What is Cloud Security As A Service
Cloud Security refers to the policy, technology, application used to defend the applications deployed in the cloud. It’s a service tasked with providing the users with protection in various forms on a subscription basis. Security As A Service (SECaaS) vendors work similarly to Software-As-A-Service (SaaS) providers. Still, instead of providing access to a tool or platform, they protect your data, apps, and other cloud-based operations.
These services have become increasingly popular due to the large-scale IT deployments that corporate business owners are now doing by connecting to their user base. Email Security has also been a big concern for smaller organizations as they lack the tools to deal with attacks.
Features of a Cloud Security As A Service
Many advantages come with using these services, namely:
- 24/7/365 Monitoring – These vendors will monitor all of your network access points and protect you from any unwarranted access attempts. They will prevent any sort of probing attempts into your data and also keep everything up to date to avoid future threats.
- Cybersecurity Expertise – These services employ professionals who have been working in the cybersecurity field for several years and provide a plethora of knowledge on how to scale the future environment in a manner that would be near impregnable enough by modern standards.
- Cost-efficient security – Since this form comes as a service, there is no initial cost for the client in acquiring hardware, software, and personnel. This effectively cuts a considerable bunch of costs associated with employing an entirely new set of resources dedicated to network security. It’s also time-saving as the business does not have to train any employees and can immediately use the skills and expertise that the provider gains from employing experts.
- Easy to use Web Interface & Report System – Most of these vendors will install an interface that can be used by the organization employing them to keep track of all the small security details in a package that makes sense to the technologically disinclined. It gives assurance to the employer as they can get a detailed report explaining to them how the leaks, if any, were prevented and suggestions on how to proceed going forward.
These are only a few of the benefits that security-as-a-service (SECaaS) comes with. Its cost-efficient nature, coupled with the effectiveness it comes with, makes it a must for modern-day firms engaging in any form of IT scaling.
Types of Cloud Security As A Service
Cloud Security comes in various forms depending upon the client’s workload. Here’s a couple of things that fall under the umbrella
- Data Loss Prevention (DLP) – The most valuable resource in an IT setup is not the hardware or the software but the data they store. Firms would like to hold on to their data in case of any unforeseen outages which could result in data loss. Vendors will file through, organize, and backup any data they’re employed to protect. This includes storing the data backups offsite onto a separate redundant server, using advanced encryption systems to prevent and mitigate the loss of data to hacking attempts, and providing the employer with a structured graph of how their data is actively being secured.
- Email & Identity and Access Management– Since a lot of the business takes place through the Internet and cloud-based services, all the outlets that employees interact with must be secured in a robust manner. This includes things like proxy-based internet usage, web content filtering, identification for both user and equipment, and prevention of phishing attempts via Email sources. Identity management is also something the client benefits from as the service makes sure no form of identification can be duped and used in a harmful manner.
- Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR) – A business needs to rely on a structure that encompasses several redundancies. They cannot afford to think about the probability of something occurring and instead have to have a backup plan in place if something potentially damaging happens. The right provider will install procedures of recovery, which will take function in the case of a disaster such as a wide-scale attack on the business itself.
These are only some of the many types of security services that are provided under SECaaS.
Advantages of a Cloud Security As A Service
Many advantages come with using a provider, some of the main ones being:
- Latest Security Framework – Since the SECaaS provider will be dealing with all the activity from the employer’s end, they will be providing the newest patchwork for day one protection against newly found vulnerabilities and viruses. This allows the business to not worry about having to continually adapt to changing environments and letting a reliable and dependable team deal with it for them.
- Simplification of Security Structure – Not only do the SECaaS providers make regular reports but also simplify the security structure for the technologically disinclined employees to understand and work off of. This helps the business by not needing to spend any resources on training the staff on the complexities of systems and the importance of web security.
- 24×7 uptime – These providers have multiple teams ready to counter any issues at any given moment. What this means for the business is that they don’t have to worry about any attacks at 4 AM because there is a team constantly monitoring their environment, ready to prevent any attacks. This relieves a lot of pressure from the business by freeing them up from having the IT team operate night shifts to keep the server free of attacks.
