Making Cloud Computing The Centerpiece of a Security Strategy

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Without reservation there is profound global urgency for organizations of all types and sizes to pursue, prioritize, and fortify cybersecurity. Whether it’s small or medium businesses (SMEs) and governments or multinational public companies, cybersecurity is non-negotiably important in 2024. 


Cybersecurity market forecasting from Statista — including both prevention and response efforts — shows that growth is continual for 2023–2028. In fact, for this five-year period, the cybersecurity vertical is expected to increase in total by USD$5.7 trillion. Comparatively the worldwide cost of cybercrime by 2028 is projected to be $13.82 trillion. Moreover these costs are almost doubling for the forecast period of 2023-2028. Unquestionably cybersecurity goes hand-in-hand with preventing and monitoring cyberattacks and cybercrime.


In this A3logics explainer, we’ll review how to make cloud computing the centrepiece of a security strategy with discussion of:


  • The leading public cloud providers and why these are most commonly used all over the world
  • Features that make these computing services suitable for enterprises of all sizes and for cloud computing security 
  • Ensuring cybersecurity best practice on cloud computing systems
  • Integration options for using the leading public cloud providers with existing cybersecurity strategies
  • Case studies of U.S. organizations using cloud computing security solutions 


Then organizations and businesses across industries will have stronger literacy in how they use and scale cloud computing security solutions


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The leading public cloud computing providers used worldwide


Firstly we’ll review cloud computing as a technology vertical. Following this we’ll explain why we’re focusing on public providers of cloud security solutions. When we’re analyzing the general technology vertical of cloud computing, we refer to IBM’s definition for its apt simplicity. Explicitly, “Cloud computing enables customers to use infrastructure and applications via the internet, without installing and maintaining them on-premises.”


 Key facts about cloud platforms and cloud computing security


The global cloud computing market is currently worth between $633-$722 billion according to GlobeNewswire. When it comes to largest markets, North America had the highest revenue in recent years with around 40% market share.


This market encompasses the following leading three areas of cloud computing:

  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)
  • Of these three areas, IaaS is projected to maintain a majority share of the market then SaaS, then PaaS


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For cloud computing, there are four main types:

  • Public cloud — These providers — usually larger technology or corporate companies — make their computing resources available over the public internet. Generally there is a monthly subscription though some offer free, capped-use products. For the most part, their products are IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS.  
  • Private cloud — An environment where all infrastructure and resources are only accessible to private users.
  • Hybrid cloud — A combination of public and private cloud resources. 
  • Multicloud (and also Hybrid multicloud) — This combines two or more public cloud provider products or services. For example, email from one provider and customer relationship management (CRM) from another. Hybrid multicloud is the same as multicloud again because it’s then also used with a private cloud provider. 


For the remainder of this article, our analytical 101 centres on public cloud providers as these are most commonly used. Equally, one major public cloud feature that justifies their wide use is that they’re elastic and readily scalable. This is highly beneficial for many reasons — including for cybersecurity — as we’ll explain in more detail below.


Key facts about public cloud platforms


  •  Suitability
    • Equips businesses, enterprises, governments, and non-government organizations (NGOs) to operate more efficiently and location-independently
    • Suitable across industries and regions
    • Accessibility for remote businesses irrespective of timezone and languages with extensive translation support
    • Up-to-date in-built compliance for international and regional compliance along with updates for changing policy and regulations
  • Systems and security
    • Leading providers have extensive global data center networks and remote servers across multiple continents allowing for hyper-scale edge computing
    • Security is central to the public cloud provider value proposition. Though each provider observes security best practice, each public cloud platform has its own unique security technology and data environment
  •  Performance
    • Each platform is elastic which allows for load balancing and reliable user experience (UX)
    • Platforms are therefore robust, flexible, and designed for scaling
    • Enterprises can opt for products based on data around factors like time, volume use, and stakeholder demands
  • Products and solutions
    • Products offered include databases, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), developer tools, customer service, Internet of Things (IoT), etc.
    • Customizability for configuration and migration, integratability with third-party software and multicloud use, and scalability both planned and on-demand 


