable information.

Take Advantage of Cutting-Edge Solutions in Cloud Monitoring

As more businesses rely on cloud activities, they will need cloud monitoring to remain accountable to their customers and stakeholders. Cloud technology is advancing at a rapid rate. Traditional cloud-monitoring solutions remain popular, but some key security innovations will likely complement and bolster current monitoring best practices in the future:

  • Blockchain technology. Blockchains, the tech behind cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, create a transparent and permanent ledger of digital “transactions.” While the technology currently facilitates financial exchanges, many tech leaders recognize the potential for blockchain applications in IoT, data, and cloud security measures. As a form of monitoring, the structure creates a public log of activities that anyone with access to the network can see, and mine for threat and access control information.
  • Edge or fog computing. Some major cloud companies, including IBM and Cisco, are developing infrastructure that houses computing, storage, and application activities in gateways, fog nodes, and the devices themselves. As a security solution, the technology will give companies localized control over data streams. With distributed activities, the number of insecure endpoints companies must monitor may decrease.

Cloud monitoring can enhance every aspect of cybersecurity. From server layers to physical device security, understanding the status quo is the first step in creating a strong cybersecurity strategy. As data continues to play a more centralized role in how businesses approach daily workflows, I see monitoring as an invaluable asset for individual organizations and the business world as a whole. More data and analyses give rise to better security controls and overall risk management.

Photo Credit: UKNGroup Flickr via Compfight cc

Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. From Big Data to IoT to Cloud Computing, Newman makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology projects, which leads to his ideas regularly being cited in CIO.Com, CIO Review and hundreds of other sites across the world. A 5x Best Selling Author including his most recent “Building Dragons: Digital Transformation in the Experience Economy,” Daniel is also a Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post Contributor. MBA and Graduate Adjunct Professor, Daniel Newman is a Chicago Native and his speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.