Cloud computing refers to the domain of computer science which provides on-demand services and resources, like data storage, networking facilities, scalability, load balancers, and more, to end users. One of the cloud service providers is GCP (Google Cloud Platform), and as the name suggests, it is owned by Google.
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What is Google Cloud Platform?
There are various cloud providers in the market, like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, IBM cloud, and many others. One of the major cloud service providers is Google Cloud Platform or GCP. Let’s have a look at what GCP is.
- GCP is a cloud computing service provider. It provides various infrastructural and associated services for building, managing, and deploying your applications over the web.
- Applications deployed over the web using GCP services are easily accessible from every part of the world. The one condition is, you must be connected to the internet.
- GCP was first launched on 7 April 2008 by its parent company Google. GCP is written in CPP, Java, Python, Go, and Ruby.
- GCP is preferred by many reputable tech giants like Airbnb, Snapchat, Paypal, and the list goes on.
- GCP has a massive network of servers, tools, and data centers which portrays its true potential for handling vast amounts of data.
- Scalability, reliability, affordability, and security. These are a few of the most important features of GCP. In this blog, let’s focus on GCP security.
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What is Google Cloud Security?
Cloud security refers to cybersecurity policies or best practices used in cloud environments to protect applications, the associated data, and their infrastructure from various cyber threats.
- Cloud security, in particular, works to secure data and networks from internal and external cyber threats.
- It also includes access management, data governance, data compliance, and disaster recovery.
- Cloud security covers the different ways to integrate various policies made, procedures to follow, and technology to assure data protection from various cyber threats.
- This provides users with complete control over their privacy, access management, and authentication.
- Cloud Service Providers (CSPs), like GCP, have adopted a shared responsibility model, which states that adopting cloud computing security is the responsibility of both the cloud provider and the users.
Why is GCP Security Important?
GCP acts as a third-party tool to which you entrust your data, making it one of the most sensitive sectors of the web. Even large IT businesses offload much of their burden of storing data on Google’s cloud.
- The sheer amount of data stored on cloud platforms makes it a sensitive sector of the web, which acts as a honey pot for malicious coders over the web.
- If this sector is breached, it can cause significant damage to users in various ways.
- It becomes the responsibility of data holders to protect the integrity and confidentiality of data. The importance of GCP’s security comes into play here.
- Google has a 6-layered security infrastructure around its data centers which blocks physical access to the servers.
- GCP provides strong end-to-end encryption using highly optimized algorithms. This ensures that the user’s data is not accessed by unauthorized personnel.
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Security Risks in Google Cloud
No one wants their data to float through unauthorized channels, and even the data hubs of GCP are prone to cyber-attacks.
In fact, 60% of cyber-attacks are initiated by the user itself. Let’s take a look at the different scenarios which can increase the vulnerability of data in GCP.
- Misconfiguration of Cloud Buckets – There are several advantages to cloud computing in terms of scalability and affordability for the users. With the appropriate security measures in place, it is easier to monitor and maintain the cloud system and its peripherals. However, if cloud security is configured incorrectly, it allows hackers to access your data, which can result in a variety of issues, including financial losses.
- Multi-Factor Authentication not Enabled – Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is widely used by organizations to secure their cloud infrastructure against cyberattacks, but not all organizations do them properly. The dilemma arises from the fact that multi-factor authentication is implemented from the user’s side. In fact, it is one of the most important user-side security components. Hence, it is vital that MFA is implemented correctly.
- Poor Access Management – Public internet connections may be used to directly access cloud deployments, making it easier to do so from any place or device.
- Google Account Takeover – The risk of account takeover is possibly the most serious yet least recognized Google cloud security threat. Because they are so difficult to detect, Google account takeovers are especially dangerous. It’s doubtful that an account takeover will be detected by the built-in Google cloud infrastructure security. This is because account takeovers sometimes include the use of stolen or purchased login credentials, which makes them appear like legal account logins.
- Data Breach in Google Cloud – The possibility of a data breach is one of the most serious events that can affect Google’s cloud security. A data breach in your Google cloud apps can happen in diverse ways. A data leak is most often the result of a simple human mistake, possibly from the user or the employee. Bad coding by developers is also a very reason for a data breach as hackers exploit these vulnerabilities to gain access to the system.
Google Cloud Platform Security Tools
GCP is the jack of all trades, covering every aspect of your cloud computational needs. In order to counter the threats to security, Google had developed many tools to ensure that the data stored on its platform remains safe.
- Google Cloud IAM – Google Cloud Identity and Access Management or Google Cloud IAM is used to provide granular access control to your cloud infrastructure. Its main function is to specify who can access the resources.
- Google Cloud KMS – It is referred to as Google Cloud Key Management Service. This service allows you to manage your cryptographic keys. KMS performs three types of tasks: the creation of keys, rotation of keys, and destruction of keys.
- Google Cloud Identity – Here, we use Google Admin Console while accessing this service. This is used by the users to manage the security and associated features of the cloud applications and peripherals. With Google Cloud Identity, users can enable multi as well as single sign-on authentication.
- Google Access Transparency – With Google Access Transparency, you can see almost real-time log data that shows when and why Google’s internal IT professionals entered the environment. IT workers often access the environment when responding to support inquiries or working to restore service.
- Event Threat Detection – GCP offers near real-time event threat detection capabilities by monitoring your cloud logging stream. This helps to safeguard your cloud assets against various cyber risks like malware, crypto mining, data exfiltration, DDos, and brute force. It is offered by the premium tier through the Security Command Center.
- Google Cloud Security Scanner – Google Cloud Resource Manager helps you to manage and organize your cloud resources. As a user, you can use these services to manage access controls from various users and also IAM policies through multiple groups of resources.
Google Cloud Platform Security Best Practices
GCP is a secure, scalable, and dependable cloud computing platform. However, security is a big risk with any cloud platform. Let’s explore some top tips to protect your GCP environment from unauthorized access.
Access Management: It implements strong access management policies, such as multi-factor authentication, role-based access control, and IP whitelisting to control and monitor access to your GCP resources.
Encryption: Use encryption for all data in transit and at rest. GCP provides several encryption options, such as Google Cloud Key Management Service (KMS) for encryption keys, and Google Disk Encryption for persistent disk data.
Network Security: Use firewall rules and Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs) to restrict network access and define network boundaries. You can also use Cloud VPNs to securely connect your on-premise network to your GCP resources.
Auditing and Monitoring: Regularly audit and monitor your GCP environment using tools such as Stackdriver and Cloud Logging to detect and respond to potential security incidents.
Data Backup and Disaster Recovery: Regularly back up your data and have a disaster recovery plan in place to ensure business continuity in case of any security breach.
Regular Security Assessments: Regularly assess your GCP environment using tools such as Google Cloud Security Scanner, to identify and remediate security vulnerabilities.
Compliance: Ensure that your GCP environment complies with industry and regulatory standards, such as PCI-DSS, HIPAA, and SOC 2, by using appropriate security controls and services.
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Like its competitors, GCP offers many services but GCP stands out because of its comprehensive features. With over 48% of the total workload in the domain of the cloud, GCP is the second largest cloud service-providing platform. Learning more about GCP and getting hands-on experience will surely help you in the IT sector.
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