As organizations move their operations and computing efforts to the cloud, cloud security becomes an essential part of the journey. 77% of Infosec executives admit they “fear security threats and loss of control of data and systems,” when it comes to cloud computing. Cloud security products that are strictly integrated into these platforms offer peace of mind and convenience for companies that are not afraid to utilize such cutting-edge technologies. IaaS cybersecurity is a fixture of cloud security, and we’re going to explain it and common Iaas security issues in the following sections.
You will find out the answers to these questions in this article. So, take some minutes to understand all about IaaS security:
● What is the security of Infrastructure as a Service?
● What are the main benefits of using a secure and protected IaaS product?
● What are the major security problems in IaaS?
● How can businesses ensure their data remains secure in IaaS?
● What to consider for an enhanced level of IaaS security?
What Do We Mean by IaaS Cyber Security? How Important is That?
Infrastructure as a Service is a cloud computing model provided by third parties. It offers virtualized computing services through virtual machines, containers, and serverless computing practices.
Azure, which benefits from a list of IaaS security concepts, is an accurate example of such platforms. To improve the security of IaaS products, there should be a seamless approach to solve both service-specific issues and overall security issues.
● Service-specific issues: Related to cloud software problems, utility component issues, and network-driven issues.
● Overall security issues: Related to authentication problems and monitoring of services.
SaaS security is critical for businesses that are implementing third-party cloud software tools:
● SaaS security: The SaaS security checklist covers all security concepts related to the security of a cloud software tool.
Except for SaaS security, there are 2 more essential components of cloud security as follows:
● PaaS security: We’ve brought together a PaaS Security Checklist for you.
● FaaS security
Cloud Computing Services
Except for IaaS, there are two other popular models of cloud services:
● SaaS: Software as a Service providers host applications and software tools in the cloud and make them available to end users over the internet. Cloud-based messaging apps and cloud-sharing software tools are examples of such services.
● PaaS: Platform as a Service is a comprehensive development and deployment environment delivered using the cloud. Two common examples of PaaS could be Azure and Google App Engine, which developers can use to develop and deploy their desired applications.
Benefits of High-Level IaaS Security
Secure Infrastructure as a Service is advantageous to online businesses or enterprises that seek great growth and development. IaaS makes it possible to develop and deploy services in less time and offers a wide range of ready-to-use features to users.
Replicating an On-Premise Architecture in the Cloud
Frankly speaking, we can’t give up using on-premise services completely. On-premises are established on a company’s own hardware, while cloud platforms are hosted and maintained by a third-party service provider.
Both have pros and cons, but a notable benefit of IaaS products is the ease of moving resources and starting the services in a short period of time. You can replicate the same services in the cloud and access more features.
Simple Scaling Up or Down
No matter if you want ordinary hardware resources or you need advanced computing hardware. A secure Infrastructure as a Service allows you to start with typical resources and scale them up at any time needed.
It’s just a matter of a few clicks, so your IT team will have access to multi-core processors and increased hardware storage.
Entering the Target Market Quicker
Developing and launching products are faster and easier with IaaS platforms. In fact, the third-party provider is responsible for maintaining the resources and providing the hardware tools for you.
As a result, you can save a considerable amount of time that is wasted when establishing servers with conventional on-premise infrastructures.
Promoting Business Growth
When there is less time to reach the target market, your business can grow and develop at immense speed.
IaaS products allow online businesses to introduce their products promptly and offer their customers better services on demand.
Connecting to an Onsite Infrastructure
A secure Infrastructure as a Service offers one more feature. There is no limitation to using both IaaS and on-premise infrastructures at the same time.
Therefore, you can only move a part of your computing effort to the cloud and keep the rest of the work in your in-house Infrastructure.
In simple words, you can adopt a hybrid model that is a reliable method to secure your data and software tools.
IaaS Security Issues to Consider
Insider threats must be included in any cyber security strategy for all small and large organizations.
Employees and managers working in a cloud service provider have direct access to hardware and networks. As a result, those privileged insiders are potential threats.
