September 29, 2022

Article
3 min

3 CDW Services to Improve Your Cloud Security

Many IT teams lack the time and expertise to secure cloud environments effectively.

Sachin Sheth

Cloud technology provides many valuable benefits, but organizations that venture into the cloud also must understand its important implications for security. Even though cloud providers take great care to implement security in their services, a great deal of responsibility rests with customers. And, because any cloud resource consumed by an application potentially increases the attack surface, organizations must prioritize security for every cloud service they use. 

One of the biggest advantages of the cloud is that it’s simple to define, configure and deploy resources. But that ease can also be a detriment. System administrators may inadvertently make mistakes that allow excessive permissions, expose data too broadly or introduce business or technology risks. The same ease of use and excessive permissions can render a properly configured cloud environment nonsecure in a short period of time (a situation known as configuration drift). By contrast, when organizations manage cloud security properly, they can create an environment that’s more secure than an on-premises data center. 

Each leading public cloud provider offers a vast number of security controls that can be applied to various cloud services and in many different ways. At times, configuring multiple controls is necessary to ensure full protection. To properly secure a cloud environment requires a deeper understanding of the cloud platform, how various cloud services work and interact with each other, and which controls to apply at what cloud service levels.

To achieve this objective, many organizations work with a security partner that has cloud experience, a team of talented cybersecurity professionals, and relationships with leading cloud providers and cloud security product vendors. Such a partnership can provide a more direct route to cloud security than trying to develop expertise internally. 

CDW offers a range of cloud security services. Among the most popular are cloud security assessments, cloud-native and third-party tooling tune-ups, and cloud security remediations.

Understand Your Environment with a Cloud Security Assessment

In many cases, when organizations deploy workloads in the cloud, security is an afterthought, often because the organization’s cloud journey itself was not strategic or well-planned. As a result, opportunities may exist to embed proper security controls. A cloud security assessment identifies and prioritizes these opportunities by thoroughly evaluating the environment from the perspectives of security, risk and compliance. 

CDW experts start by analyzing a customer’s cloud environment, conducting interviews and reviewing documentation to develop a clear picture of the current security posture. In that process, we typically identify several gaps. For example, if an organization has policies or standards, we may find instances where users intentionally or unintentionally bypass those guardrails. We may find gaps in industry best practices or deviations from cloud provider recommendations. Most importantly, we identify gaps in cloud identity and access controls that compromise sensitive data.

We deliver a comprehensive report that helps the organization understand its cloud environment from a security perspective. We may also develop a roadmap that supports a longer-term strategy to bolster security as the organization expands its cloud footprint.

Optimize Native Controls with a Cloud Tooling Tune-Up

Major cloud providers offer extensive native controls and security tools. Yet to be effective — and to allow for automation opportunities — these controls must be configured appropriately. In some cases, native controls are absent or insufficient, and organizations must apply other tools from their own environment or from third parties to secure the cloud environment. 

The comprehensive list of cloud controls, native and otherwise, is extensive. Attempting to configure them manually is a daunting process for any IT team. CDW helps organizations figure out which tools to select, which settings to use and how to configure them, and it helps define surrounding policies and guardrails and how to integrate them for effective access control and monitoring. Our goal is to provide a neutral recommendation for what will work best in the organization’s environment.

Fix Vulnerabilities with Cloud Security Remediation

Remediation services are often a follow-up to a cloud security assessment. Once we’ve determined where the security gaps are, we take on the work of implementing necessary changes. Removing that burden from an organization’s internal IT staffers can be a massive help if the team is small, lacks cloud expertise or simply has other priorities.

Use cases vary because we tailor remediations to the needs of each organization. For example, an organization may want us to address vulnerabilities identified internally or through a cloud security assessment. A compliance review may have identified policy deviations, or the organization may need to integrate security into a specific cloud environment, such as a ticketing system. 

Just as cloud environments evolve over time, so do their security needs and vulnerabilities. For many organizations, engaging an expert in cloud security is the best way to ensure that cloud technologies enhance the business without putting it at risk.

Story by Sachin Sheth, who is responsible for CDW’s Cloud Security and Application Security practices. He has been in the technology industry for more than 25 years and has held numerous roles, including CISO and CTO.