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The Growing Importance of Cloud Workload Security

Jul 22 by Bob Violino
  • A growing number of organizations are increasing their use of the cloud.

  • These workloads, including databases, transactions, and analytics, are vital to business operations.

  • Cloud workloads are different from regular endpoints which is why security teams need to deploy platforms specifically designed to protect these resources.

It’s no surprise that the cloud now dominates the modern IT infrastructure landscape. More and more workloads are shifting to cloud services, as organizations look to reap the benefits of the cloud computing model. The flip-side of this trend is that cyber criminals also see opportunity and are constantly looking for and finding new ways to exploit weaknesses in the cloud. That means cyber security leaders and teams need to focus on bolstering cloud workload security.

Businesses See the Cloud as Vital to Growth

The results of a survey by professional services firm PwC highlight that business leaders across the C-suite are seeing the cloud’s vital role in both defining and achieving their organization’s growth and operational ambitions, and they have high expectations for what the cloud can deliver for their organizations. A majority of executives in the survey (92%), say their companies are “all-in” on the cloud or have adopted it in many parts of the business.

Spending on Cloud Services Continues to Rise

Perhaps the best proof of cloud acceptance among organizations is that they are spending more on cloud services. An April 2021 report by research firm Gartner shows that worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services is forecast to grow 23% in 2021, totaling $332.3 billion. That’s up from $270 billion in 2020.

The events of 2020, namely the Covid-19 pandemic, allowed CIOs to overcome any reluctance to moving critical workloads from on-premises to the cloud, according to the report. In addition, emerging technologies such as virtualization, containerization, and edge computing are becoming more mainstream and driving additional cloud spending.

A number of key business workloads are suitable for cloud environments. These include database workloads to support a number of business processes; transactional workloads such as billing and order processing; batch workloads to support back-office operations; and analytic workloads to analyze data for business insights.

As more companies become aware of the economics of using the cloud, it’s likely that the workload shift away from on-premises systems will continue. Unfortunately, this also creates a growing number of targets for cyber criminals.

New Security Issues with Cloud Adoption

The security issues involved with the cloud are different from those associated with on-premises systems and endpoints. The cloud encompasses a more diverse and highly connected architecture, and much about it is out of an organization’s control. It’s also more dynamic, with machines being created, moved across servers and clouds, and deleted dynamically—sometimes existing just for a few seconds.

Many of the typical endpoint security tools available are not necessarily suited for cloud environments and some of the point solutions that evolved specifically for some of these environments are narrow in scope.

Importance of Cloud Workload Security Platforms

This is why adopting a dedicated cloud workload security platform is important. Such a platform should offer integration between on-premises and cloud services and provide the scalability, visibility, as well as advanced security designed to work within a dynamic cloud environment.

Vendors that can provide cloud and on-premises-based cloud workload security platforms can deliver comprehensive cloud workload protection and posture management to their customers, according to a Forrester Wave report from Forrester Research.

The report, which includes a detailed evaluation of cloud workload security providers, notes that “customer needs in securing workloads are changing. Old-school, on-premises security tooling [for example, security analytics/security information and event management, endpoint detection and response] no longer cut it.”

Organizations today have to monitor and control the proliferation of cloud workloads comprehensively across multiple tiers, Forrester says. When addressing cloud workload security, they should look for platforms that offer features for guest operating system native protection. “Many of the threats in workloads are still traditional changes to configuration files and network intrusions,” the report says.

Security teams need tools that offer memory integrity monitoring, host-based firewalls, and intrusion detection/prevention, and allow for scalable deployment of protection to a large number of workloads without interruption, the study says.

Learn more about how Bitdefender Gravityzone can help improve your security posture and protect mission-critical assets.

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Technical Advisory: SeriousSAM – Windows 10 Flaw Can Be Used by Malicious Actors to Obtain Administrator Rights

Jul 21 by Martin Zugec

Newer versions of Windows 10 (build 1809 - 2018-present) may be vulnerable to a local privilege escalation enabled by misconfiguration on the Security Account Manager (SAM) database file. SAM is a database file that stores password hashes for all local user accounts. (This file can be found in folder %SystemRoot%\System32\Config\SAM and it is mounted in registry under HLKM\SAM.)

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Effective Healthcare Security Is Much More Than Compliance

Jul 21 by George V. Hulme

When it comes to managing the security of their data and business-technology systems, many healthcare enterprises focus heavily on regulatory compliance efforts, such as their HIPAA security and patient privacy mandates. This is for an excellent reason — noncompliance can lead to costly fines and the ire of regulators. While it’s likely that focusing on regulatory compliance can incrementally improve security, that shift alone won’t take the organization to the level of security maturity it needs to have to protect against today’s threats such as ransomwar.

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Join Bitdefender at Black Hat 2021!

Come August, the Bitdefender team – along with some 20K security and InfoSec professionals – will descend on Las Vegas for four days of revelry on and about the latest security risks, research, and trends.

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Seven Steps Healthcare Providers Can Take Now to Shrink Their Security Skills Gap

Jul 09 by George V. Hulme

Healthcare providers are operating in a time of extraordinary pressure. Whether it's recovering their operations from a devastating pandemic year or it's the pace that their organization is embracing a rapid digital transformation aimed to optimize and modernize their systems. The last thing healthcare organizations needed this past year was an increase in ransomware and other types of attacks — but that's precisely what they experienced.

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Want to get started with XDR? XEDR may be the best place to begin

Jul 09 by Bogdan Carlescu

Every three to five years a new cybersecurity technology term gets hyped. In 2021 it’s eXtended Detection and Response (XDR). I’m old enough to remember way back in 2017 when endpoint detection and response (EDR) was considered the ‘Holy Grail’ of cyber defense.

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Security Architecture considerations for Cyber Resilience - Threat Prevention

Jul 05 by Bogdan Carlescu

In an earlier blog this year, I compared the concepts of cybersecurity and cyber-resiliency, arguing that the main difference between the two is one of perspective. Cybersecurity is centered on the idea that attacks can (and should) be prevented while cyber-resilience acknowledges that some attacks will go through, and that organizations must prepare to deal with the consequences quickly and effectively.

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Advisory on Kaseya VSA Ransomware Attack

Update: July 13, 2021 -- Kaseya issued a critical security update for VSA users that is available on their site - Kaseya Critical Security Update. We recommend users follow Kaseya's recommended updates as soon as possible. 

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We continue to monitor and analyze the attack using Kaseya Software to deploy a variant of REvil ransomware into a victim’s environment. The attack targeted Kaseya’s managed service provider (MSP) customers, which often provide IT support to small- to medium-size businesses. By targeting MSPsattackers also seek to access and infiltrate the MSP’s customers computer networks.  

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How to stay ahead of Ransomware

Jul 01 by Filip Truta

Ransomware remains a favorite among cybercriminals, who use it to block victims’ access to data and threaten to publish it if demands are not met. Nowadays, ransomware threat actors operate almost exclusively as-a-service, sharing duties and profits across hierarchical tiers. Sadly, as seen with the recent attack on a US fuel pipeline operator who paid a five million USD ransom, “business” is booming. Organized ransomware targeting US entities produced record damages last year, according to a recent analysis by the FBI's IC3 Center. Worldwide, ransomware costs are easily in the hundreds of millions and likely billions.

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