In most cases, many employees in a cloud service provider company have access to the hypervisors, and this is also a security concern.
In virtualized environments, guest virtual machines have the potential to exploit 68.5% of hypervisor vulnerabilities. Penetrating the hypervisor allows hackers to gain control over virtual machines. This could lead to a deadly attack called hyperjacking, enabling the hacker to install and run an evil hypervisor and take control of the situation completely or partially.
By installing a keylogger on an admin’s system, hackers can obtain cloud account credentials.
This incident can occur for API credentials, database credentials, or private keys that are used to access the services.
Many businesses just use usernames and passwords, but it couldn’t be enough if you want comprehensive security. The service provider and cloud service users need to implement multi-factor authentication to tackle these types of threats.
Data and credentials saved in any place should be encrypted by the best encryption practices.
One way to gain access to the cloud and its services is by breaking the encryption approaches that aren’t secure enough in today’s digital world.
Security Approaches to Safeguard IaaS Platforms and Services
Understanding the Infrastructure as a Service
Understanding the IaaS security concept is a critical step taken before purchasing and using those services.
Figuring out the security model prior to implementation helps companies determine and differentiate between various cloud services. They can easily identify the capabilities and limitations of the cloud model, so picking up the best option will be easy then.
Setting Up Strict Access Protocols
Creating a strict access control approach is a necessity when using IaaS products.
Your team should determine: Who can access the cloud environment? At what levels? For how long can they access the services?
Setting up strict access controls should be on the IaaS security checklist, and the IT security team should clearly define those controls.
Encryption for Data
You can find encryption tools offered by all IaaS service providers.
It’s recommended that all service users incorporate such tools to encrypt the VM and the data that is stored in the environment.
Encryption is essential, especially when you’re dealing with clients’ personal or sensitive information, such as credentials, addresses, etc.
Regular Monitoring of Protocols and Inventory
A comprehensive and always-on monitoring system should be used to check if there is an IaaS security issue.
Data usage and process monitoring will continuously monitor the environment and report issues at the proper time.
Consistent Patching and Updating
Consistent patching and keeping the systems up to date ensure there is no possible point of attack.
Note that this is the responsibility of both the service provider and the user. Cloud service users should keep their OS and software up to date, and service providers are responsible for providing on-time patches and updates if there is any security problem.
Nordic Defender’s IaaS Security Checklist
Virtual Machines Planning and Deployment
Virtualized security is distinct from conventional in-house network security. There are virtual machines consisting of different parts which should be protected against security problems.
A lot of security issues are associated with choosing, planning, and deploying virtual machines and can be solved by referring to IaaS security practices.
Protecting Virtual Machines with IAM Methodologies
When you set up the IAM configuration, you explicitly grant permissions for user accounts when accessing the cloud environment.
Protecting VMs with IAM methodologies is a trustworthy approach by which cyber security teams can restrict access and defend the hypervisor from control-flow threats.
Protecting Endpoints for Virtual Machines
Endpoint protection is a necessary feature of world-class cloud platforms that enables protection for virtual machines at a high level.
Endpoint protection can be and should be installed on a machine when starting the service, and many of these features are offered by service providers for free.
Maintaining VMs Availability
Availability issues may occur in different situations, and this factor is directly related to IaaS cyber security.
Unplanned hardware maintenance events, unexpected downtimes, or even planned maintenance workloads can lead to availability issues that should be handled by IT teams.
Updating and Patching for Virtual Machines
Patching and keeping virtual machines are essential processes for maintaining security and compliance. Note that these efforts can cause interruptions if not done properly.
Nowadays, cloud IaaS providers offer automatic patch and update management features, and users can benefit from automation tools that come with a wide range of capabilities.
Encrypting Data and Information
Data encryption translates the data into another form or code in order to protect it from malicious actors.
You then get a secret key (decryption key) that is used to extract the data into the desired form.
Encrypting data is a common approach in all cyber security frameworks and can also be considered when dealing with IaaS cyber security issues.
Network Security Considerations for Virtual Machines
There are a lot of network security considerations for virtual machines that can isolate those software-based machines and protect them against IaaS security problems.
