An increasing number of enterprises are transitioning from on-premises to cloud-hosted applications, data and services, ultimately supporting remote employees, offices and third-parties operating around the world, on a variety of devices.

The cloud offers significant benefits to organizations; scalability, agility, reduced physical infrastructure, fewer operational expenses, and 24/7 data accessibility. However, research shows that only 4% of organizations retain adequate security for 100% of their cloud-based assets.

In 2023, over 80% of breaches involved data stored in the cloud. In 2024, trends are liable to remain stagnant, unless organizations take action.

Enhance your cloud security posture. Get advisory, planning and development ideas below – no matter where you are in your cloud security journey.

10 cloud security essentials for 2024

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1. Cloud-native security solutions. Unlike traditional security tools, cloud-native security solutions were built with the cloud in-mind. They’re designed to mitigate the specific risks associated with cloud-based infrastructure and services.

They work seamlessly in virtualized and dynamic cloud environments, leveraging cloud-native features and APIs to provide the most effective protection.

Tools like Check Point’s Cloud Native Security Platform (CloudGuard) ensure that your security keeps pace with all cloud related challenges, offering features such as auto-provisioning, along with auto-scaling and automatic policy updates.

Cloud native security for all assets and workloads provides crucial visibility, and a unified multi-layered approach.

2. Does your organization maintain a ton of tools? Reduce operational complexity with Security Orchestration, Automation and Response technology (SOAR). SOAR facilitates the coordination, automation and execution of a variety of tasks across divergent people and systems – all within a unified platform.

SOAR eliminates patchworks of siloed systems, meaning that organizations can bypass distractions and get to the business of responding to the most pressing threats.

SOAR also allows for streamlined policy management and automated alert management, enabling Security Operations Center analysts take on higher-order tasks. When it comes to continuously driving improvements, SOAR is an SOC manager’s secret weapon.

3. Zero trust policies. When using a zero trust framework, every request is logged and all traffic is assessed. Access to resources is restricted, reducing the potential for unauthorized users or breaches, and a transparent audit trail is always available.

“I expect adherence to Zero Trust principles to become the norm for all security vendors and application architecture patterns deployed in cloud through 2024 and into 2025,” says Check Point cloud security specialist, Jason Normanton.

4. A Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) implements zero trust access control and policy enforcement for cloud environments. Traffic to the cloud flows through the CASB solution, enabling it to enforce corporate security policies.

A CASB helps improve cloud visibility by offering insight into how users and applications access and utilize a given organization’s cloud-based applications. It can also provide insight into shadow IT, where the use of unapproved SaaS apps could lead to data leaks or other security threats.

A CASB can assist with data loss prevention (DLP), controlling access to and securing an organization’s cloud-based assets. Further, it offers advanced threat prevention (including the ability to identify and block the distribution of malware through cloud-based infrastructure) along with compliance advantages.

5. Secure Access Service Edge (SASE). With a distributed workforce and distributed applications, the traditional method of backhauling traffic to a centralized location for security scrubbing isn’t efficient.

SASE addresses the need for a centralized, cloud-delivered and software-defined security architecture; one that’s suited for highly distributed applications and users.

Critical components of SASE that are designed to protect your organization include Zero-Trust Network Access (ZTNA), SD-WAN, Security Service Edge (SSE) and Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS).

All traffic is routed to a point of presence for security inspection and is then optimally routed to its destination. In other words, SASE reduces complexity, improves performance, and advances security.

6. AI and ML powered threat detection and response. AI and ML algorithms excel when it comes to processing and analyzing vast quantities of data at speed and scale. In relation to cloud security, AI and ML enhance threat detection by identifying patterns and anomalies that are indicative of potential security risks.

Because these tools can discern subtle deviations from typical behavior, they enable early detection of emerging threats and keep organizations safer than traditional tools alone.

7. Big data threat intelligence. Leverage threat intelligence tools that aggregate and analyze millions of Indicators of Compromise (IoCs) everyday. When a threat is identified, protections/blocking capabilities can be deployed in under two seconds, with select tools.

8. Multi-factor authentication and credential rotation. To thwart threats in cloud environments, these simple and mainstream security measures are a must.

In the event that a password has been breached or stolen, multi-factor authentication can prevent unauthorized logins to cloud-based platforms, while routine credential rotations can reduce the window of opportunity for credential thieves.

Automated credential rotation processes can be integrated into security protocols, ensuring a seamless and timely rotation without undue operational disruption.

9. XDR. This trending solution type provides unified and integrated data visibility and analytics across an organization’s entire network – including the cloud. This enables security analysts to obtain context around incidents without having to learn and operate a variety of different platforms.

XDR is intended to provide a security team with full visibility into all endpoints and network infrastructure, allowing for unified remediation, improved understanding of attacks, and unified threat hunting.

10. CWPP. A Cloud Workload Protection Platform (CWPP) solution discovers workloads that exist within an organization’s cloud-based deployments and on-prem infrastructure. Once the workloads have been discovered, the solution provides a vulnerability scan.

Based on the results of the scan, CWPP solutions often provide options for mitigation. Fixes for identified issues include implementing allowlists, integrity protection and similar solutions.

In addition to addressing the security issues identified in the assessment, the CWPP can also provide protection against common security threats to cloud and on-premises workloads. These include runtime protection, malware detection and remediation and network segmentation.

A CWPP offers a number of benefits to organizations; from increased agility, to better security, to a reduction in data compliance violations.

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