Overview of the three leading public cloud platforms in 2024

Marketshare of cloud providers

Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • The most mature public cloud provider since launching in 2006
  • Presently the world’s number one public cloud platform, AWS holds 32% of the total public cloud market.
  • 2022 annual revenue surpassed $80 billion.
  • Their parent company Amazon reports that they have literally millions of customers including governments, Toyota, GE Renewable Energy, and Netflix.
  • AWS Cloud has 102 Availability Zones and reports having the highest network availability of any cloud provider.
  • Growth on top of the Amazon marketplace means that AWS is inextricable from e-commerce.
  • Users can gain AWS certification through their learning portal and companies can become part of the AWS Partner Network.
  • Customers can choose from free and paid products with billing dependent on use. Despite this, AWS is the most expensive of the top three cloud providers.
  • AWS cloud-based products encompass management tools, databases, analytics, security, IoT, developer tools, and an AI partnership with Stability AI.


Microsoft Azure (MS Azure)


  • Building upon their robust hardware and software range, Microsoft launched MS Azure cloud in 2010.
  • Its name was changed to Microsoft Azure in 2014 from its original Windows Azure moniker.
  • Presently the world’s number two public cloud platform, MS Azure holds 22% of the market.
  • 2022 annual revenue for MS Azure’s was over $30 billion.
  • In 2023, AWS market growth accelerated and that’s largely tied to their AI partnership with OpenAI. Since deploying the ChatGPT-4 product in November 2022, global interest in the generative AI (GenAI) technology has piqued.
  • Following ChatGPT-4’s release, the OpenAI large language models (LLM) were integrated in MS Azure with AI and ML.
  • Thousands of customers largely tied to business users coming from Microsoft 365 and Office 365.
  • Certifications in MS Azure are wide-reaching through training and certifications.
  • Leading customers include L’Oréal, Panasonic, and General Motors.
  • Major products include AI and App development.


Google Cloud Platform (GCP)
  • Google formally entered the paid public cloud in 2011 and GCP falls under the Google Cloud product banner.
  • Their cloud offering became GCP, growing from products including App Engine into a full range of cloud computing services.
  • The world’s number three public cloud provider, GCP currently has 11% of the market.
  • 2022 GCP annual revenue was over $26 billion.
  • Though GCP has around 10% of the public cloud market, its position behind AWS and MS Azure is worth discussing. For example, GCP has taken some time to become profitable due to how extensive their free products are. Conversely GCP is also largely investing in their infrastructure to build up their solutions.
  • User-friendly design with a familiar user interface (UI) that creates a seamless UX.
  • GCP’s cloud location network is across more than 200 countries.
  • Leading customer include Ubisoft, eBay, and Twitter.
  • Prominent products are Google Workspace and Vertex AI.


Additionally the public cloud providers comprising the market’s remaining 14% are: Alibaba Cloud, IBM Cloud, Salesforce, Oracle, and Tencent Cloud.


Cloud computing security features that make these computing services suitable for enterprises of all sizes


Now that we have an overview of these three leading public cloud providers, we’ll analyze the features enabling system security. 


Before we proceed to reviewing the key security features of the three leading public cloud providers, a note for businesses. Cybersecurity is a critical component of the cloud environment. Basically this is undeniable as we look ahead to 2024. Irrespective of the type of cloud service chosen — public, private, hybrid, or multicloud — focused, comprehensive cybersecurity protocols are imperative. Altogether, the inbuilt cloud infrastructure will support cybersecurity. Even so businesses need to have cybersecurity protocols, team training, and mandatory digital hygiene practices.


