Organizations that choose to implement infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) strategies, be it a public or a hybrid cloud strategy, should be aware of the security challenges that must be addressed to protect their cloud-based operations and business.

Infrastructure cloud computing presents a plethora of challenges that are derived from the company's cloud resources, which are located in shared public data centers and can be accessed remotely over unsecured networks. 

Additionally, most cloud providers (e.g. AWS, Google, Rackspace, etc.) work on a “shared responsibility” model, which is where both the cloud provider and business customer must ensure deployments are properly secured. This responsibility lays squarely with business customers who must secure all operating systems and applications used over the cloud provider's infrastructure. While some cloud infrastructure providers have tightened up security, hackers have found new ways to penetrate. Lack of proper security infrastructure safeguards will leave a business' data vulnerable.

While there are many solutions available, not every company has the same security needs. Let's take a closer look at four different stages of cloud security needs.

Security best practice in the cloud

Companies in stage one use IaaS on a relatively low scale in a single data center configuration. Businesses looking to reduce costs and improve efficiency will adopt a cloud strategy that delivers computing infrastructure previously only available to large companies. These companies, however, frequently lack in-house IT security expertise. A solution that packages security best practices (firewall, secure remote access, identity-based access policies, etc.) and delivers it “as a service” is the best fit.

Scale and automate security

Stage two companies are more experienced in the cloud and often have in-house security capabilities. Adopting an external security solution is required because manual configuration cannot scale security at the same pace as the business's cloud computing power scales. Automating security helps in-house teams deal with dynamic and vast cloud usage.

When the number of virtual servers in use fluctuates, companies must be responsive.  During high or seasonal peaks, traffic can quickly escalate. When demand spikes occur, servers must be added quickly – without worrying about downtime or hackers exploiting the network. Manual configurations introduce a high propensity for error or cannot deliver at peak times. Automated security scaling can protect a company's network regardless how many virtual servers are used.

For companies with remote workers who need access to cloud servers, provisions must be in place to ensure that identity is verified, the connection is secure, and data-in-motion isn't at risk.