- Scalable infrastructure – Since all the environment is over the internet, businesses can quickly expand or shrink their security experts depending upon the increase/decrease in workload in an instant.
Disadvantages of a Cloud Security As A Service
While the whole idea sounds too good to be true, it isn’t without its disadvantages. Some of which include but aren’t limited to:
- Increase in vulnerability against large-scale attacks – If the attackers are aware of a vulnerability working against a particular SECaaS provider, the chances are that the same vulnerability will perform against another client that employs that vendor. This is one of the main disadvantages that come with this type of environment.
- Data Storage locations – Since the data that is backed up and stored offsite is usually stored in a different part of the world; the employer can never be sure about the physical reliability of the data in that server. Nothing can be done to prevent a physical stealing attempt short of relying on authorities.
- Vendor failure – There is always a chance that the SECaaS provider ceases functioning in the future; in this event, the business could have issues are recovering the data. Since this can’t precisely be protected against feasibly, it is one of the dangers in dealing with external consultants.
Applications of Cloud Security As A Service
There are various scenarios in which this could be a feasible option for a business:
- Newly acquired IT assets – In case a business decides to shift to infrastructure after having not dealt with it before, they will need to rely on a SECaaS supplier to help guide them through the securing process of their technology.
- Large scale event management – If a business has a large scale event coming up wherein they are expecting a lot more incoming traffic, they can temporarily employ a SECaaS supplier; in this case, the vendor will utilize continuous monitoring applications and support them through the entirety of the event. They will make sure no attacks are made throughout the duration of their event and that the scaling process goes through smoothly.
- Frequent hacking attempts – If a business is facing common internet threats in scamming/phishing attempts, Denial-of-Service attacks, and malware/ransomware threats, they can employ a SECaaS supplier, which will eliminate the root cause of said threats.
How does Cloud Security As A Service work?
Cloud security works by using an environment that is already established elsewhere coupled with state-of-the-art software and up-to-date virus definitions to provide security tools to businesses. As more and more large-scale events are being dealt with by companies, traditional data center tools are becoming obsolete.
A supplier makes sure that from the time they are employed till the termination of their contract with the company, no attacks or attempts to steal data can go through. They make sure the employer’s environment is updated not to have any vulnerabilities going forward and to improve the staff’s understanding of details.
Who uses Cloud Security As A Service?
A regular small business looking to expand its services and resources will have a feasible option that doesn’t end up costing too much by having to purchase equipment and employing expensive professionals. Since these businesses don’t have the funds upfront to deal with this necessity immediately, they can buy a subscription-based service where everything they need is provided to them over the Internet.
Overall, employing cloud-delivered solutions like this is on par with having in-house solutions because of the improvements in internet infrastructure. Thanks to the advancements the industry has made over the past few years, disaster recovery costs have gone from something that could cost $100K, now would cost somewhere around $1,000.
This is incredible for small business owners as security is finally a service they can employ without having to budget in vast amounts of cash flow. This also means that they can focus on information security without having to compromise elsewhere.
How to choose the right Cloud Security As A Service Provider
Since there are so many SECaaS consultants, how do you choose one that would fit best for your business? We’ll guide you through some steps to determine which provider works best for your particular environment.
- Availability – Always make sure that the provider that you are looking at operates 24×7 throughout the year. This is extremely important as even a single hour’s worth of protection loss can essentially be an invite for anyone looking to get into your data. Criminals are always on the lookout for ways in; you shouldn’t give them any at all.
- Response time – If an attack does take place, the vendor needs to have a fast response time to counter the intruders. The SECaaS provider needs to make sure that everyone who needs to be aware is alarmed of the intrusion immediately and that a countermeasure is deployed to combat the ongoing threat.
- Encryption services – A right SECaaS provider will encrypt the business’ data using state-of-the-art algorithms to make sure that in the event of data theft, the attackers can’t decipher the data fast enough if at all, to make use of it. This includes using algorithms such as AES-256 for susceptible data and having decryption keys only available to the people who readily need them.
