Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Is Cloud Security Part of Cybersecurity?

The short answer: yes. Cloud security is a category of cybersecurity the way an apple is a category of fruit. All apples are fruit; not all fruit is an apple. The definition of cloud security is generally something along the lines of:

Cloud security is a branch of cybersecurity dedicated to securing cloud systems from both internal and external threats.

If you were looking for the short answer, there you have it. Cloud security is a part of cybersecurity. If you want to know why, or how the approach to cloud security differs, read on.

What does cloud security cover?

Cloud security covers a wide range of processes and technologies used to secure cloud systems. This includes:

    Identity management
    Network security
    Infrastructure-level security
    Application-level security
    Data security
    Governance and threat protection

Identity management refers to the process of authenticating and authorizing identities. It’s about verifying who can access your data and how. Popular forms of identity management include multi-factor authentication and directory services such as Azure Active Directory. According to Microsoft, “Many consider identity to be the primary perimeter for [cloud] security. This is a shift from the traditional focus on network security.”

Network security refers to the process of protecting your resources from unauthorized access via network traffic controls. With network security, your aim is to ensure you only allow legitimate traffic. In cloud security, your focus is on limiting connectivity between virtual networks when possible.

Infrastructure-level security refers to security measures taken to protect your entire cloud infrastructure, including policies, applications, technologies, and controls. One of the key areas here revolves around implementing antimalware software and virtual machine (VM) best practice.

Application-level security refers to the protective measures surrounding information exchanged in collaborative cloud environments, such Microsoft Teams, Office 365, or shared Power BI reports.

Data security refers to cloud admins’ ability to secure data through encryption or virtual private networks (VPNs). Encryption is one of the best ways for enterprises to secure their data while VPNSs are extremely popular among consumers and remote workers.

Governance and threat protection refer to how you identify and mitigate incoming threats. This covers one of the most important elements of cloud security: user awareness and training. To secure your cloud, you need to ensure your cloud users are up to date on the latest security protocols and org-wide policies. After all, user error accounts for up to 95% of cloud breaches.

What does cybersecurity cover?

Cybersecurity covers all activities focused on defending computers, servers, mobile devices, digital systems, networks, and data from malicious attacks. It’s a much larger area of digital security that includes:

    Data security
    Identity management
    Network security
    App and software security
    Data retention
    User education

You’ll notice that cloud security and cybersecurity tread a lot of the same ground. That said, cloud security is not just “the same thing as cybersecurity, but with cloud.” Cloud security is a unique area of cybersecurity that has grown exponentially in the last decade. There are some key differences that affect the way security admins approach their role.

What’s the difference between cloud security and cybersecurity?

Cloud security inherently requires buy-in from both the cloud vendor and the cloud buyer to ensure the system is secure. On the buyer end, this means defining your organization’s relationship to the cloud. Buyer considerations include whether you’re using a cloud-native or hybrid system and whether you want to invest in Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). You also need to ensure you trust the vendor provisioning the cloud system. After all, because the storage is off-prem, it’s up to the vendor to secure their system.

Cloud systems are centralized and rapidly scalable in a way that requires you to regularly ensure you are implementing security best practices. All your data is in a single location, from harmless files like handover documentation to business-halting information about sales and projections, accessible 24/7 from anywhere. This means you need to invest in data security systems to avoid unauthorized or accidental access.

Cloud systems also scale more quickly than previous data storage systems. This emphasizes the importance of training not only for users but for your network admins. They need to ensure they are up-to-date on the latest security protocols. It’s why we at MAQ Software regularly reassess our security principles and are certified with ISO/IEC 27001 for information security management and ISO 27018 for cloud security.


According to Forbes, by 2025, half of all the world’s data will reside in a public cloud. Cloud security is here to stay, a permanent part of the cybersecurity landscape. If you want to learn more about how we can help you secure your cloud while still reducing your average monthly costs, check out our cloud migration and modernization hub.

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