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Enterprise success relies on operational resilience. When you fall, you have to be able to get back up—and quickly. That ability to spring back after a setback requires more than nimbleness. You also must take steps to anticipate and prepare for risks. Today, many of those risks relate to the dynamic, complex cloud and SaaS (Software as a Service) environments integral to day-to-day business. So, if your current business resilience plan doesn’t include cloud and SaaS, you’re missing a vital chapter.

What are the keys to effectively secure cloud environments against evolving threats? Here are seven fundamentals that CISOs and security teams should strive for in their quest for cloud resilience:

1. Build a comprehensive cloud security strategy

Cloud is not the same as on-premises, so the same legacy strategy that provides on-premises resiliency won’t be effective in the cloud. A comprehensive, specific cloud security strategy is essential for managing cloud and SaaS related risks. It begins with understanding your cloud footprint and defining security requirements for cloud and SaaS. It should cover access controls, data protection, governance, and compliance. Teams should regularly review this strategy as your environment evolves.

2. Ensure visibility into cloud and SaaS operations

The ability to see cloud data and logs is crucial for investigation and incident response. Organizations must collect this “evidence” continuously all the time, otherwise, it's not available when it's most needed. Having comprehensive visibility into cloud activity through forensic data collection is essential for detecting and responding to security incidents. Organizations need to harvest, process and retain security and audit logs, telemetry, asset maps and configurations from cloud infrastructures (IaaS), platforms (PaaS) and applications (SaaS).

3. Prepare forensic data from across your full cloud footprint

Traditional security tools are not optimized to prepare the substantial amounts of forensic data needed from cloud sources. The current reality is that even when organizations have the logs for foundational cloud visibility, they either aren’t collecting all the correct data from across clouds and SaaS or don’t understand how to aggregate and process their data in ways that help them investigate it. In addition, cloud and SaaS providers frequently update or change their logs and telemetry to provide added support for detection and response. Organizations often have trouble keeping track of these frequent changes. SecOps teams need the support of tools that aggregate and normalize their cloud and SaaS forensic data to make it actionable.

4. Leverage the support of security automation

As security leaders and teams are learning from experience, the dynamic nature and scale of cloud infrastructure and the volume of activity make manual processes impractical. Automation reduces workloads for overtaxed security teams while enabling continuous verification that configurations match security best practices. Automation also enables teams to dramatically accelerate the time needed to find and contain threats, which is at the core of reducing impact and building resilience.

One way we harness automation at Mitiga is through our Cloud Attack Scenario Library (CASL), which distills the latest global cloud threat intelligence, indicators of attack from active investigations, and years of our responders and researchers experience into a multi-vector cloud database that continuously runs across all our customers’ data to help identify threats. This approach not only massively increases velocity, but also reduces false positives, and makes investigations more efficient by surfacing relevant events.

5. Take an “assume breach” mindset

Certainly, prevention matters. But preventing every cloud attack is impossible. Modern enterprises need to acknowledge that hard truth and bolster their investments in cloud and SaaS detection and response. Current investment strategies are still balanced in ways that do not give proper weight to that side of the equation.

6. Elevate internal cloud security skills

There is a skills gap when it comes to cloud security in general, and especially in incident response for cloud, as many analysts and IR (Incident Response) professionals lack experience dealing with cloud attacks or hybrid environments. Developing cloud security skills through training can help fill this gap. Partnering can also be an important part of building resilience.

By focusing on these fundamentals and working to strengthen each one, organizations can come to a place where a cloud or SaaS incident that could have become a crisis is able to be treated, and effectively addressed, like business as usual.


March 13, 2024

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