Why public cloud computing platform technology features support system security


  • Products and solutions designed for cybersecurity:
    • AWS security range includes Amazon Cognito, AWS Security Hub, and, AWS Firewall Manager
    • MS Azure security range includes Azure Sentinel, Key Vault, and, Azure Firewall
    • GCP security range includes Confidential Computing, Security Command Center, and, Cloud Key Management
  • In-built security standards for trust in the platforms, threat detection, data control and data protection, sovereignty, and resilient architecture 
  • Cloud systems are compliant with ISO/IEC 27001 — compliance based on International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission. Though compliance is not mandated though all leading public cloud providers it forms a baseline for security and control checklists. For GCP, this is leveraged “to ensure a comprehensive and continually improving model for security management”
  • User-friendly UX that encourages best practice digital hygiene


Main reasons why cloud computing security is superior for overcoming threats

  • Systems can automatically detect threats with a robust combination of products and protocols
  • Leading threats can be targeted through system configuration through expert set-up, interface security, encrypting data, and high-level authorization 
  • Decentralized servers and serverless cloud systems make attacks harder to launch as there are no obvious weak points
  • Cutting-edge security based on public provider standards rather than customer’s older legacy systems easily threatened due to latency problems
  • Detection of threats based on environmental analysis, data and activity logs, and credential-based access
  • Auditing of threats and ongoing 360-degree analysis using proprietary technology in addition to AI/ML
  • Custom-built products and solutions enabling scaling of cybersecurity infrastructure for customer industries and environments through cloud solutions services.


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Fundamentals of cloud computing security using AWS, MS Azure, and GCP


Obviously then cloud computing systems are designed to support best practice organizational security. Furthermore proprietary technologies facilitate both high-level security standards while enabling businesses to extend wide-reaching operational and strategic objectives. “Data is moving across multicloud, hybrid cloud and distributed public cloud services,” say Gartner analysts. Moreover, “Security and risk management leaders must take urgent action to mitigate security, privacy and data residency risks.” In essence this demonstrates why cloud computing systems are essential for 21st century cybersecurity and  the digital transformation process. Below we’ll explain the key features of each platforms security offerings and why these enable myriad tactical outcomes. 


Cloud computing security in public cloud, hybrid cloud, and multicloud solutions


Before we unpack AWS, MS Azure, and GCP security features, let’s review the security landscape for public, hybrid, and multicloud. 


  • Public cloud — Security features are dependent on the platform though these services are designed for best practice along with customization and scaling
  • Hybrid cloud — Further customization possible than with public clouds making security somewhat higher than with a solely public set-up
  • Multicloud — More comprehensive again for entirely unique security set-up; option exists to combine multiple public providers with private cloud resilience.


Comparing cloud computing security features of leading public cloud providers


  • AWS


Offers a range of security, identity, and compliance products. These streamline activities without compromising productivity or straightforward UX. Specifically this wide, robust range of cloud services, security technologies, and strong global infrastructure is part of why AWS performs. Despite this, AWS is an expensive public cloud solution and choosing the right configuration can be complex for customers.  


  •  MS Azure


Altogether Microsoft’s public cloud product is highly powerful delivering multi-layered security through physical datacenter network, operations, and global infrastructure. Not only does MS Azure have built-in controls but also the Microsoft Trust Center with AI integration. Another key MS Azure security feature is Microsoft product integration thus offering hybrid solutions with compliance certifications.


  • GCP


The Google public cloud provider offers its own rich set of controls and capabilities. With security and identity products, their suite fortifies businesses through a mature global infrastructure network, data analytics, and ML services. Though their products range is limited compared to the other leading providers, Google is continually investing in the offering. This means their portfolio is transforming, diversifying, and businesses should monitor security advancements coming to market.


Ensuring cybersecurity best practice with security features on cloud computing platforms


Currently the leading public cloud providers are used in commercial, corporate, government, and private enterprise environments to support robust cybersecurity. Whether it’s sustaining reliable credentials management day-to-day or identifying unauthorized intruders, these cloud solutions protect data and assets.


This section explains the three leading public cloud computing platforms security offerings for the following areas:


  • Encryption and Key Management
  • Identity and Access Management (IAM)
  • Network Security and Firewall Protection
  • Compliance and Governance
  • Monitoring and Logging
  • Security Automation and Orchestration
  • Incident Response and Recovery
  • Training and Certification Programs

So let’s review these areas for AWS, MS Azure, and GCP and integrating these for business, corporate, and organizational cybersecurity.


  • Using AWS for best practice cloud computing security


AWS is a highly comprehensive suite of cloud services and features.


