Security as a Service in Cloud Computing
Top-rated security partners explore the common types of SECaaS solutions
With a limited number of true network security specialist available in the job market and ever-growing concerns about securing company and customer data, many companies are looking for partners to augment their teams and keep their network secure.
While it’s important that each company has their own security plan and have their hands on the steering wheel, leveraging strategic partners with expertise in the areas where they know their own team has weaknesses can be the difference between keeping customer and company data secure or being the next data breach being talked about on the news.
As the “Security as a Service” (SECaaS) space continues to grow it’s becoming segmented and specialized. While this creates a landscape that is slightly more complicated to navigate for businesses, it can also help IT professionals to target security partners with skillsets most in-line with the needs of their company.
Below we’ll explore some of the most common types of SECaaS companies in today’s security landscape.
Cloud Access Security Brokerage (CASB)
If you’re looking for a one-stop shop when it comes to security, CASBs are your best chance at finding it. Highly touted as the “integrated suites” of SECaaS companies, CASBs aim to secure cloud infrastructure no matter what form it may take for each company.
In the words of Gartner, CASBs are “security policy enforcement points placed between cloud service consumers and cloud service providers to combine and interject enterprise security policies as the cloud-based resources are accessed.”
As businesses continue to migrate to the Cloud for a variety of profit critical applications, securing data to and from the Cloud will continue to grow in importance for IT professionals.
One of the primary goals of CASBs is to automate the entire security lifestyle both for simplicity and repeatability. By automating as much of the process as possible, the time to identification and response to possible issues is drastically reduced.
Starting with preventative measures and running all the way through detection and remediation, CASBs strive to offer a holistic solution that is simple, effective and automated as much as technology allows.
It seems like the modern professional has an ever-increasing number of usernames and passwords they are responsible for keeping track of. It doesn’t help the situation that passwords are constantly under increased complexity scrutiny by administrators and they have to be changed on a regular basis. Many applications are also taking steps to prevent users from using recent past passwords. All of this combined means that an ever-increasing number of passwords that users have to keep track of.
Enter Single Sign-On (SSO) solutions!
Many will be familiar with these tools which allow users to store passwords and update them as applications require while using a single master set of credentials to login to all of their web-based portals and applications. With a click of the mouse, users can save or update an applications’ credentials. And when they use that tool again, they can simply put in their master credentials and SSO tools will auto-fill all fields necessary to login.
Many of these tools also have the ability to generate random passwords for each application preventing predictable passwords and increasing overall security. Gone are the days of combining your birthday, your high school mascot and your first dog’s name to try and create a password that you can remember.
It’s no secret that email is often used by third parties as a way to infiltrate networks or attempt to steal identities. The odds of a foreign prince ever actually needing a loan from you that he will pay back ten-fold are pretty low, but the odds of you having one email you are higher than you may think asking for exactly that.
While email scams may have started with far-fetched stories such as this one, modern security professionals have much more to worry about today. From phishing scams, malware, targeted attacks to outright data breach attempts, email is a tool that is used every day by the majority of companies that can be an open door to those looking for a way into your network.
Modern companies focusing on email security have a suite of tools that analyze incoming and outgoing traffic for possible threats. By analyzing traffic by type, origin and content, administrators can look for patterns based on past history and industry knowledge to prevent potential breaches and identify risky behavior from company users.
It’s also common for companies to test their employees with fake phishing and other common email scams to identify users most likely to fall victim. Users identified as most likely to open questionable emails are usually made to go through cyber-security training classes to educate them on making better decisions in the future when it comes to their company email usage.
Website and App Security
While there has been consistent movement towards the Cloud for many company applications, there will always be content and applications that companies choose to own and manage themselves. These can range from company website, internal portals or intranets to proprietary applications hosted within the company’s infrastructure. Data transfer within these applications and portals is every bit as important as the data going back and forth to the Cloud. Companies specializing in this area focus on exposing and sealing vulnerabilities in your external-facing websites and web applications, or even internal portals/intranets.
Companies in this area will leverage static and dynamic application and portal testing to maintain make sure all portals and applications are secure and sealed. The combination of dynamic and static will allow for both preventative maintenance as well as exposure of threats in a timely manner so they can be dealt with before a severe breach occurs.
It’s also important to make sure that partners in this realm are ready for the ever-mobilizing workforce. As company applications and portals are pushed to more and more mobile devices, it’s important to maintain the same level of security on Internet of Things (IoT) deployments as on all other company devices.
Cloud-based network security providers have been growing in popularity recently as many companies move away from traditional hardware deployments and choose to rely on Cloud-based solutions. Not having to own hardware is seen as a positive for many companies. They would prefer to pay for a license and not have the liability that comes with physical hardware. Many other companies see these solutions as a great added layer of security to use in conjunction with their existing firewalls. The end goal is the monitor all incoming and outgoing traffic to identify suspicious behavior and prevent threats before they happen.
By eliminating the hardware component, one point of failure is immediately removed. Cloud-based network security vendors can provide protection remotely. Identifying the right vendor in this category is imperative as it is becoming a more and more crowded space.
Make sure you identify whether or not your company’s needs are best suited by outsourcing your network security to the Cloud completely or augmenting existing firewall solutions with a Cloud-based counterpart.
SECaaS companies are springing up constantly as a result to increasing demand in this area of IT. Look for partners with longevity who aren’t still running on initial investments. Make sure you ask for and contact customer references, preferably those who have been with the company for 24 months or more. By talking to long-standing customers, your odds of learning from someone who has actually benefited from their SECaaS partner increases greatly.
Finally, make sure that you have taken the time to correctly identify where your company’s current security plan is deficient and find a partner who is strong where you are weak.
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