How to Build a Secure Cloud Architecture

With businesses increasingly migrating their IT infrastructures to the cloud, cloud security architecture (also known as cloud computing security architecture) is becoming paramount in guaranteeing the safety of workloads. Cloud security is the art of protecting critical information, application, and infrastructure operating or existing within the cloud. A cloud security architecture constitutes frameworks that outline how companies approach cloud security for the type of cloud model(s) they operate and the form of solutions/technologies they intend to employ to build a secure environment. Basically, a cloud security architecture involves the multiple security layers, resources, platform design and structure, and best practices that exist within the cloud security solution.

Challenges facing cloud security

Often, organizations are faced with numerous challenges associated with cloud security such as identity and access problems, insecure APIs, misconfiguration, compliance risks, and an invisible control plane. First, cloud systems are not forfended by default, and inexpert or ignorant employees can easily create resources and abandon them. Second, whereas cloud vendors provide sturdy identity and access management (IAM) solutions, cloud users are required to configure them properly and apply them consistently and appropriately. All workloads in the cloud have unique APIs, which can be useful or extremely dangerous if insufficiently secured. Unsecured APIs can allow hackers and threat actors to take over the entire environment. 

Third, cloud environments feature a large number of moving resources like storage buckets, containers, compute instances, serverless functions, etc. Misconfiguration of any of these elements can allow bad actors to access them, infiltrate data and destroy critical systems. Forth, when a cloud provider fails to comply with all the relevant compliance requirements, they endangering their users’ data and applications. Lastly, whereas cloud vendors are responsible for protecting their infrastructure, they do not offer information regarding the flow of data r internal architecture, implying security pundits are flying blind. 

Best practices to building a Secure Cloud Architecture.

Building a secure cloud architecture involves leveraging the top information security practices including protocols published by reputable cloud vendors, compliance standards set by relevant authorities like the Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), as well as rules, policies, and guidelines constituted by regulatory organizations like the Center for Internet Security (CIS). The security architecture need also to consider the shared responsibility between an entity and an IaaS (infrastructure as a service) vendor, which defines how the entity should execute its role in protecting data and workloads stored in the vendor’s cloud platform. Here are some of the tips for building a secure cloud architecture:

#1: conducting due diligence 

Before moving their data and application workloads to the cloud or enlarging their cloud deployment, establishments need to carefully scrutinize the cloud provider to ascertain their security and resilience capabilities as well as the specific services/applications they intend to hire. The due diligence process requires them to:

  • Define security and handiness standards based on facts from other providers in the industry.
  •  Determine cloud security best practices the provider adopts and their impacts 
  • Try out the various security capabilities offered by the provider like encryption, logging, or IAM.
  • Learn how the cloud vendor meets users’ compliance obligations and the specific standards it’s certified for.
  • Understand the particulars of the shared responsibility model to comprehend the specific security elements you’re responsible for.
  • Assess whether the available security resources are apt for the current cloud landscape.

#2: prioritize data

Businesses migrating to the cloud should avoid applying stringent security measures to all workloads. Some data requires more security than others; they should determine which data categories require to be protected against breaches and compliance infringements. Often, this is achieved by embracing automated data classification tools (engines) designed to identify sensitive content across data storage, networks, endpoints, and the cloud. This enables the organization to establish the appropriate security controls before moving to the cloud.

#3: Invest in Employee Training and Bring Their Loud Utility Out of the Shadows

Just because an organization has contracted a cloud service provider does not imply its staff will comply with the set regulations by default. Often, employees do not consult with their IT personnel before using ordinary cloud applications/services like Dropbox or web-enabled emails. A company’s internet proxy, firewall, or Security information and event management (SIEM) logs are great resources to measure the shadow utility of the cloud by staff members. They offer a comprehensive spectacle of the specific services used and by which person and ascertain the risks they pose to the organization’s data.

Also, the organization should find out all the possible untrusted devices and persons that access its legitimate cloud resources to prevent valuable data from escaping to unmanaged devices. Device security verification measures should be installed for anyone accessing the organization’s trusted cloud service/application.

#4: secure cloud endpoints

Users should deploy endpoint protection solutions with multi-layered protection such as next-generation anti-virus (NGAV), Check Point Harmony Endpoint user and entity behavior analysis (UEBA), endpoint detection and threat response (EDTR), and Cylance Protect among others. Cloud endpoints include buckets, storage volumes, compute instances, managed applications/services like AWS RDS, etc. These endpoints require a high degree of visibility as they change more frequently compared to on-site endpoints. Users should use endpoint protection tools to protect vulnerable assets in their security posture.

#5: comply with cybersecurity obligations and regulatory authorities

 The cloud architecture platform of your choice must be one that helps you abide by all the regulatory requirements necessary in your industry including PCI DSS, LGPD, GDPR, PIPEDA, HIPAA, CCPA, and POPI among others. You should understand the resources and services provided by your cloud vendor and the specific third-party tools used to create cloud structures that have been validated to be compliant.


As you move into the process of building a robust, secure cloud architecture, you should address the security policies, compliance protocols, and security best practices of your organization. You should learn and understand your roles as provided in the shared responsibility model. Based on the specific cloud services that your use, you should invest time and skills to develop an effective security architecture. Also, you should engage your cloud security vendor instead of conducting a sole creation of a tailored cloud security architecture on your own. This way, you’ll construct a rugged, effective, and secure cloud security architecture for your establishment.

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