1. Encryption and Key Management:


Among the leading AWS encryption offerings are AWS Key Management Service (KMS) and AWS Certificate Manager. When businesses integrate these products into their cybersecurity, encryption works to minimize sensitive data encountering unauthorized access or intercepting threats.


2. Identity and Access Management (IAM):


AWS IAM securely manages user access to cloud services and business resources. Through IAM best practice integration, protocols are upheld and digital hygiene preserves environmental health. For instance, this enforces strong authentication and access control policies. Then this reduces risks of unauthorized access or data breaches.


 3. Network Security and Firewall Protection:


AWS network security solutions protect applications and data from common web exploits. Specifically AWS Firewall Manager and AWS WAF (Web Application Firewall) sets up network security policies. Following this, businesses can monitor network traffic for potential threats.


4. Compliance and Governance:


AWS solutions support businesses to meet industry-specific compliance standards. Accordingly this covers GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI DSS. In order to support compliance, regulations, and governance, AWS aligns with regulatory requirements. Then businesses have a reduced risk of non-compliance penalties.


5. Monitoring and Logging:


AWS provides comprehensive monitoring and logging capabilities for tracking user activity and changes. Thus AWS solutions like AWS CloudTrail and AWS Config. help key processes. Essentially these services equip businesses to detect potential security issues and maintain an audit trail. Then they’re adhering to compliance and have troubleshooting records.


 6. Security Automation and Orchestration:


An addition to monitoring and logging, Security Hub and AWS Config Rules means security check automation and streamlining compliance assessments. Moreover these tools are integratable into a cybersecurity framework. Once this happens, proactive identification and rectification of security vulnerabilities and misconfigurations is upheld.


7. Incident Response and Recovery:


AWS Shield and AWS Backup help businesses prepare for and respond to security incidents. When integrating these tools into a cybersecurity incident response plan, organizations are prepared for incidents and recovery. Then this helps manage issues, resolve potential security breaches, and maintain business continuity.


8. Training and Certification Programs:


Lastly AWS certification and training supports cybersecurity standards. For example, AWS Certified Security – Specialty builds skilled workforces with platform-specific proficiencies like AWS security solutions. What’s more, investing in training programs supports the development of a knowledgeable security team. Subsequently they’re able to apply AWS best cybersecurity practices for businesses.


Key takeaway for using AWS for a best practice cloud computing security strategy:


Regular assessment, monitoring, and updates are essential to ensure the ongoing effectiveness and compliance of the cybersecurity measures implemented. When it’s the AWS environment, this means platform-specific cybersecurity tactics and product choices to extract maximum, best practice value.


  • Using MS Azure for best practice cloud computing security


Overall MS Azure offers a comprehensive set of cloud services and features that support robust cybersecurity.


1. Identity and Access Management (IAM):


Azure Active Directory (AD) enables secure management of user identities and access to MS Azure resources. Once businesses integrate with Azure AD, they have stronger authentication, access control, and identity governance. Thus this reduces risks of unauthorized access and data breaches.


 2. Data Encryption and Key Management:


Altogether MS Azure provides various encryption options for data at rest and in transit. These include Azure Key Vault and Azure Disk Encryption. In order to protect sensitive data, integrating these products helps reduce unauthorized access or interception.


3. Network Security and Firewall Protection:


Options for protecting applications and data from network-based threats include Azure Network Security Group (NSG) and Azure Firewall. Due to the robust network security solutions enabled through integrating these tools, businesses build stronger networks. Then this upholds security policies and scales network traffic monitoring to reduce security breaches.


 4. Compliance and Governance:


Businesses can achieve industry-specific compliance using Azure Policy and Azure Security Center. Specifically this includes leading compliance regulations and policies like GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI DSS. When businesses use MS Azure for this, they better adhere to regulatory requirements and best practices. Then this minimizes non-compliance penalties risks.