Installing firewalls is a trustworthy approach that allows only approved protocols to be used and deployed in the environment.
We ensure there is the desired level of cyber security by installing antivirus programs and keeping them updated. Note that virtual machines are at risk of viruses and network worms like hardware-based assets.
Just-in-Time Virtual Machine Access
You can easily enable just-in-time access on virtual machines after purchasing an IaaS product.
This feature allows access to your virtual machine only when it’s needed, and it’s shut down after that time.
Monitoring, Monitoring, and Monitoring
Monitoring features are provided by all cloud service organizations, and they are offered as a unified infrastructure security management system.
These seamless monitoring systems offer real-time reports and statistics, and users can access log files at any time needed.
IaaS Cyber Security Considerations
SLA Considerations in IaaS Security
A Service Level Agreement or SLA is an outsourcing vendor contract that figures out the level and type of service offered by a provider.
SLAs also define the required steps that must be taken if the defined requirements and policies are not met.
Remember that these documents cover a wide range of essential metrics for IaaS security, including service availability, error rates, and response time.
Utility Computing-Driven Issues in IaaS Security
Utility computing is known to be a critical part of cloud services in which service users are required to pay only for the usage of services and resources.
There might be some issues in the case of utility computing, such as the unavailability of services when the provider runs into financial difficulties.
When the third-party service provider encounters equipment problems, services can be down and out of reach for some time.
Cloud Software Tools in IaaS Security
Cloud technology is all about software, and software engineers play a critical role in this case.
Cloud software connects the components of the environment to each other and serves companies as one single component. In many cases, and when platforms are not secure enough, attackers can gain control of these components and make use of protocols on behalf of themselves.
Adopting reliable authentication practices and making use of encryption technologies can solve these types of problems simultaneously.
Network-Driven Issues in IaaS Security
Networking services and internet connectivity are a vital part of today’s world, where we’re surrounded by technology tools and devices.
A lot of cyber security problems out there may target networks and internet connectivity, such as Man in the Middle attacks or social engineering threats.
A suitable and reliable technique to tackle these threats is to switch to an efficient network monitoring approach to verify all the monitoring metrics in one place. This will ensure there is no concern about network-driven issues in the case of IaaS security.
How Nordic Defender Helps Your Business
What creates convenience for IaaS cyber security is taking a holistic approach and taking advantage of a comprehensive checklist for IaaS security. Nordic Defender is here to provide small and large organizations with this checklist, helping them start and deploy the required security controls.
Nordic Defender offers a list of cyber security services, particularly designed and developed for cloud platforms through managed plans. You can contact our team now to find out more and get full recommendations.
In this comprehensive article, our focus revolved around IaaS Security Issues and best practices that play a pivotal role in enhancing your IaaS Cyber Security. If your business is about to move to the cloud in the near future, it’s essential to take into account these IaaS security concepts to secure and protect your business. If your computing processes are already in the cloud, the IaaS security checklist can help you present all-inclusive security for your online business.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is IaaS a reliable solution and worth it?
● Infrastructure as a Service is a popular cloud computing model offered by third-party providers consisting of virtualized resources and computing hardware. If security concepts are taken into account, IaaS is a reliable solution in today’s digital world.
What are the main IaaS security issues for providers and service users?
● There are 5 main threats for such platforms, including limited control, security misconfigurations, VM issues, compromised identities, and regulation problems.
What is the first step to consider before adopting an IaaS product?
● If you want to switch to using an IaaS service, your cyber security team should understand the provider’s security model at the first step. Vendors stick to different policies, and it’s one of the main responsibilities of your security team to understand these terms and conditions.
What are the most important IaaS security measures?
● Cybersecurity teams consider a list of security metrics to ensure there is no concern about using IaaS platforms. Data encryption, network encryption, access control, vulnerability control, and consistent monitoring are 5 main principles in this case.
What are the best practices for better IaaS security?
● The best practice is to adopt a zero-trust architecture when it comes to IaaS cloud platforms. Along with that, providing an enhanced level of transparency with a reliable monitoring approach is required.