Cloud cybersecurity hardening and its benefits

Cloud environments do not have an established physical security perimeter. With this in mind, hardening the system is a great way to reduce the number of cloud security breaches.

Cloud adoption poses major challenges for IT teams as it adds an additional layer of complexity to the current security architecture. In addition, a misunderstanding remains: while cloud service providers do everything they can to contain any attack attempt, the company is also responsible for data security.

Thus, according to the latest CESIN barometer, 63% of CISOs consider it necessary to use devices other than those offered by the cloud provider.

According to a Netwrix survey, organizations have experienced an average of 2.8 cloud security incidents over the past 12 months. Sensitive data is therefore exposed to a permanent risk. However, cloud environments do not have an established physical security perimeter because they are designed to be easily accessed and deployed. With this in mind, hardening the system is a great way to reduce the number of cloud security breaches.

How to harden the system

It is the process of securing the configuration of a system to reduce cyber risks and to protect the configuration and vulnerable software from attack. This can be done by removing any unnecessary account functions, access permissions, network connections, or applications that cybercriminals could exploit to gain access to an IT environment.

Given the many security directives in place and the threats hanging over companies, approaching ANSSI is recommended for advice on the best way to configure a system with complete security.

There are several ways to securely store critical data in a cloud environment. However, cybersecurity experts recommend the following:

1> Restrict user access to instance and networks-Only essential operating system (OS) modules and applications should be used to control host-based defense software;

2> Limit user privileges by setting the maximum number of privileges for different servers required for its operation;

3> Define a baseline of servers and monitor each server as an individual item – Then simply compare them to the current baseline to identify and alert any anomalies. Each individual server must be aligned to perform and maintain the necessary auditing and recording data in the most secure manner possible;

4> Create a method to frame basic server configuration checks;

5> Verify access and monitor all changes in the elastic compute cloud (EC2) to ensure that only authorized changes are made and to verify server reliability and stability.

The Benefits of System Hardening

Although the concept of system hardening is not much known by many people, organizations that choose to start such a project nevertheless benefit from many advantages. One of these is the ability to view systems and their history. These “pictures” can be taken when more permanent or temporary resources are needed.

Moreover, thanks to adapted technological tools, it is possible to quickly configure the systems so that they reach the desired level of security before the image backup, so that it is ready to use at any time.

Another benefit of system hardening is the ability to customize images of any management software, which can be enabled while preparing tracking systems once the image has been launched. Organizations should make sure to explore the current tools available and select the ones that best suit their environment, before deploying them based on the image at the customization stage.

By selecting the right tools, IT teams can instantly monitor and identify any posture anomalies, while ensuring that the image meets hardening standards throughout the lifecycle of the system.

More importantly, system hardening significantly reduces the attack surface, limiting the number of entry points for cybercriminals in a network. By eliminating potential breaches before hackers even have a chance to exploit them, and by securing the most vulnerable endpoints in the environment, organizations are less at risk. .

System hardening processes also facilitate for companies to meet regulatory and cybersecurity compliance requirements. Thus, they can increase the return on investment related to cybersecurity.

Cloud adoption is no longer an option, but a requirement for most companies. Organizations should move part of their operations there to ensure the continuity of their activities. The rapid move to remote work in the midst of the pandemic has pushed IT teams to settle for the minimum when it comes to security in the cloud environment.

Now that users are accustomed to cloud-based reality, it’s time to upgrade the security measures in place.

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