5. Monitoring and Logging:


Comprehensive monitoring and logging functionalities for tracking user activities and detecting potential security issues are possible with MS Azure. Specifically Azure Monitor and Azure Sentinel enable real-time monitoring, logging, and auditing capabilities. Consequently integrating these MS Azure tools strengthens cybersecurity frameworks so threats and incidents are identified, investigated, and resolved more quickly.


  • 6. Security Automation and Orchestration:


Using Azure Security Center and Azure Defender, businesses can automate security assessments and threat detection. In order to do this, businesses integrate these MS Azure tools to better manage their cybersecurity environment. This includes threat identification, resolutions, and risk management.


 7. Incident Response and Recovery:


Once an incident happens, MS Azure offers tools that are integratable to better protect systems, backup data, and disaster recovery. For instance, Azure Backup and Azure Site Recovery are robust solutions that integrate into all cybersecurity protocols and response standards.


 8. Training and Certification Programs:


Lastly Microsoft training and certification pathways include high-level specializations like Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate. Teams holding these qualifications are highly skilled and prepared to design, manage, and implement Azure security solutions. Because this supports best cybersecurity practices, team members achieve maximum standards for MS Azure cloud security.


Key takeaway for using MS Azure for a best practice cloud computing security strategy:


MS Azure is designed for businesses to manage 360-degree, ongoing cybersecurity monitoring and resolutions standards. Though the MS Azure environment is designed for integration with a range of Microsoft products, expertise contributes to excellence. Hence solutions are consistently the very best with MS Azure certification. 


  • Using GCP for best practice cloud computing security

All in all GCP offers a variety of solutions and features that support advanced cybersecurity for cloud computing. 


1. Data Encryption and Key Management:


GCP offers various encryption options for data — both in storage and in transit. For example, GCP products include Google Cloud Key Management Service (KMS) and encryption capabilities for Google Cloud Storage. When these are in use, data protection is high and interception mitigation is constantly operating.


 2. Identity and Access Management (IAM):


GCP’s user access management product GCP IAM keeps the enterprise customer’s resources secure. When these GCP products are integrated there is advanced authentication and access control. This upholds digital hygiene standards for cybersecurity that can lead to unauthorized access as well as data breaches.


3. Network Security and Firewall Protection:


GCP network security solutions include advanced offensive products like Google Cloud Armor and Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) Service Controls. Not only does this establish network security policies but also it sustains a protective environment. Thus this hinders common web exploits and any network-based threats.


4. Compliance and Governance:


Concurrently compliance and governance is enabled through GCP. This includes leading compliance obligations like GDPR and HIPAA through GCP products Data Loss Prevention (DLP) and Cloud Audit Logs. Both data protection and harm minimization is targeted here along with meeting regulatory and policy compliance standards.


 5. Monitoring and Logging:


GCP’s Google Cloud Monitoring and Google Cloud Logging are products for keeping a strict overview of all system activities. For common weak points like user activities or system health checks, GCP has solutions integrating across all systems. Subsequently this detects any issues in the cloud in real-time.


6. Security Automation and Orchestration:


Sustaining cloud security and threat minimization happens through GCP Security Command Center and Google Cloud Security Scanner. Accordingly this keeps the GCP system healthy so computing is maintained thus freeing resources for other cybersecurity tasks.


 7. Incident Response and Recovery:


GCP’s integratable tools for cybersecurity incident response support businesses to fix problems and keep operating. For example, Google Cloud Disaster Recovery and Google Cloud Backup are integratable across the cloud. Then this delivers comprehensive incident response and recovery capabilities.


 8. Training and Certification Programs:


GCP training and certification keep professionals skilled and highly literate in all products. Currently for cybersecurity, certifications like Google Cloud Certified Professional Security Engineer carry over to businesses. Prioritizing training is a tactical integration of expertise and knowledge that delivers on cloud value while boosting the cybersecurity standards.


Key takeaway for using GCP for a best practice cloud computing security strategy:


Despite GCP trailing behind the other leading public cloud providers, their cybersecurity environment is still robust and extensive. Along with the continually expanding product range, GCP’s trust and security are established through the “secure-by-design infrastructure”. With transparency, a shared fate operating model, and ongoing security reviews, the GCP cybersecurity systems are continually advancing for customers.


