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How deep scanning protects your data in the cloud

Ali Khan
Blog Author

Ali Khan, Field CISO for ReversingLabs.


Organizations need to look beyond traditional approaches for protecting their data in the cloud. Here's how deep scanning's modern approach reduces risk. 

While public cloud service providers offer solid security for their infrastructure, it's up to their users to protect what they upload to these systems. That can be problematic for many organizations, especially those with IT departments grounded in on-premise ways of handling data.

That's because the cloud is fairly new to most enterprises. In contrast to on-premise solutions, the cloud is a software-defined platform. The network, application, and security layers are an all in one software-embedded solution. That creates a level of complexity and information overflow that produces a lot of misconfiguration and risk, especially if there's a dearth of cloud skills within an organization.

Adversaries are taking advantage of that lack of security engineering skills in the enterprise space and exploiting the speed to market that businesses are demanding for technology solutions for consumers.

Traditional on-prem IT pros are able to test and deploy each appliance in their closet, in their data centers, iteratively. With the cloud, these "closet huggers" are confronted with what's essentially a large software package in an environment that they don't have access to.

They don't have the luxury to test every single feature and function, and roll them out iteratively. They lose the opportunity to isolate risk. They're also losing the advantage of data isolation. When working in the cloud, data no longer lives exclusively in an isolated, on-prem database. It can be on the edge, in multiple instances, and in applications.

Here's why organizations need to go beyond traditional solutions if they want to protect their data in the cloud, including popular cloud file share services. 

1. Traditional file share security solutions drop the ball

Cloud antivirus (AV) solutions and endpoint detection and response (EDR) offerings do not have enough depth and breadth to find advanced threats in multi-layered applications, as well as multi-gigabyte files that power cloud applications and services. Organizations that rely only on these legacy security solutions will not be fully protected from cloud-based threats, and could suffer major data breaches as a result.

Traditional antivirus and EDR solutions don't have the depth of knowledge to understand user behavior in the cloud. They focus on user interaction with an application. What's needed is an understanding of user behavior in an environment. 

They also focus on malware. But threats can come from goodware and badware. Traditional solutions will look at file types that are known to be bad, but to maximize system protection, all file types need to be scrutinized. 

"Good" files can be a source of bad behavior on a system. For example, a Microsoft Excel file would appear as a good file to a traditional security solution. But adversaries can embed an object into that file which will produce bad behavior. 

A file being good or bad is something that could make the difference between winning or losing a million-dollar deal.

2. Cloud security challenges abound

Deep scanning is designed to address the challenges faced by security teams in an environment populated with multi-layered applications and multi-gigabyte files. It can accommodate the elastic infrastructure of the cloud by applying algorithms not just at the data layer, but at the rest layer, at the network layer, at the sharing layer—anywhere it can be determined how a file is behaving and how the network is behaving with the file.

Speed, accuracy and breadth of analysis are hallmarks of deep scanning. The technology's architecture allows it to scan large amounts of data quickly. That's important when dealing with the high storage amounts found in something like an Amazon S3 storage bucket.

The technology can also address large numbers of file types — close to 5,000 are currently supported and more are continuously added — so it's unlikely IT teams will be left in the dark by a file that can't be analyzed because it's in an unrecognized format, or that a file's threat status will be incorrectly classified. 

Deep scanning, through the use of machine learning models, can provide comprehensive and accurate threat classifications to avoid false positives and negatives. Inaccurate threat classifications are the bane of security teams, causing them to waste time and money on alerts for threats that aren't threats at all.

3. Get peace of mind for Amazon S3 security

Through the use of deep scanning, organizations can better protect their Amazon Web Services (AWS) environment. A lot of adversaries live on cloud infrastructure, so they understand AWS really well. They know how to exploit open Amazon S3 buckets and do deeper scans to find out what's open. When the cloud was built, it was built to be super convenient for users, but that meant it was also super convenient for adversaries, too.

What makes S3 buckets so convenient is that they're available "out of the box." Because they're so easy to use, a lot of organizations use them as their primary source of data storage. That can increase the security risks to organizations because it's very easy for S3 buckets to proliferate. Many organizations lose track of many of the S3 buckets they've created, which leads to orphaned buckets on the internet full of data.

With deep scanning, organizations finally have a way to meet the security challenges posed by their AWS cloud file shares and storage without interfering with the major benefits of the cloud, such as accelerated development of applications, improved collaboration, and higher business productivity.

Multi-layered apps require deep scanning

Today, many organizations have complex, multi-layered applications, which host a string of multiple parent-child file relationships, continuously interconnected with one another. This great complexity found in multi-layered applications can potentially lead to threats. Most traditional solutions cannot properly decompose a layered application to properly inspect it for security threats, leaving organizations with cloud-based services vulnerable.

With deep scanning's ability to evaluate large amounts of data quickly, you can leverage the cloud and control risk. That's essential for services like Amazon S3.

Learn how ReversingLabs Cloud Deep Scan protects cloud file shares that are critical for your business. Cloud file shares enable communication and information sharing with customers, partners and internal lines of business, i.e., legal, HR, and finance. With ReversingLabs Cloud Deep Scan, you have visibility into your cloud environment, with fast classification and synthesized data so IT and SOC  teams can prioritize threats for remediation.


Explore RL's Spectra suite: Spectra Assure for software supply chain security, Spectra Detect for scalable file analysis, Spectra Analyze for malware analysis and threat hunting, and Spectra Intelligence for reputation data and intelligence.

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