There’s a lot that goes into computers and computer networks these days, and not all of it is housed within the hardware you have on-premise. Much of computing now takes place in the cloud, and much of what we see executed in our day-to-day occurs in the cloud and virtual machines, rather than being processed and executed within the parameters of your own user endpoint. The cloud, of course, is a digital location for file storage, computer processes, and more — all accomplished outside the premises of a traditional computer. VMs, or virtual machines, include the cloud — because a VM is simply an emulation, or a virtualization, of an actual computer. It functions the same way a computer would, but the working parts are completely digital, rather than being processed, stored, or executed by hardware components.
So, then, the question remains: what is cloud VM security? The answer is simple: rather than traditional firewalls, routers, and other physical on-premise components for a security approach, cloud VM security focuses on virtualization of security tools. In other words, it creates security tools that are completely software-based, based within a cloud architecture, and that is designed to be used on and protect VMs and cloud computing processes. Cloud VM security, as a result, is dynamic and can change its makeup more readily than the static security used in hardware-based networks. More available, more reliable, and more capable of regulatory compliance, cloud security has become increasingly common as a full-on replacement for the insufficient protection that traditional network security has been reduced to in the advent of new, advanced cyber threats.
Who Needs Cloud Security?
When you’re utilizing cloud computing (as most businesses are nowadays, in one form or another), it’s important to consider that cloud security is what you will need to keep your business safe. Adoption of cloud networks is slowly becoming ubiquitous in the business world, and with that, so is the migration of data and of microservices and other systems into the cloud, into VMs, begging the question: Are those virtual environments protected? The answer comes from the way that you interact with the cloud, with your data, with the virtualized machines that you have in place: if these are a major part of the way you handle your business, chances are, you’ll need cloud security as part of your infrastructure.
Other organizations can and will find it useful to implement cloud security, even if the larger portion of their work happens on-premise. One example of this is organizations that require updated compliance on the whole when managing their data. This is true of finance and banking, as well as of healthcare organizations, and various other industries where there are governing bodies with specific data compliance standards. With cloud security in place, these standards are a regular part of the equation — with these industry standards requiring extra strong protection, and with cloud security platforms being able to dynamically pivot when enforcing certain standards much more so than traditional cyber security practices alone.
Other organizations that need cloud security include those who have to manage multiple levels of role access within an organization. Cloud VM security tools make this easy to deliberate and change at the touch of a button, with many roles being defined by their access and many features proving ease of use that doesn’t come with traditional protections. In other words, if you have to split up duties, split up cloud computing processes, or even split up security access to various levels of team members, adopting cloud security is a great way to do this — especially with the advent of enterprise users accessing your business’s network while working from home or elsewhere.
On Choosing Cloud VM Security
It’s smart to define your needs before shopping around — since cloud VM security is a varied approach with numerous solutions available. Your bare minimum in terms of needs should be the first to be defined, including the CPU architecture in use, the memory you’ll need for appropriate performance, and your network’s specifications. You’ll also need to look at providers that offer on-demand controls for the prevention of things like unauthorized access — with the ideal controls being adjustable to a great degree to allow for precise protection of your data. Obviously, visibility and threat detection are also increasingly important, because there are types of threats that can avoid detection in certain security setups.
As mentioned before, updates to compliance standards are also crucial, because, without that assurance, there’s every chance that your data storage could be non-compliant with industry regulations like GDPR, HIPAA, FINRA, and so on. That’s why it’s equally important to be sure that your security platform is utilizing data encryption at every possible stage, including transit and at-rest storage. These requirements are paramount to any cloud security solution, as they make up the most important functions of such a solution.
There’s more to think about, of course: cost is a big one, and only you know what’s right for your company there. But think about things that you’ve already had to consider, such as your cloud computing budget. If you have one in place, you probably already know what you’re able to spend on the security of said computing; just remember, though, that whatever you don’t protect is at risk for more than just monetary cost. With that in mind, you can’t afford to go without security of some kind, no matter what your choice of service will be.