There is no doubt that cloud platforms provide plenty of business benefits over the in-house server infrastructure. For many organizations, the shift toward the cloud has improved their business agility, flexibility, and scalability.
However, the public cloud continues to be complicated for most organizations. There are growing concerns about cloud security and threat detection. The 2021 Verizon report on data breaches found that cloud-powered assets were involved in 24% of all data breaches. This was up from 19% in 2020.
Companies fall short when it comes to observing and monitoring their cloud security on open-source cloud platforms like Google Cloud, AWS, and MS Azure. Observability is the ability of organizations to gain complete visibility into their cloud security environment – and to respond to security threats.
As more companies shift towards cloud-native apps, traditional cloud monitoring tools are no longer sufficient in this changing environment.
So, what is the role of observability in cloud security? We shall understand this concept in detail.
What Is Observability in Cloud Security?
According to an ESG survey, 51% of organizations migrating to the cloud ranked app dependencies as their leading challenge. The complexity and unpredictability of hybrid cloud platforms add to the existing migration-related challenges.
Hence, IT teams must maintain complete observability when monitoring their cloud performance during (and after) migration. In the domain of cloud security, observability is the organizational ability to collect and analyze security-related data and respond to any visible threats.
How does observability work? This involves collecting data from various security tools and systems – including security logs, endpoint solutions, and security information platforms. How does cloud observability make a difference? Effectively, it analyzes data to notify what is likely to happen – and not what is already happening.
With the recent proliferation of cloud-native environments, observability is critical for organizations to identify the root cause of a system failure in these complex environments. Next, let's discuss the advantages of observability in cloud security.
Advantages of Observability in Cloud Security
John Engates of Cloudflare says that "cloud observability enables IT organizations to monitor and understand their applications and systems in the cloud and use collected information to optimize performance and troubleshoot any issues that might occur."
Here are some of the business advantages that cloud observability offers to organizations:
1. Higher Flexibility
Using cloud observability platforms, organizations have better flexibility through team collaboration and integration. Collaboration effectively enables distributed IT teams to work with each other. With integration, different systems (for example, collaboration and incident management tools) can interoperate to manage the complex cloud environment.
With this advantage, enterprises can identify any hidden risk or constraint leading to delays or performance issues.
2. Cloud Cost Optimization
According to Flexera, organizations waste around 30% of their cloud spending budget. This is due to the hidden costs and expenses incurred in cloud initiatives. With observability platforms, organizations can detect the root cause of cloud expenses and rectify the problem.
Additionally, cloud observability tools provide valuable insights into existing legacy systems and identify any opportunities for cost savings. They're better equipped than traditional application performance management (APM) solutions.
Overall, observability solutions provide improved visibility to enterprises into their cloud security environment, thus enabling them to:
- Detect and respond to security threats effectively
- Proactively identify any security flaws or vulnerabilities in the cloud environment
- Improve their incident response abilities and minimize the damage caused by cyberattacks
- Ensure compliance with industry security standards and regulations
Next, let's discuss how enterprises can go about building cloud security observability.
How To Build Cloud Security Observability
As compared to traditional cloud monitoring, observability includes multiple elements that IT teams can include in their strategy. Here are some of the main elements:
- Control plane – or the cloud environment that contains the log of all cloud-related activity.
- Network – including network firewalls, intrusion detection tools, and load balancers.
- Application – or tracking application-level events & behaviors through local logs.
- Containers or serverless architecture – where logs and events are generated by PaaS cloud platforms.
Here are the essential steps for organizations to build an effective cloud observability strategy:
1. Identify the Existing Tools and Services
This includes identifying all the applications running on the cloud, the underlying cloud infrastructure, along with the tools needed to move data to the cloud.
2. Define the Organization's Security Goals
Next, organizations must define their cloud security goals. Do you need real-time threat detection – or faster performance and incidence response? These goals must align with the features of the cloud observability platform.
3. Select the Best Cloud Observability Platform
The next step is to select the cloud observability platform that aligns with security goals. Here are some of its other desirable features:
- Compliance with industry standards and requirements
- Ability to manage large volumes of cloud-generated data
- Facilitates collaboration between IT and security teams
4. Transform Data for Business Value
Collected data is useless unless it is converted into valuable insights. With an effective pipeline, observability platforms must collect and enrich the data and move it to the right destination.
5. Create an Effective Response Strategy
Finally, with their cloud observability platform, organizations must have the right response strategy to any security incident. With the right response, IT security teams can act fast before the incident impacts the end users.
As cloud environments become more complex, cloud observability platforms are becoming popular in the realm of cloud security. When compared to traditional monitoring tools, observability tools provide a proactive approach to detecting and thwarting online threats.
At Wissen, we have enabled a seamless digital transformation journey for our clients across industries. If you are looking for the right cloud implementation partner for your organization, contact us today!