Businessman holding blocks showing digital trust in cloud services

Securing the Cloud With a Digital Trust Approach

Cloud adoption has been a top priority for many enterprises in Asia for the last two years. In Singapore, nearly nine in 10 organizations are using cloud services. Today, cloud services are at the heart of digital transformation and any IT strategy.

With more and more organizations adopting cloud services, cloud security has moved to the forefront of discussions. Properly securing identities and utilizing modern authentication methods topped the list of concerns of IT professionals, according to the Cloud Security Alliance’s annual Top Threats to Cloud Computing: The Pandemic 11 report released in June 2022.

Against this backdrop, digital trust is essential to secure the applications deployed on the cloud infrastructure. Trust has become the indispensable element for security in the connected world: for securing users, applications, servers, connected devices, digital content and more.

Ingredients for successful implementation of digital trust in the cloud

Building digital trust requires putting in place the right elements that enable individuals and businesses to engage online with confidence that their footprint in the digital world is secure.

When applications are deployed in the cloud, they require a different security footprint since the network and physical servers that these applications are utilizing are no longer under the direct control of the enterprise that has deployed the applications. In other words, validated identities, modern methods of authentication between systems, encryption of data in transit and at rest, and operational integrity of systems are critical components to understand. These factors, together with having a scalable solution that adapts to each organization’s requirements, are the essential ingredients for digital trust to be successful while deployed in the cloud. Let’s see how:

Trusted Identities: Knowing who or what you are interacting with is an important element of maintaining online security and trust. Taking a step further, interacting with valid identities—such as an organization, an individual or an Internet connected device—plays a crucial role in establishing trust in the digital world. Cloud environments are prone to malicious activities based on fake identities. Thus, having a solution that can guarantee valid identities with a high probability is a critical component of digital trust in the cloud.

Modern Authentication Protocols: The various cloud services that users have access to, such as applications, cloud storage, and other management interfaces, should utilize strong authentication protocols such as Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to ensure the most secure access. A properly developed, deployed and maintained PKI platform is capable of ensuring that connections within, and to and from, a cloud infrastructure is authenticated.

Data Encryption: Encrypting information is another critical element for building digital trust because it protects data as it moves to and from cloud-based applications (data in transit), as well as when it is stored on the cloud network (data at rest). Once data is encrypted, only intended users can leverage the private key to decrypt the encrypted data, transforming the concealed information back into a readable format. Private keys are generated and shared only with trusted parties whose identity is established and verified through PKI or some form of multi-factor authentication.

Operational integrity: The Cloud Security Alliance notes that breaches in the cloud usually happen due to poor authentication standards, weak passwords and poor digital certificate management processes. There are many attack vectors to systems running in the cloud, and if a breach occurs, it is crucial to know if a system has been compromised. If you are using a containerized solution for delivering your applications, container signing will enable you to know that the deployed container has not been modified, given that its digital signature is valid throughout the life of the container. Container signing is yet another solution based on PKI.

Scalable solution: The fifth ingredient for a successful implementation of digital trust in the cloud is having a scalable solution—one platform that is capable of managing multiple use cases such as validating users, providing secure and modern authentication protocols, and signing objects such as applications, containers, and documents. Such a platform is instrumental for any digital transformation, especially if you consider security as the core of this transformation.

To summarize, the first four ingredients enable us to know that an individual or a an Internet connected device is who they say they are, connections to and from servers on the cloud are properly authenticated, data that flows in and out of applications and while in transit and rest is encrypted, and an application deployed on the cloud has been distributed from an authentic source. A comprehensive platform such as PKI, most often administered via digital certificates, offers a way of achieving digital trust to help organizations establish trusted identity, encryption and integrity between people, systems and things. The fifth ingredient, having a scalable solution in place, enables organizations to accommodate expansion without hampering the existing workflow and ensuring that digital trust is never compromised.

Digital trust to secure the cloud

Digital trust is a necessary component of cloud adoption and overall digital transformation, enabling companies to transfer critical processes online and create new forms of inter-organization connection. And it is essential to our connected future. Companies that are strategically investing in digital trust are positioning themselves now as stewards of a secure, connected world.