Cloud Security can be defined as any process, system, or software designed to protect applications and data that are delivered or stored on a cloud-based system. The primary difference between more traditional business security and cloud security is that the organizational strategy to protect applications and data must evolve to stop data or personal information theft in general, rather than simply protecting the assets that reside on-premise.
The primary shift that IT departments must face when considering a cloud security strategy is that protecting devices, data, and people becomes a collaborative effort between the IT function within an organization, and the provider of the cloud security solution.
Cloud Security solutions have evolved much in the last 5 years. Among the functions that are included in a robust cloud security solution include:
- Identity Management
- Policy Management
- Content Filtering
- Authentication and Access Management
- Single Sign-On
- Data Protection or Replications
Robust cloud security offers multiple layers of security, and can be managed in a single application via a web-based interface. This provides IT Security Specialists with several benefits, including more visibility into the overall security posture of the organization, the ability to control, monitor, and remediate security problems more quickly, and a reduced reliance upon appliance hardware to enforce network security at their organizations.
In an enterprise organization of 1000 or more employees, cloud security solutions can also reduce telecommunications and bandwidth costs for traffic inspection, particularly if the organization has two or more offices that are separated by large distances. If an enterprise organization is backhauling traffic 1000 miles or more, to and from an office with more than 100 workers, it is possible to fund the entire cloud security solution simply by recouping these telco and backhaul costs.
For organizations with a large contingent of telecommuters or a mobile sales staff, cloud security can also offer a greater level of security for users, even when those users are not connected directly to the company network. Some cloud solutions offer a low-resource client or agent that can protect users no matter where they are, and no matter what network to which they are connected. In this case, administrators can also adjust and push new policies, patches, or new settings to agent-controlled devices without the end-user needing to take any action. This is an ideal solution for non-technical users who "just want to be protected", but don't possess the knowledge to enforce robust cloud security on their own behalf.
This combination of cost savings, greater visibility, better control over mobile devices, and a single pane of glass in which to manage cloud security has caused many organizations to adopt digital transformation projects to both reduce the cost of IT security and increase protection for cloud based applications, unmanaged devices, and access to the web via guest or unsecured networks.