Three cloud computing security usage case studies in U.S. businesses


Hiring a cloud computing company helped these organizations up their security standards and operating ecosystem. Thus we demonstrate three different case studies for U.S. businesses — one for each of the leading public cloud providers. 


 1. AWS — Panasonic Avionics Corporation


Bringing the best to in-flight entertainment, Panasonic Avionics Corporation opted for AWS. When they needed to modernize their infrastructure without compromising security, they chose Amazon’s cloud systems. Not only did AWS technology secure system data but also it supported resilient migration from their previous systems. Furthermore, they used AWS to modernize their legacy databases with scalable storage and built-in Aurora monitoring features.

 2. MS Azure — Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE)


U.S. technology giant Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) chose MS Azure for an innovative cybersecurity transformation. Because of MS Azure’s global edge-to-cloud server, they’re able to support tens of thousands of workers worldwide. Accordingly their fully cloud-based MS Azure solution is in place while endpoints are secured and patched without compromising agility. Since then they’ve freed up IT to focus on operations and sustain modernization of all business areas. Simultaneously they use Mobile Application Management for centralized, high-security bring-your-own-device culture that enhances organizational productivity. 


3. GCP — State of Hawaii


Finally, State of Hawaii made GCP their cloud go-to when reopening after the pandemic. Altogether the cloud provider helped them meaningfully and safely connect with travellers while upholding high-security data collection and tracking. Using GCP, they built a new website that supported safe tourism through scalable systems that achieve real-time data tracking. In addition to designing and building systems through GCP according to compliance and cybersecurity standards, it handles huge data volumes. Furthermore AI and ML streamline the UX for better resource management to meet stakeholder expectations of transparency, safety, and trust.


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In conclusion, using public cloud providers for business operations equips businesses for digital transformation and advances their scope for profitability. Even so, strategy is fundamentally important as Lionel Sujay Vailshery asserts for Statista. “The kind of resources offered vary by cloud provider, which is why organizations that want to migrate their data and workloads to the cloud need to develop a migration strategy beforehand.” Hence businesses that seek expert consultation can take a thorough consultative approach for their cloud solutions well before migration. To begin, a preliminary consultation with a cloud security consulting company like A3logics ensures beneficial public cloud selection. Not only does this factor in business needs including cloud computing security but also it simplifies integration like multicloud preferences. 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Is cloud computing security the same as a normal cybersecurity framework?


Overall businesses should understand that cybersecurity is an umbrella term that incorporates all parts of digital security. In detail, cloud computing security covers cybersecurity for cloud systems. When organizations of every kind are using cloud computing products, they need to maintain the highest standards of system security. Not only does this cover cloud computing security best practice but also all aspects of system security. For instance, digital hygiene, credentials management, network security, incident management, and virtual private networks. 


Does hiring a cloud solutions company enhance cloud computing security?


For the most part, any technical solution developed with industry experts like A3logics has benefits like experience and platform expertise. Specifically for cloud computing solutions, a cloud solutions company will devise a security strategy in line with needs, budget, and challenges. What’s more, this solution will be flexible and scalable so businesses are assured their systems can withstand changing cybersecurity needs. During an initial consultation businesses can learn more about the cloud solution security offering and communicate their operational needs.


How do businesses build cloud computing security best practice into their cloud migration?


When businesses are migrating to a new cloud environment, they should be prepared for cybersecurity risks. For instance, whether their data is exposed or compliance issues happening. Accordingly building best practice into cloud migration requires expert services. Though businesses with cloud certifications may have appropriate skills, external cloud solutions providers can oversee secure migration. Hence this aligns with cybersecurity policies and cloud migration best practice objectives.


How does a cloud computing security strategy change with multicloud solutions?


When businesses choose multicloud solutions — using one or two public cloud providers as well as private solutions — security environments evolve. For example, generally speaking, security infrastructure is more robust through the customized integration of public and private cloud infrastructure. Thus businesses should be prepared for evaluating both the public cloud security risks and the private provider risks. Then they can design a strategy that includes risk management for both along with cybersecurity product integration.