Sometimes it feels like achieving security in the cloud comes with more roadblocks than a presidential motorcade on Election Day. As the platforms, devices and compliance requirements proliferate, picking the right tool(s) for your specific company and industry turned into a really complicated ordeal. You have to deal with data that comes in every shape and size, individual privacy and compliance needs and the explosion of BYOD culture. Where to even start?

Building on last week’s post about getting your cloud security playbook in order, we wanted to share six of the most common cloud security roadblocks that we see companies running into over and over. Don’t worry, we’ve also got tips for overcoming them, so you can get your data locked down and get back to providing value for your customers. Read on…

The Problem: Complex, Expensive Solutions

Solutions to the challenge of cloud security have only been getting more complex (and expensive) in the last few years. Many of them amount to little more than a conglomeration of add-on features (e.g. audit trails, access controls, intrusion detection) appended reactively as the threat landscape evolves. But today’s fast-moving, high-growth companies recognize this isn’t sustainable. Cloud security needs to be as streamlined as possible.

The Fix: Wipe the slate clean with a solution that’s purpose-built for the cloud. Cloud-first solutions enable you to scale up or down with the capacity of your infrastructure to ensure you have continuous visibility across your dynamic environment.

The Problem: Overreliance on A Single Statistic (That Doesn’t Tell the Whole Story)

Most cloud security solutions focus on giving you a specific piece of information about security threats. They track IP addresses or monitor for multiple login attempts, for example. While knowing the IP address of a single user can tell you where they were when they logged into production, it can’t tell you much beyond that. You still need to know:

What did they do once they were logged in?

Were any key files changed?

If the location was anomalous, were there any other logins from that same location?

As you know, data is only as good as the actionable insights it provides. By referencing only a single point of data, how can you be sure your cookbook hasn’t been tampered with or know if unauthorized systems are being launched or misconfigured?

The Fix: While the problem is complex, the solution is simple: a single dashboard. Manage, configure, integrate and connect data points across your cloud infrastructure into one single pane of glass that will tell the entire story behind your data. That way, you have the power to dive deeper, pivot and piece together the story around a particular security event, meaning your team can move from detection to resolution much faster.

The Problem: No Overarching Strategy

Many companies see the benefits of moving to the cloud (efficiency, cost reduction, scalability) and understandably rush to make the transition. Later, they find that their data and systems are vulnerable to breaches, and they scramble to patch holes in their cloud environments (often long after vulnerabilities have already been exploited.)

Protecting data and systems in the cloud requires a security strategy designed for the cloud — one which accounts for your particular cloud environment, security challenges and compliance requirements. Ideally, this should be planned for and implemented along with the transition to the cloud. In reality, it’s often an afterthought.

The Fix: In last week’s post, we offered advice to companies on how to develop a sound cloud security strategy specific to their cloud environment. The TL;DR of it all is: you need to move beyond tactical security to a strategy-first approach. By starting with a strategy, you can focus on investing in a security solution that will monitor and protect your entire infrastructure (versus scrambling after the fact to deal with the latest zero-day threat).

The Problem: Inefficient Point Solutions

Solutions to the challenge of cloud security have long been fragmented. Considering the speed at which the threat landscape is advancing, it’s not enough to just piece together single point solutions (e.g. Cloud Trail, HIDS and NIDS products). This is far too hands-on of an approach, and can really slow down a fast-paced company.

Consider it this way: No single car part will make a car run. Of course you need the engine, but you also need the clutch and the steering wheel and a hundred other parts to make for a functioning vehicle. The same goes for cloud security. It’s the sum of the parts, tightly integrated together, that makes for a successful cloud security strategy.

The Fix: What’s needed is a single platform that natively integrates every facet of cloud security in one. A platform that is greater than the sum of its parts. It’s at this level that companies can finally eliminate the complexity, time and expense it takes to manage the security of their cloud.

The Problem: Lack of Correlation and Context

It’s your company’s responsibility to monitor for and respond to threats to ensure the protection of your data, systems, customers and your business. It should not be your job to mine through disparate data sources, correlate them and develop context from which to take action. While we humans are very good at strategy, data detective work should be left to the machines.

The Fix: By automating the data correlation process, your team can elevate their focus from detection to resolution. Eliminating these tedious tasks, you’ll gain the clearest and most seamless understanding of the threats to your cloud infrastructure. Of course, if you upgrade to a platform that correlates and contextualizes data for you, you can still dive into the data if you’d like, since it will all be at your fingertips in one single dashboard.

The Problem: Operational Inefficiencies

Today, companies often find themselves manually piecing together the security of their on-premise, private cloud, public cloud and hybrid environments. The problem complicates itself twofold when it comes to integrating security solutions with today’s DevOps tools and workflows. Without tight integration across your entire infrastructure, you’ll miss out on a having a unified view of your security posture — not to mention a high TCO (total cost of ownership) and a whole host of other inefficiencies and roadblocks.

The Fix: To achieve optimal performance and efficiency, you need to find ways to simplify complex deployments, automate manual processes and alleviate costly operational bottlenecks. Whether you’re running completely on the cloud, in the process of migrating, or have a hybrid environment, your security posture need to be flexible. A solution that integrates across environments and scales with you as you grow is necessary. For without this single pane of glass, you cannot achieve a unified view of your entire infrastructure.