Top 10 Best Cloud Security As A Service Providers
There are a plethora of security services to choose from; below we will list our compilation of some of the industry-leading SECaaS providers:
Headquartered in San Francisco, the people over at CloudPassage have been dealing with deployments for several years. Their ‘Halo’ platform provides the business with tools and insight into their environment’s standing in terms of security and automation. They specialize in vulnerability assessment, automation of file monitoring, and log-based intrusion detection, all as a form of network security.
Ever since Intel purchased McAfee, its focus has shifted from consumer software towards environment and security tools. They offer Data Loss Prevention (DLP) tools, security information, intrusion management, and threat prevention services. Their MVISION (rights reserved) platform is partnered with Amazon detective, which is Amazon’s offering to help provide users with the ability to analyze the root cause of issues. DLP is McAfee’s strongest suit and one they built their security service around.
Lacework is a cloud workload security and compliance solution that is well suited for organizations looking for a visual approach. Lacework provides users with a Polygraph feature that explains the security situation with visual context. They also employ machine learning to automate intrusion detection and deliver results simply not possible with human observation.
FireEye is a very well-known security provider in the cloud space; they are highly regarded for their incident response and investigation capabilities. They employ a Helix data analysis platform that uses the company’s vast experience dealing with various incidents. Their software and technology are also deeply embedded with various consultants like AWS, Google Cloud, etc.
The Qualys cloud platform has multiple technology modules that can enable different facets, including compliance, vulnerability scanning, and workload protection.
Qualys makes use of their Cloud Agent Gateway (CAG) service that lets your organization extend its Cloud Agent deployments into secured environments like highly locked-down data centers and industrial networks where direct Internet access is restricted.
Palo Alto Networks employs one of the most comprehensive and detailed security structures out of all the competitors. They allow an organization to utilize their Prisma Cloud platform to improve workload security.
The Prisma Cloud platform is a new effort that Palo Alto Networks defines as a Cloud-Native Security Platform (CNSP). Prisma integrates components from multiple companies that Palo Alto Network has acquired in recent years, including evident.io, RedLock, PureSec, and TwistLock, providing container and workload policy, threat detection, and control and uses the technology they obtained in their projects.
Tenable has multiple services on its cloud tenable.io platform, including web application scanning, container security, and asset management. They have been functioning with a long history in vulnerability management which now extends to their cloud space to help secure organizations against all sorts of workloads.
8. Trend Micro
Trend Micro is well established as security space leader, with its unique workload security feature. It’s unique that it extends the same policy and protection to multiple deployment modalities, including on-premises, private, and public cloud workloads.
Going beyond just threat detection, Trend Micro also provides virtual patching for vulnerabilities to help limit risks as rapidly as possible. Security can be codified with templates that align with leading security standards and can be deployed with simple AWS CloudFormation templates.
VMWare is well known for being in the cloud deployment sector with their readily available Virtual Machine (VM) deployment software which makes use of server hardware by splitting it into multiple virtual machines for more efficient and cost-effective utilization of system resources. Since their acquisition of CloudHealth in 2018, they have better integrated their software and platform to help deliver security essentials for end-users looking to make their environment more secure.
You might not be aware of the name Symantec, but you will have most definitely heard of Norton. The parent organization that owns Norton also owns Symantec. Broadcom is in the process of transforming Symantec into an enterprise business unit. They’re looking good, too, as their CASB CloudSOC has been touted as the leading security broker technologies by analysis firms. They own a lot of information on the matter and are looking to employ the same technologies.
There we are, hopefully, by the end of this article, you would have learned about what Cloud Security as a whole is, what the benefits of security are, how information is processed, information management is done, and what that entails for up and coming generations of businesses.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is security as a service in cloud computing?
It is most easily defined as a business model wherein a SECaaS provider outsources its security solutions into a corporate infrastructure that is more cost-effective due to its subscription nature.
What is security as a service? Give one example?
Security-as-a-service (SECaaS) is a security solution that refers to external firms’ employment to handle the ongoing security needs of a growing business. An example would be anti-virus or a firewall utility that seeks and eliminates vulnerabilities and makes everything more secure. The benefits of a service like this far outweigh the costs associated with it.
Is cloud services under the software as a service?
Yes, cloud services do fall under the software-as-a-service umbrella. Since cloud services are so vast and omnipresent, the deployments are in various forms, but the software is predominant in every sector.