Cloud web security is the practice of protecting web-based applications, data, and infrastructure from cyber threats and malicious attacks. This is essential for organizations that use cloud computing services to store, process, and access their information online. It aims to provide a secure and reliable environment for users and businesses to access the web without compromising their privacy, integrity, or availability.
In 2022, 62% of the cloud computing market was shared by three public cloud providers. AWS holds 33% of the market, Microsoft Azure follows at 21%, and Google Cloud Platform or GCP has an 8% share.
Web security protects your users, devices, and wider network against internet-based cyberattacks, malware, phishing, and more that can lead to breaches and data loss. It reduces your security risk when your users accidentally access malicious files and websites through firewall inspection, intrusion prevention system scanning, sandboxing, URL filtering, and various other security and access controls.
Cloud web security benefits
1. Threat detection and prevention
Cloud web security uses advanced technologies and techniques to identify and block malicious activities and attacks on the web. It uses artificial intelligence, machine learning, behavior analysis, sandboxing, and threat intelligence to detect and prevent malware infection, phishing, ransomware, botnets, and other web-based threats.
2. Data protection and encryption
It uses encryption algorithms and protocols to protect data at rest and in transit in the cloud. Encryption ensures that only authorized parties can access the data stored and transmitted in the cloud. It can use AES, SSL/TLS, HTTPS, VPN, and other encryption methods to secure data in the cloud.
3. Access management and authentication
It uses policies and controls to manage who can access what data and resources in the cloud. This simple step will ensure that only verified and authorized users can access the cloud. Cloud web security can use identity and access management (IAM), multi-factor authentication (MFA), single sign-on (SSO), role-based access control (RBAC), and other access management and authentication techniques to verify and authorize users in the cloud.
4. Data governance and compliance
Cloud web security uses frameworks and tools to monitor and audit the usage and activity of data and information in the cloud. Data governance and compliance ensures that the organization follows the best practices and standards set for data quality, security, privacy, and ethics. Major compliances that companies should test for are ISO 27001, GDPR, HIPAA, PCI DSS, NIST SP 800-53, and other governances.
How does cloud web security work?
Cloud web security is a set of policies, technologies, and tools that protect your cloud infrastructure and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications from cyberattacks. It does this by securing communications to and from the internet while providing the control and visibility you need to ensure compliance.
Here are some of the key components of cloud web security:
- Web application firewall (WAF): A WAF is a hardware or software appliance that sits between your cloud infrastructure and the internet. It filters traffic and blocks malicious requests before they reach your applications.
- Intrusion prevention system (IPS): An IPS is a network security device that monitors network traffic for suspicious activity. It can detect and block known attack signatures, as well as unknown attacks that exhibit malicious behavior.
- Data loss prevention (DLP): DLP software helps you to identify, classify, and protect sensitive data. It can prevent data from being exfiltrated from your cloud environment, either intentionally or unintentionally.
- Threat intelligence: Threat intelligence is the collection and analysis of information about potential threats to your cloud environment. This information can be used to identify and block malicious traffic, as well as to improve your overall security posture.
- Logging and monitoring: Logging and monitoring are essential for detecting and responding to security incidents. By collecting and analyzing logs from your cloud environment, you can gain visibility into what is happening and identify potential threats.
Cloud web security is a critical component of any cloud security strategy. By implementing the right security measures, you can protect your cloud infrastructure and SaaS applications from cyberattacks.
What is cloud based web filtering?
Cloud based web filtering involves using cloud-based services to filter and control the content that users can access while browsing the web. It is a method of enforcing security policies and controlling internet usage within an organization or for an individual user. It offers several advantages over traditional on-premises solutions including scalability, ease of deployment, and the ability to manage filtering policies from a central location.
Here’s how cloud-based web filtering works:
- Content Categorization: Cloud web filtering services maintain databases of categorized websites and content, which are regularly updated. Websites are classified into different categories such as “social media,” “news,” “adult content,” “malicious sites,” and more.
- Policy Creation: Administrators or IT managers can create filtering policies based on their organization’s requirements. These policies define what types of content users are allowed to access or blocked from accessing.
- User Authentication: To apply filtering policies, users might need to be authenticated. This can be achieved through various methods, such as integrating the web filtering service with the organization’s user directory (e.g., Active Directory), using Single Sign-On (SSO), or other authentication mechanisms.
- Real-time Filtering: When users attempt to access a website, their request is intercepted by the cloud-based filtering service. The service checks the website’s category and content against the organization’s filtering policies.
- Policy Enforcement: Based on the filtering policies, the service either allows or blocks access to the requested website. If the website is allowed, the user’s browser displays the content; if blocked, the user is presented with a blocking page indicating that the content is not accessible.
- Reporting and Monitoring: Cloud-based web filtering services often provide reporting and monitoring features. Administrators can view reports on user activity, blocked websites, policy violations, and more. This data helps organizations understand their web usage patterns and assess the effectiveness of their filtering policies.
Cloud-based web filtering can help organizations achieve several goals:
- Security: Blocking access to malicious websites and content that could introduce malware, phishing attacks, or other security threats.
- Productivity: Preventing access to distracting or time-wasting websites during work hours, thereby improving productivity.
- Compliance: Enforcing compliance with industry regulations or internal policies by restricting access to certain types of content.
- Bandwidth Management: Controlling bandwidth usage by restricting access to bandwidth-intensive websites or content.
- Protection for Remote Users: Providing consistent web filtering policies for users, whether they’re in the office or working remotely.
Overall, cloud-based web filtering is a valuable tool for organizations seeking to manage internet usage, enhance cybersecurity, and ensure a productive and secure online environment for their users. Keep in mind that the specifics of cloud-based web filtering solutions may vary among different vendors and providers.
