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Dec 12, 2023

Cloud Protection and Cloud Threat Assessment Go Hand-In-Hand


Threat actors looking to infiltrate cloud environments rarely resort to brute force to get what they want. Rather, they look for vulnerabilities. They look for unpatched holes and security weaknesses they can exploit. As such, they also look for cloud codebases they believe are easy targets. What does this say about cloud protection?

It says that even the best efforts to protect a cloud do not offer maximum effectiveness if enterprises are not routinely addressing cloud threat assessment. If security teams are not continually scanning the cloud landscape looking for the same vulnerabilities threat actors are searching for, the cloud environment is bound to be compromised at some point.

Routine threat landscape assessment is something Hillstone Networks recommends for every enterprise. We recommend scanning for threats at every level, with obvious emphasis on uncovering critical vulnerabilities so that they can be patched immediately.

Assess the Cloud Quarterly

Routine threat assessment should occur on a daily basis. In fact, solutions like XDR and NDR are continually looking for threats moment by moment. But deep, full codebase assessments should be conducted at least quarterly. An entire audit of an enterprise’s security assets, services, and resources is called for.

Full codebase assessments leave no stone unturned. They show no favoritism or preference. If more organizations conducted them quarterly, perhaps there wouldn’t be so many unpatched vulnerabilities that linger for years on end.

Scanning Configurations

Misconfigured security tools are one of the biggest weaknesses in cybersecurity. From a cloud threat assessment standpoint, regularly scanning and analyzing configurations is a must. In addition, all new cloud assets and security tools should be scanned for misconfiguration and vulnerabilities prior to deployment.

While scanning for misconfigurations, exposed systems and services will likely be revealed. They should be addressed according to priority. The goal is to ensure that every vulnerability is effectively addressed before the next scan.

Test, Test, and Test Again

Deep codebase assessments and configuration scanning reveal vulnerabilities. But how do you know that patches are successful? By conducting penetration testing operations. Hillstone Networks recommends ongoing penetration testing designed to accommodate any conceivable threat.

Penetration testing is especially important in production environments where unpatched vulnerabilities from years earlier have finally been addressed. It is imperative for understanding whether the applied patches are effective against more modern threats.

Prioritize Patches and Upgrades

Underscoring everything in cloud threat assessment is prioritizing patches and upgrades. Once again, remember that threat actors are constantly searching for unpatched vulnerabilities. On too many occasions, they find vulnerabilities that should have been exposed and addressed years earlier. They take advantage of those vulnerabilities to breach clouds and do their dirty work before anyone notices.

Whether a vulnerability is considered critical or not, it should not go years without a patch. Even the most minor vulnerabilities can become huge problems if threat actors figure out how to take advantage of them.

It’s a Matter of Priorities

Study after study demonstrates that enterprises are not giving enough attention to assessing vulnerabilities, scanning configurations, and conducting penetration testing. Identified vulnerabilities go unaddressed because they are not a priority. The end result is that cloud environments are more vulnerable than they should be. Do not let this be the norm for your organization.
Make regular cloud threat assessment a priority. Don’t wait for a major security breach to do something about what should have been addressed earlier. By making threat assessment a priority, you are taking the fight to threat actors instead of waiting for them to come to you. If Hillstone Networks can help, we are more than happy to do so.