When businesses are looking to move all or part of their operations to the cloud, there is the inevitable question of security. Will our website be safe in the cloud? Does hosting our application data using cloud services make our business more vulnerable to cyber attacks? Can our cloud servers handle a DDoS attack?
In this guide, we examine the biggest cloud security benefits and how you can make the transition to cloud computing seamlessly.
Cloud security done right is a solution that answers all these questions, making it an essential component to creating a cloud environment that works for businesses (and customers) around the globe. By providing a scalable and flexible network solution, the cloud enables tremendous opportunities, but it also brings challenges. As a web presence grows, websites need to be prepared with a plan to fend off increasingly complex attacks against web infrastructure, like DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks and Level 7 (application layer) attacks.
What is Cloud Security?
Cloud security provides multiple levels of controls within the network infrastructure in order to provide continuity and protection for cloud-based assets like websites and web applications. Whether in a public cloud or private cloud, businesses need to balance DDoS protection, high availability, data security, and regulatory compliance in their cloud security provider.
Cloud security is a set of control-based safeguards and technology protection designed to protect resources stored online from leakage, theft, or cloud data loss.
Protection encompasses cloud infrastructure, applications, and data from threats. Security applications operate as software in the cloud using a Software as a Service (SaaS) model.
At CDNetworks, cloud security is built-in to our CDN solutions. A combination of the latest in CDN security technology and cloud-based infrastructure provides a multi-faceted approach to cloud computing.
Topics that fall under the umbrella of security in the cloud include:
- Data center security
- Access control
- Threat prevention
- Threat detection
- Threat mitigation
- Legal compliance
- Cybersecurity policy
Benefits of Cloud Computing Security
Let’s take a look at the benefits of a cloud security solution blended with the performance of a content delivery network.
Cloud DDoS Protection
Distributed denial of service attacks are on the rise, particularly for retail and gaming websites. In 2014, CDNetworks saw a 29 percent increase in DDoS attack frequency on client websites. Amplification attacks, a type of DDoS attack that utilizes vulnerable systems (“zombie” computers) to send huge amounts of traffic to the target website or web application servers, increased sharply from only one occurrence in 2013 to 64 in 2014.
A DDoS attack is designed to overwhelm website servers so it can no longer respond to legitimate user requests. If a DDoS attack is successful, it renders a website useless for hours, or even days. This can result in a loss of revenue, customer trust and brand authority.
CDNetworks’ cloud security is a suite of services that monitor, identify and analyze DDoS attacks. A four-step process starts with identifying incoming DDoS attacks, alerting website managers of the DDoS attacks, effectively absorbing DDoS traffic and dispersing it across global PoPs (points of presence) and providing post-attack analysis.
Web assets, whether they’re a suite of applications or a business website, are always on. A security solution that provides constant real-time support, including live monitoring, is becoming a business necessity. CDNs enhance the delivery of website content as well as application functionality on a global scale.
CDNs have built-in flexibility, allowing for a defense against a variety of DDoS attacks. DDoS attacks can flood servers with anywhere between 1Gbps to over 20Gbps of traffic, which would put most origin and backup servers in a traditional network infrastructure out of commission.
With this in mind, enterprises are turning toward managed hosting providers and/or content delivery networks with DDoS absorption capabilities to ensure continuity of service for their audience. CDNs utilize a global network of PoPs to balance incoming traffic whether it’s a legitimate spike or an unusual amount of traffic that needs to be diverted, minimizing downtime and delivering more intuitive security controls.
Several major data breaches at high profile companies led 2014 to be nicknamed “The Year of the Data Breach,” and in its wake, IT professionals and executives want to do everything they can to prevent a data breach at their own company. As a result, investments in access control, intrusion prevention, identity management, and virus and malware protection are on the rise.
Coupled with these types of investments are cybersecurity protocols that protect communications between users and company servers. Established CDNs have added security protocols within their network to protect sensitive information and transactions. Transport Layer Security (TLS) – the successor to Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) – safeguards information to prevent a third party from eavesdropping or tampering with a message. Ecommerce sites should look for a CDN with PCI compliance and other digital rights management layers.
Some industries, like financial institutions and ecommerce, have more industry and governmental regulations than others. A robust CDN can provide an enhanced infrastructure that supports regulatory compliance and protects consumers’ personal and financial data.
How Do You Manage Security in the Cloud?
Cloud service providers use a combination of methods to protect your data.
Firewalls protect the perimeter of your network security and your end-users. Firewalls also safeguard traffic between different apps stored in the cloud.
Access controls and authentication ensure data protection by allowing you to set access lists for different assets. For instance, you might allow specific employees application access, while restricting others. A general rule is to provide employees access to only the tools they need to do their job. By maintaining strict access control, you can keep critical documents from malicious insiders or hackers with stolen credentials.
Cloud providers take security measures to protect sensitive data that’s in transit. Data security methods include virtual private networks, encryption, or masking. Virtual private networks (VPNs) allow remote employees to connect to corporate networks. VPNs accommodate tablets and smartphones for remote access.
Data masking encrypts identifiable information, such as names. This maintains data integrity by keeping important information private.
Threat intelligence spots security threats and ranks them in order of importance. This feature helps you protect mission-critical assets from threats.
Disaster recovery is key to security since it helps you recover data that are lost or stolen.
While not a security component per se, your cloud services provider may need to comply with data storage regulations. Some countries require that data must be stored within their country. If your country has this requirement, you need to verify that a cloud solution provider has data centers in your country.
Is a CDN the cloud security solution for you?
The internet is a global tool; it not only enables new international opportunities for businesses, but also creates challenges in availability, reliability, and security.
An enhanced CDN can provide support for all three key areas for a company’s cloud-based assets. CDNetworks provides a range of cloud security benefits with a thorough approach to DDoS attack mitigation utilizing its global network and other advanced security features.