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Cloud Breach Response and Containment With Illumio CloudSecure

Cloud attacks are more common and more costly than ever. According to research by Vanson Bourne, half of all breaches in the last year originated in the cloud, costing organizations $4.1 million on average.  

In a public cloud environment, where data and applications are distributed across various servers and locations, rapid response and breach containment is paramount. In fact, 95 percent of security leaders acknowledge that their organization needs better reaction times to cloud security events.  

In this blog post, learn the common attack methods threat actors use in the cloud, the importance of breach containment, and how Illumio CloudSecure can help you respond faster to breaches.  

4 common cloud attack techniques

Threat actors can be both savvy and relentless, trying every trick in the book to steal and disrupt. And with most organizations storing critical resources and sensitive data in the cloud, attackers are targeting cloud environments.  

60 percent of respondents to the Vanson Bourne Cloud Security Index said cloud security poses a severe risk at their organization.

These four techniques are most often leveraged by cloud attackers:

  • Account hijacking: Attackers may use various methods, such as phishing attacks or brute-force techniques, to compromise user accounts associated with cloud services. Once an account is hijacked, attackers can access sensitive data, manipulate resources, or launch further attacks from within the compromised account.
  • Vulnerabilities and Misconfigurations: Attackers may exploit software vulnerabilities in cloud infrastructure or misconfigurations to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data stored in the cloud. This could include personally identifiable information (PII), financial data, intellectual property, or other sensitive information.
  • Denial of Service (DoS) attacks: Cloud services can be targeted with DoS attacks, where attackers flood the cloud infrastructure with excessive traffic or requests, causing services to become unavailable to legitimate users. This can disrupt business operations and lead to financial losses.
  • Insecure APIs: Many cloud services provide APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) for interaction with their platforms. Attackers may exploit vulnerabilities in these APIs to gain unauthorized access, execute malicious actions, or exfiltrate sensitive data.

Learn how to solve the top five cloud security challenges in our guide.

Why cloud breach response matters now

The consequences of a security breach can be severe, ranging from financial losses to reputational damage — and this is especially true in the cloud. Between limited visibility, cloud security myths, and the failings of traditional security tools in the cloud, it’s easy to overlook the cloud’s most pressing security challenges. Without modern cloud security strategies, organizations face inevitable cyberattacks that have the potential to cause catastrophic damage.  

The importance of quickly responding and containing attacks lies in minimizing potential damage, preventing data breaches, and maintaining business continuity. Timely intervention can significantly reduce the impact of security incidents and limit the lateral spread of threats within the cloud infrastructure.  

Vanson Bourne’s research found that security leaders are prioritizing breach response due to increasing cloud security vulnerabilities:

  • 36 percent of cloud security threats against their organization have involved fast-changing social engineering to gain unauthorized access
  • 32 percent said ransomware and malware were a major concern in the cloud
  • 46 percent don’t have full visibility into the connectivity of their organization’s cloud services, increasing the likelihood of unauthorized connections

Importantly, over half of respondents said that Zero Trust Segmentation (ZTS) can minimize an attack’s blast radius of an attack — and 93 percent agree that ZTS is critical to cloud security. ZTS is a crucial strategy in responding to and containing attacks, offering a proactive defense mechanism to mitigate potential risks. ZTS involves applying segmentation controls to applications and workloads, limiting lateral movement.  

The majority of surveyed respondents the the Vanson Bourne Cloud Security Index agreed that ZTS is critical to cloud security.

For stretched IT and security teams who face a constant barrage of attacks, ZTS becomes a valuable ally in proactively applying security policies to quickly contain attacks. With a ZTS approach, security teams can focus on specific areas of cloud application and workload communications, reducing the overall attack surface at scale even in complex and ever-expanding cloud environments.

Illumio CloudSecure: Quick, flexible breach response in the cloud

With Illumio CloudSecure, organizations can implement proactive segmentation controls across their public cloud,. This ensures breaches get isolated from the rest of the system and contained to their entry point, giving security teams time to respond and remediate to attacks.  

Watch a demo of Illumio CloudSecure:

In the event of a breach or ransomware threat, Illumio CloudSecure allows for swift response and containment when breaches or ransomware attacks get detected. Security teams can dynamically adjust segmentation policies to isolate compromised segments, preventing attackers from moving laterally and, in turn, minimizing the risk of data exfiltration or disrupted operations. This adaptive, flexible approach to segmentation aligns with the dynamic nature of cloud environments, ensuring that security measures remain consistent even in the face of evolving threats.

Illumio CloudSecure helps security teams:

  • Get granular visibility into how applications and workloads are communicating and interacting. This provides insights that can help create proactive and precise segmentation policies that align with business requirements without compromising security.
  • Apply security controls based on contextual factors pulled in from cloud resource metadata and labels to help prepare for emerging threats and the ever-evolving nature of cloud attacks.
  • Complement traditional perimeter-based security tools like intrusion detection systems (IDSs) and cloud native application protection platforms (CNAPPs). While IDS detects potential threats, Illumio CloudSecure enforces policies that stop the spread of malware all the time, no matter if a breach has been detected or not. Illumio CloudSecure also acts as a backstop to CNAPPs, enhancing the overall protection of cloud-based applications.
  • Adopt a Zero Trust security model in the cloud, ensuring a robust defense against both internal and external threats.

Start your free trial of Illumio CloudSecure today — no software installation or credit card required.  

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Ready to learn more about Zero Trust Segmentation?