How Threat Research Can Inform Your Cloud Security Strategy

Published August 24, 2023 for Orca Security

As the world has wholeheartedly embraced online-first living in the wake of the last three years, our collective attack surface has increased exponentially, creating more opportunities for bad actors to exploit.

Having a cybersecurity strategy and building one are two entirely different things. The way you accomplish this will be heavily informed by your threat research methodologies. Like all things, the more tuned in you are to the cloud security landscape, the more adaptive you can become. But what exactly does it mean to be “tuned in” and how can you possibly keep up with the constantly changing world of cybersecurity while still having enough time to eat, sleep and drink the occasional espresso-based beverage?

What Is a Threat, Anyway?

One of the biggest challenges in threat research is keeping up with the rapid evolution of the definition of the word “threat” — and boy has it evolved. In just the last decade, we’ve seen the rise of the Internet of (totally insecure) Things (IoT), disturbingly convincing artificial intelligence, ransomware, data breaches at an almost global scale, supply chain attacks and the ever-present specter of advanced persistent threats (APTs).

It can sometimes feel almost impossible to keep up, especially when you remember that you still have a business to run. But, without any strategy to keep up with the latest threat research, you put yourself at risk of being too reactive when a threat inevitably does affect you. While you may be able to get by for a few years, eventually that complacency will come back to haunt you in the form of a vulnerability that you could have prevented. Stay Informed on the Latest Vulnerabilities in Cloud Security

At a high level, there are a number of great places to identify threats as they are reported. The National Vulnerability Database, run by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures database, which is run by MITRE, are excellent places to get details on many new threats as they are reported. But with thousands of new entries a month, you can often lose the signal in all the noise.

More journalistic sources, such as Threatpost, Krebs on Security and the Orca Research Pod are far more consumable on a day-to-day basis and can offer relevant information to you and your organization.

When it comes to threat research, a good rule of thumb is to identify and understand trends, and then supplement that knowledge through the use of automation and other tooling. You don’t need to be aware of every CVE in the National Vulnerability Database to understand how phishing and other social engineering attacks work — and to train your people accordingly. The same goes for implementing basic cloud security best practices. While the details of the vulnerabilities might change frequently, the trends will change a little more gradually.

You can protect against malicious links, embedded viruses, unprotected assets and other vulnerabilities now without any specific CVE in mind, as threat actors will always be looking for exploitable weaknesses. Being aware of these trends will allow you to craft a proactive cloud security strategy that can be both robust and flexible, allowing for the common threats that exist at the moment while ensuring the agility to adapt to new threat patterns as they arise.

Building a Proactive Cloud Security Strategy

The most important thing to remember about cybersecurity is that it’s not an action you take, but a practice you follow. Implementing a strong cloud security posture requires regularly assessing and updating your cloud security policies in light of new threats or not. This means being proactive in your protection strategies and planning for the unexpected. Creating an incident response plan is a great place to start, and continuing employee education and training will help embed a security-focused mindset across the organization as a whole.

There is no “one right way” to establish a cloud security strategy, but it’s a sure bet that being informed is a good move. Keeping up to date on the latest cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities through sources like the National Vulnerability Database and Orca Research Pod is a good place to start. However, proactive measures like implementing best practices, organizational training, and even bug bounties and other security policies can go a long way toward creating a well-informed cloud security posture.

Looking to develop a proactive cloud security strategy? With Orca Security, you can gain deeper visibility into your cloud environment and identify potential security risks before they become major issues. Consider getting started by requesting a demo of the Orca Security platform.