What is a cloud web security scanner?
A cloud web security scanner is a tool designed to identify and mitigate vulnerabilities and security weaknesses in web applications and cloud infrastructure. It operates in a cloud-based environment which means that it runs remotely on servers managed by the CSP provider rather than being installed and run locally on the user’s system.
This approach offers scalability, ease of use, and the ability to access the scanner from anywhere at any time.
The primary goal of a cloud web security scanner is to perform automated cloud security assessments of your cloud infrastructure. It does so by simulating various attack techniques that malicious hackers might leverage to exploit vulnerabilities and gain access to confidential information.
Some of the common security issues that these scanners can detect include:
- Cross-site scripting (XSS): Detecting vulnerabilities that allow attackers to inject malicious scripts into web pages viewed by other users.
- SQL injection: Identifying weaknesses that could allow attackers to manipulate databases and gain unauthorized access to sensitive data.
- Cross-site request forgery (CSRF): Detecting vulnerabilities that could enable attackers to perform actions on behalf of authenticated users without their consent.
- Security misconfigurations: Identifying instances where the application or web server is not properly configured, potentially exposing sensitive information or creating attack vectors.
- Outdated software: Detecting instances of outdated software components (e.g., libraries, frameworks) that might have known vulnerabilities.
- Sensitive data exposure: Identifying instances where sensitive data is being exposed or transmitted insecurely.
Cloud web security scanners provide detailed reports outlining the vulnerabilities detected along with the recommended remediation steps. These reports will help your developers and the security teams to address the identified issues and enhance the overall security posture of your cloud infrastructure.
It is important to note that while cloud web security scanners can be extremely useful for automated vulnerability assessment, they might not be able to detect all security issues and might produce false positives or false negatives. Your security strategy should include a mix of automated scanning tools, manual security assessments, and continuous monitoring.
How can Astra Security help you improve your cloud web security?
Astra Security is a vulnerability assessment and penetration testing company that provides round-the-clock cloud security assessment services to assess internet-facing assets as quickly and efficiently as possible to detect vulnerabilities.
1. Constantly Evolving Vulnerability Scanner
Astra Vulnerability Scanner is constantly updated to detect the latest vulnerabilities and can currently run 8000+ tests for the same. The scanner checks for payment manipulation and business logic errors and can scan behind logins.
The cloud web security scanner can also be scheduled to conduct scans as per the customer’s convenience.
2. Detailed Pentest Reports
Astra’s pentest reports can be downloaded in multiple formats including PDFs, and XLS. It is a detailed document that provides an executive summary of vulnerability findings with their risk level and CVSS scores.
The cloud web security report is customized to be easy to understand for all parties involved from CXOs, and CTOs to security teams.
Later sections include an overview of tests carried out followed by detailed information on each vulnerability with appropriate remediation measures.
3. Publicly Verifiable Pentest Certificates
Astra provides a Pentest Certificate which can be publicly verified by the target’s customers to ensure the validity and security standards of the organization.
The cloud web security scanner certificate is only provided upon successful remediation of all vulnerabilities and is valid for 6 months or until the next major code update, whichever is earlier.
4. CXO friendly Dashboard
Astra Pentest boasts an easy-to-navigate CXO-friendly dashboard that displays the vulnerabilities in real time.
Members of the development team can be added to the dashboard to collaborate with pentesters for quicker vulnerability resolution.
The dashboard also offers the option to comment under each vulnerability so that the development team can clear queries quickly.
Customers can also track the progress of the manual scans & ETA from the dashboard. Astra’s security analysts can set estimated deadlines and provide delivery status updates for scans.
5. CI/CD Integrations
Astra Security provides integrations with multiple project development tools & web repositories like GitHub, GitLab, Jenkins, Circle CI, and BitBucket.
It also provides integrations with project management platforms such as Jira and with Slack for easy communication and collaboration.
These integrations allow projects to be scanned for vulnerabilities during their development phase.
6. Compliance Scans
Astra offers the option to scan for specific compliances required by an organization. Compliance-specific scans provided by Astra include PCI-DSS, HIPAA, SOC2, ISO 27001, and GDPR.
It has a compliance-specific dashboard where the specific compliance can be opted for a scan. Once the scan is complete the results in the dashboard reveal the areas of non-compliance.
7. Remediation Support
Astra provides detailed steps for remediation based on risk prioritization.
POC videos are provided and collaboration with security analysts is possible within the vulnerability dashboard. Support is also provided via Slack and MS- Teams.
8. Manually Vetted Results
Results from a cloud vulnerability scan are manually vetted by expert security analysts to weed out the false positives.
These false positives can also be marked to be excluded from the subsequent scans maintaining optimal cloud web security.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a cloud web security connector?
Cloud web security connector will enable you to protect your internet traffic in compliance with the best practices for Zscaler Internet Access (ZIA).
Key benefits of the cloud web security connector:
1. Enables you to connect any internal resource to Zscaler Internet Access
2. Automated deployment
3. Easy configuration by inserting your GRE tunnel IPs
4. Full tunnel redundancy
5. Full visibility of internal IPs
6. When deployed as a HA pair, you can achieve 2 Gbps to ZIA.
What are the 4 types of cloud computing?
There are four main types of cloud computing:
1. private clouds
2. public clouds
3. hybrid clouds
4. multi clouds.
There are also three main types of cloud computing services:
1. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)
2. Platforms-as-a-Service (PaaS)
3. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
What are the three pillars of cloud security?
When developing a potent data security strategy for the cloud, it is essential to understand and properly address three pillars:
These pillars serve as the bedrock of any security solution.