What is Cloud Security Monitoring?

Cloud environments commonly face various security challenges, including security misconfigurations, excessive permissions, and insecure applications and APIs. Cloud security monitoring – the practice of maintaining visibility into cloud environments – is critical for organizations as it helps them identify and address potential risks and attacks.

Challenges of Cloud Security Monitoring

The nature of cloud environments and the shared responsibility model mean that companies often struggle with maintaining the required level of visibility into their cloud infrastructure. Preventing data breaches, downtime, and other potential incidents requires full cloud visibility and round-the-clock monitoring. 

Some of the biggest challenges that organizations face with regard to cloud monitoring include the following:

Limited Visibility

Maintaining visibility can be difficult in the cloud since a portion of an organization’s cloud environment is monitored and managed by the cloud provider. Without full visibility and the ability to deploy monitoring tools designed for on-prem environments, companies can have security blind spots related to cloud services, network traffic, and configurations.

Cloud Security Logging

Cloud security logging is challenging due to the scale and heterogeneity of data produced in the cloud. With information originating from multiple cloud platforms and the various services and applications deployed within them, companies have a large amount of data to collect and analyze. Additionally, this data likely comes in various formats, and the ability to rapidly deploy and take down cloud resources means that the landscape is quickly changing. As a result, security teams may struggle to keep up with the volume of data and extract anything useful from it.

Integration with Existing Security Management Tools

Security management tools designed for on-prem environments may not work in the cloud, and having separate on-prem and cloud monitoring infrastructure is a recipe for visibility gaps and missed detections. When implementing cloud security monitoring, companies may struggle to find and deploy solutions that provide integrated visibility across on-prem and multi-cloud environments.

Cloud Security Monitoring Solutions

There are a number of monitoring tools that provide visibility into cloud environments to help identify and remediate potential vulnerabilities and cyber threats. Some tools include the following:

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solutions are designed to collect security information from various sources (log files, network traffic, etc.), aggregate it, and analyze it. Their real-time monitoring, incident reporting, and contextual vulnerability management capabilities enable an organization to more quickly identify and respond to potential threats.

Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASB)

A cloud access security broker (CASB) enforces corporate security policies between cloud-based services such as SaaS applications, and their users. CASBs have full visibility into access requests to cloud apps, enabling them to monitor how an organization’s cloud resources are being used.

Cloud Compliance Monitoring

Cloud compliance monitoring solutions are designed to automate the process of tracking an organization’s compliance with applicable regulations in the cloud. These solutions monitor cloud configurations and user activities and can report on anything that violates the requirements of regulations such as PCI DSS, GDPR, and HIPAA.

Extended Detection and Response (XDR)

Extended detection and response (XDR) solutions collect security data from multiple sources and analyze it using AI and ML. This analysis can help with identifying trends or anomalies that could point to security incidents or other events of interest within an organization’s cloud environment.

Benefits of Cloud Security Monitoring

Some of the benefits that organizations can achieve by implementing comprehensive, in-depth cloud security visibility include the following:

Early Threat Detection

Cloud security monitoring is beneficial to an organization because it enables the company to more quickly identify threats in cloud environments. The quicker that an organization identifies a threat, the less opportunity the attacker has to cause damage or steal sensitive data.

Reduced Dwell Time

Often, companies experience long dwell times between an attacker breaching their environment and being detected by the organization. The greater insight provided by cloud security monitoring solutions enables organizations to identify trends, anomalies, and other data points that allow them to identify cyberattacks in motion and reduce dwell time.

Regulatory Compliance 

Achieving and maintaining regulatory compliance requires the ability to demonstrate adherence to regulatory requirements and identify and address potential data breaches and other security incidents. Cloud security monitoring solutions help organizations to show that they meet the minimum criteria for certain industry or regulatory compliance mandates, and provide the visibility and context required to demonstrate compliance.

Efficient Resource Utilization

Often, organizations suffer from high cloud bills due to inefficient utilization of cloud-based resources. Cloud security monitoring solutions provide insight into usage patterns of resources and user behavior within an organization’s cloud environments. This information empowers companies to enhance the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of their cloud environments by appropriately scoping cloud resource allocations.

Implementing Cloud Security Monitoring with Cato Networks

Many cloud providers offer solutions that provide visibility into their environments. However, these are specific to a particular platform and may not provide all of the information that an organization requires. These built-in tools, while adequate for basic monitoring use cases, may not be sufficient for complex use cases, such as multi-cloud environments.

Cato SASE Cloud offers simplified, consistent cloud visibility across an organization’s complete corporate network. By providing complete visibility of an organization’s WAN, Cloud, and SaaS environments, it eliminates the complexity of managing multiple, provider-specific solutions while enabling companies to effectively identify and block cyber threats to their cloud environments. Learn more about SASE and the benefits of security as a service with Cato Networks.