What is cloud security? How to secure the cloud

The move to the cloud has been embraced by businesses big and small, which begs the question, how is our data being protected? Keep reading to understand cloud security challenges and how to make cloud security a priority.

What is cloud security?

Cloud security is a set of policies, technologies, and applications put in place to protect cloud computing environments. Establishing your company’s posture in relation to the components of cloud security is essential to protecting your business and the customer experience. 

If you're just getting started on building out cloud security best practices for your organization, you'll want to familiarize yourself with three key elements:

  • Cloud access security brokers (CASB)

  • Software-defined security (SDS)

  • Cloud workload protection platforms (CWPP)

These components help defend cloud data and sensitive customer information from malware and other cybersecurity threats. Generally, this is an effort driven by both the cloud provider and the customer.

Cloud security challenges

If you want your cloud security to be effective, you've got to make sure it's comprehensive. With the mounting complexity of application environments spanning both public and private clouds, approaches to monitoring and protecting those environments must become more detailed in response. Whether you have a public or private cloud environment, this requires a shift to a proactive approach that maintains full control over cloud access and permissions, while helping you to mind the ever-expanding perimeter of IT.

It’s important to remember that maintaining cloud security is a shared responsibility between the business and the cloud provider. DevSecOps or Devops need to be continually involved and actively communicate with cloud providers to stay on top of threats.

Cloud security best practices


Encrypt your data

A secure cloud environment supports data that’s encrypted as it moves to and from the cloud. It’s important to implement encryption for data when it’s moving and when it’s at rest. Learn about what kinds of encryption policies are available from different cloud providers before you choose. Gartner recommends scrutinizing this carefully to ensure that encrypted data doesn’t negatively affect certain functionality in the cloud service.

Segment workloads

Using microsegmentation to your advantage allows you to secure workloads individually, making it more difficult for attackers to breach multiple workloads in a short period of time. This minimizes potential damage from an attack by helping to isolate threats, and maintains a zero-trust security model. 

Maintain visibility and controls

Having full control over permissions for cloud data access keeps it protected, and data that are continuously monitored for threats are protected in real time. Securing endpoints through VPNs, firewalls, and antivirus software will help protect cloud data that are accessed regularly by a remote workforce.

Create a hybrid cloud

Not all cloud data needs to be private. Using a combination of public and private cloud environments gives you more control over how you orchestrate workloads. Keeping the most sensitive workloads on a more secure private cloud creates a stronger defense against threats. 

Train users to help secure data

Security practices shouldn’t be left to just IT teams and cloud providers: your users can help defend your cloud data, too. Educating users on creating strong passwords, identifying phishing emails, and using only secure links helps protect your data on a day-to-day basis. Get your users familiar with multi-factor authentication to establish more layers of protection when accessing data.

Leverage AIOps

With security threats noted as the top cause of network, server, and app downtime from 64% of organizations in 2020, AIOps is the only way to keep up. Automating operations using AIOps helps to secure a cloud workload through efficient anomaly detection, AI-powered root cause analysis, predictive attack analysis, and automated alerts. AI helps to determine the root cause of an anomaly more quickly than a human administrator can, reducing your MTTD and MTTR.

Cloud security solutions & tools

It can be difficult to know where to start when implementing cloud security practices. Using cloud security solutions that improve your posture while helping you to develop a proactive approach to monitoring your increasingly complex cloud environments is a great way to move forward.

Cloud security tools make it easier to monitor cloud data in real time. The sooner IT teams can identify a threat, the sooner they are able to isolate and block it. These tools can also help to identify gaps in cloud security via regular penetration testing.


How AppDynamics helps

We want to help you get the maximum benefit from your cloud security practices — which is why we collaborated with Cisco Secure, the world’s largest enterprise security company, to bring you the broadest security tools available. Organizations can use Cisco Secure Application from AppDynamics to:

  • Gain cloud application security insights without deploying an agent, enabling you to act quickly

  • Save time by automatically detecting issues across multi-cloud environments and cloud native microservices 

  • Gather cloud security data in real time so you can proactively contain threats

“We can see everything inside both our dynamic container infrastructure and the microservices running inside the containers. AppDynamics gives us unprecedented insight.”

Philippe Dono, Head of the Core Platform and Performance Team, Privalia

Cloud security resources

View all resources

MIT Technology Review: AIOps Uses AI, Automation to Boost Security

Discover how artificial intelligence and machine learning can help companies protect against growing cybersecurity threats.

The Ultimate Guide to Hybrid Cloud Monitoring

Plan your hybrid cloud monitoring strategy with these insights and little-known best practices from our cloud experts.

Cloud Monitoring

Your journey to becoming a cloud native is simpler than you think. AppDynamics offers enterprise-grade performance cloud monitoring and analytics tools to overcome growth challenges without a hitch.

See your applications like you never have before