Why a SOC Is Crucial for Effective Cloud Security

3 minute read

It should come as no surprise that cloud adoption is accelerating. The tactical and strategic benefits are simply too great for businesses to ignore. As organizations move servers, data, and workloads to the cloud, though, securing and protecting them becomes a major concern. Having IT security professionals keeping watch in a security operations center (SOC) provides a critical element of effective cloud security. It also helps you sleep at night.

According to Deloitte Global, spending on IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) grew from $361 billion in 2016 to $547 billion in 2018. Deloitte projects that by 2021 organizations will spend nearly $900 billion on ITaaS. IDC predicts that public and private cloud will make up 54 percent of the IT infrastructure market in 2021--putting cloud ahead of traditional datacenter investments.

Unique Risks of Cloud and Hybrid Environments

Cyber security is not new, but there are aspects of the cloud environment and the methods cyber attackers use to try to exploit and compromised applications and data in the cloud. Traditional cyber security best practices are not effective in the cloud, and processes and tools that work for on-premise data or local datacenters will most likely not work in the cloud.

Many organizations have a false sense of security when moving to the cloud. They assume that the cloud services provider—like Amazon, Microsoft, Google. Etc.—has teams of IT security professionals and will take care of securing and protecting the cloud. That is partially true, but you are also responsible for securing some elements—the most crucial ones, really—and, ultimately, the burden is on you to ensure your data, applications, and workloads are protected. Cloud security works on a shared responsibility model where the cloud services provider takes care of protecting what it owns—the physical infrastructure on which the cloud resides, but you are responsible for securing anything you install, run, or store in the cloud.

The larger challenge, though, is just trying to keep up with a very dynamic, rapidly changing environment and threat landscape. Your attack surface can change—growing and shrinking from one minute to the next to scale with demand. Attack methods and techniques change as attackers focus more on vulnerable web applications, or target developers and system administrators to attempt to gain access. It is important that you understand your responsibilities, especially when it comes to hybrid cloud security.

Cloud Security Is a Full-time Job

The unique challenges of cloud security are why it is important to have a SOC—not just a SOC, but a SOC with a managed detection and response team of dedicated cloud security experts.

There is too much going on at any given time, and the world of cloud technologies, vulnerabilities, and exploits is constantly shifting. It is not the sort of thing you can “dabble” in or do on the side and still manage to do it effectively.

IT security professionals in a SOC do nothing but cloud security. Because that is what they are focused on, they can stay on top of the evolving threat landscape and quickly identify new, emerging threats. They provide around-the-clock monitoring—staying vigilant for signs of suspicious or malicious activity—so you can sleep at night.

Managing Security Outcomes

The cloud doesn’t sleep, so your security can’t sleep either. A SOC enables you to actively monitor cloud activity and the behavior of users and applications to:

  • Protect availability
  • Maintain security posture
  • Manage vulnerabilities and control configurations
  • Defend against external threats
  • Comply with cyber security governance, risk, and compliance mandates
  • Defend against insider threats
  • Protect customer information and data

Cloud adoption is accelerating and organizations will continue to rely more and more on the cloud, which means that attackers will also focus more and more on the cloud. If you want to take advantage of the strategic and tactical benefits of the cloud, and still have some peace of mind, you need to have a SOC watching your back.

Go deeper into the SOC discussion and why every business needs one in our on-demand webinar with John Carse, VP of Security Operations at Alert Logic: The SOC Protection You Need to Defend Against Cloud Threats.

About the Author

Tony Bradley - Senior Manager of Content Marketing for Alert Logic

Tony Bradley

Tony Bradley is Senior Manager of Content Marketing for Alert Logic. Tony worked in the trenches as a network administrator and security consultant before shifting to the marketing and writing side of things. He is an 11-time Microsoft MVP in security and cloud and has been a CISSP-ISSAP since 2002. Tony has authored or co-authored a dozen books on IT and IT security topics, and is a prolific contributor to online media sites such as Forbes and DevOps.com. He has established a reputation for effective content marketing, and building and engaging a community and social media audience.

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