Cloud security monitoring provides the ability to monitor both virtual and private servers for threats and vulnerabilities for cyber attacks. The advantage of cloud security monitoring is offering scalability as more visibility into connections to the network.
Advancements in technology that affect both cybersecurity and cyber threat actors, remote work, a more connected world and the Internet of Things (IoT), ensuring the safety and integrity of data is more important than ever. One crucial aspect of this is “Cloud Security Monitoring” — a term gaining prominence in the realm of cloud computing.
Understanding Cloud Security Network Monitoring
Cloud Security Monitoring involves the continuous surveillance and analysis of network traffic, system activities, and potential threats within a cloud environment. As businesses increasingly migrate to cloud platforms, the need for specialized monitoring to safeguard sensitive data and ensure compliance has become imperative.
One critical component that organizations must understand about the cloud is that using cloud-based services instead of an on-premise network doesn’t mean an organization is safer. It simply shifts the risk to a different set of computers or networks that your organization may not own, or necessarily be able to account for.
The cloud is very vulnerable to cyber attacks because the reliance on cloud-based services means cyber threat actors view it as an extremely high valuable target that comes with a lot of security flaws with many still learning to properly protect it.
Past attacks such as Sunburst in 2020 impacted more than 100 large companies and U.S. federal agencies, including the Treasury, Energy, Justice, and Homeland Security departments. A crucial part of the Russians’ success was their ability to move through these organizations by compromising cloud and local network identity systems to then access cloud accounts and pilfer emails and files.
The U.S. government said nation-state actors working for the Kremlin targeted a widely used Microsoft cloud service that synchronizes user identities.
Weak credentials, APIS and simple network misconfiguration are among the main culprits for networks being exploited in the cloud.
As cloud computing continues to change the technology landscape, cloud security continues to be the central focus for creating a robust cyber posture.
Real-time monitoring benefits
Continuous network monitoring is a critical component of a robust cybersecurity plan and your overall cyber posture, and whether it’s an on-premise, cloud-based, or hybrid model, there are benefits and drawbacks to each style. The right configuration depends on your organization.
On-premise based security technology requires a computer server onsite to run the access control software. The organization responsible for managing their own servers.
A cloud-based model runs on a system of remote servers over the internet, meaning you don’t need a dedicated server specialist to maintain them. It also eliminates the need for a local server at each location.
A hybrid model offers the best of the cloud, and all the benefits are included by default:
Organizations can scale computing up and down on a needed basis. From a cost perspective, it can save some money that would otherwise be spent on maintaining on-prem resources and an in-house IT team. Hybrid cloud solutions are usually cheaper than a private cloud, yet it is certainly more expensive as compared to a public cloud. Organizations using this model usually have to sacrifice some control over resources. Data centers are still operated by cloud providers, not by a company’s in-house IT team.
The benefits of a cloud based cybersecurity model are:
- Remote management
- Increased ROI
- Enterprise scalability
- Future-proof technology
One of the goals of network monitoring is to detect unique or unusual deviations from your networks established baselines of expected behavior to identify potential security threats. Network anomalies can include:
- Atypical network traffic
- Unusual system resource usage
- Inconsistent user behavior and logins
Baselines are established using historical data to determine what should appear to be normal behavior patterns of network activity, to help identify and respond to unusual behavior. Detecting network anomalies also relies on behavior analysis created from monitoring traffic, logs, user activity and other metrics. Cybersecurity programs can also create statistical models, and leverage AI and other machine learning tools to detect anomalies and set up alerts and notifications for when unusual patterns appear.
Log analysis and auditing
Log analysis provides organizations with insights into activities, potential security threats, and overall system health, which plays a critical role in identifying those abnormalities in your network discussed above. Log analysis also provides a way to find how the incident occurred, which can inform decisions on how to respond in real-time or for future incidents. There are also industries where log monitoring is required for compliance purposes. It also helps track user behavior in cloud environments, what data or areas of the network certain users have access to and any potential changes in privileges that may identify an attack.
Cloud security best practices
CISA’s “Shields Up” campaign focuses on creating a strong cloud cyber posture. If an organization is using cloud services, they should ensure IT personnel have review and implemented strong controls.
Implementing these controls can contribute to your overall cloud infrastructure health:
- Continuous network monitoring
- Keep log files and data captures
- Limit admin permissions; zero trust
- Enable user access logging
- Make sure cloud-based machines with open public IPs do not have open RDP ports
- Put all systems with RDP ports behind firewall
- VPN access to RDP through firewall
- Enforce MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication)
- App integrations; only pre-approved by IT
- Provide cyber hygiene training
- Connected device use policies
- Review email rules and policies
- Email filtering and detection for spam, phishing, and malware
- Email safe attachments and links are enabled
- Establish “blame-free” employee reporting
Compliance & regulations
By monitoring and auditing activities, organizations can demonstrate adherence to data protection and privacy regulations.
Most major regulations, such as PCI DSS and HIPAA, require monitoring. Organizations using cloud platforms will need to leverage monitoring tools or managed service providers to comply with these regulations and avoid penalties.
Furthermore, any organization that falls under those regulations and suffers a data breach or cyber incident may be subject to lawsuits with or without third-party monitoring or meeting other cybersecurity requirements such as network vulnerability assessments and cyber incident response plans. Almost all organizations that fall under such regulations, and even ones that do not, will likely only qualify for cyber insurance to cover any damages from data breaches if they already have cybersecurity services in place. The same requirements also exist for any government funding.
Cost Optimization Through Monitoring
The average cost of a data breach in 2022 was $4.35 million overall. The average cost of a cloud data breach was slightly less at $3.87 million.
Private cloud data breaches cost organizations an average of $4.24 million, the highest of all the models, but slightly less than the overall average.
Breaches to hybrid models, which combines private, on-premise, and cloud-based setups were the least costly, coming in at $3.80 million.
A hybrid model does combine the benefits of all the environments, but all have their disadvantages. A cloud model does require less physical hardware and less costs to update or replace, whereas most organizations that are capable of running this model in their network will realize cost savings.
Trends and Future Developments
In the era of cloud computing, ensuring the security of digital assets demands a proactive and multi-faceted approach. Cloud Security Network Monitoring is a linchpin in this strategy, offering real-time insights and early threat detection. By adopting the right tools and practices, organizations can fortify their cloud environments against evolving cyber threats.
Virtualized Continuous Cloud Monitoring
- Visualization of cloud network activity with full forensic captures:
- Cloud and hybrid network infrastructures demand a continuous and extensive cybersecurity managed threat detection solution.
SecuLore delivers a modern approach to better visualize the threat landscape within the cloud with our virtualized patented monitoring technology, which includes detailed analysis of forensic captures by SecuLore’s expert cybersecurity certified SOC team.
Learn more about SecuLore’s cloud security monitoring solutions.