How To

Cloud Security: Planning, Implementation, and Best Practices

May 19, 2023 | min

The concept of cloud security represented by a businessman with a tablet displaying various security elements


As the field of IT infrastructure is growing increasingly complex, many businesses are adopting hybrid multicloud solutions to keep up with their storage and computing needs. The result is an ecosystem where organizations can keep data and apps everywhere, storing them in an on-premises datacenter or a public cloud. The nature of such a distributed network entails unique cloud security challenges. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Planning a security strategy for a company’s IT requires careful consideration of business goals and creating processes that every team can follow.
  • It is essential to implement segmentation, encryption and strong monitoring practices when deploying a finalized security architecture.
  • Best practices for maintaining company-wide IT security include strict password management, adaptive threat alert and report configurations.

Organizations can develop a comprehensive security strategy for their cloud environments by learning more about what goes into planning and implementing a security architecture in the cloud.

What does cloud security entail?

At the most fundamental level, cloud security identifies and addresses threats that might breach an organization’s cloud infrastructure and compromise valuable data. Strong security measures are essential for protecting the company’s interests, meeting regulatory compliance, and safeguarding customer privacy.

When a malicious party succeeds in breaking through a company’s security, the result is often much more than a minor inconvenience. The risks that a business faces when a breach occurs include the following:

  • Leakage of sensitive or personal data
  • Malware installation
  • Loss of trust from consumers

A competent security strategy mitigates the inherent risks of cybercrime and provides other benefits as well. With a centralized security plan, it is possible to efficiently monitor an entire cloud network, even with a reduced administration presence, while decreasing costs and improving reliability.

Security needs differ for various types of cloud environments, meaning there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Even an on-premises ecosystem requires thorough security measures despite its distance from public access, while hybrid clouds require monitoring on multiple fronts. The complicated nature of cloud security necessitates proper planning and careful implementation.

Cloud security planning

The first step in building an IT security plan is to outline one’s business goals for a specific cloud deployment strategy. Private, public, hybrid, and multicloud environments serve enterprises differently and require different security measures.

The next phase is to draft a risk management program and an overall security plan that addresses common pain points, prioritizes resource allocation toward mitigating threats, and furthers the company’s goals. 

It is then necessary to seek corporate-wide support and executive buy-in for the drafted plan. Each leader and team within a company needs to understand the purpose of the proposed security measures, how those measures will benefit them, and how their actions will serve to protect company interests.

Collaboration between all teams within an organization allows for finalizing a cloud security plan. Company-wide input ensures that the plan contains actionable policies and procedures by which the entire organization can abide. It is also good practice to include a process for auditing and reviewing the plan in the future. It also leaves room for improvement if the company inevitably grows and evolves.

Cloud security implementation

Segmentation is a top priority when implementing security measures in a multitenant environment. When sourcing or outsourcing server space to or from another entity, it is essential that one’s resources are either physically or virtually separate from another party’s resources.

Encryption is another fundamental security practice, especially in a public cloud infrastructure. Organizations should encrypt data mid-transit and at rest to protect sensitive information even if a malicious party gains access.

Before a security team can consider implementation complete, penetration testing is another crucial step. This entails simulating a competent attack on one’s cloud systems to reveal weak points or vulnerabilities in the network.

As a final consideration when building a cloud security implementation plan, it is prudent to weigh the pros and cons of adopting automated security solutions. 

Manual security monitoring requires a significant workforce to maintain 24/7 monitoring, opening the door to human error. The McKinsey Global Survey shows a doubling adoption rate of AI between 2017 and 2022, and many companies are using this technology to automate security scanning and problem detection in IT systems.

Cloud security best practices

Enforcing a policy of strict password management is a best practice to adopt during implementation and beyond. Similarly, it is also a good practice to outline a process for rolling out vulnerability patches when cloud security concerns arise.

Configuring an implemented security architecture to generate alerts and reports regarding system health and safety is another good habit that increases the visibility of the entire network as one big picture. It is vital, however, to maintain constant communication with security partners and platform providers to ensure that alert and report configurations are up to date with ever-changing situations and business goals.

Each company looking to strengthen its security practices must also decide on the continued use of its on-premises infrastructure when migrating to a public or hybrid cloud approach. Maintaining an environment from which to host a private cloud allows greater control of sensitive data. Still, working with a cloud platform provider also necessitates collaboration while building a hybrid environment that accommodates legacy systems.

Therefore, an enterprise must migrate to the platform that best suits its cloud security needs when adopting a hybrid or multicloud solution. The Nutanix Cloud Platform comes with built-in security features while also placing control of security governance in the hands of the consumer.

Learn more about data center risk management and data protection in the enterprise environment.

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