Cloud Security Tools

Complete guide to
cloud security tools

Cloud security tools are crucial to establishing strong security posture across cloud environments.

Learn the fundamentals regarding cloud security, different types of solutions, benefits, and best-in-class applications with our cloud security tools resource.

What is cloud security?

Cloud security is a vital concern for all businesses, no matter the size or industry. It encompasses security monitoring, workload protection, relevant permissions, real-time malware detection, network security, authentication protocols, and other best practices. In short, everything required to guard sensitive data, applications, and an organization’s overall cloud infrastructure.  

Cloud computing is integral to modern business processes. The average organization hosts over 100 SaaS applications using cloud service providers like AWS or Google Cloud. 

Larger enterprises often have multi-cloud environments, simultaneously relying on several providers and juggling cloud applications depending on scalability, cost-effectiveness, and specific advantages (i.e. AWS users have broader access to cloud assets). 

The serverless approach is favored by a growing number of organizations and has numerous advantages, but it also complicates cybersecurity compared to traditional on-premise networks. 

Using cloud security tools goes both ways; the concept relies heavily on a shared responsibility model. Organizations must understand that cloud providers only safeguard underlying cloud infrastructure, not the individual SaaS apps running on the cloud platform. 

AWS and Google Cloud, for example, invest heavily to protect physical data centers, servers, and network components from security threats. They leverage cloud security tools like firewalls, access controls, and automated threat detection systems to shield foundational cloud infrastructure from cyberattacks. Additionally, these providers supply APIs that allow organizations to seamlessly connect workflows and applications with the wider ecosystem. 

But the buck stops there for cloud providers. Organizations must take responsibility for the security risks associated with deploying SaaS applications on cloud networks. Some of the most common areas to consider are misconfigurations, data breaches, insider threats, insecure APIs, third-party security risks, and malware attacks. 

This is where cloud security monitoring tools are indispensable. Organizations must leverage several types of cloud security tools to ensure maximum protection, ranging from Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) to Identity and Access Management (IAM). 

These help with vulnerability management, cloud workload safeguarding, general network security, incident response, and other security measures.

The different types of cloud security tools

Cloud security tools are wide-ranging, with each category focusing on different cloud-based security controls or assessments. We’ll run you through the basics below: 

  • Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) – Cloud security assessment tools monitoring cloud environments for security misconfigurations, vulnerabilities, and potential chinks in an organization’s armor. 
  • Cloud Vulnerability Management – Cloud security assessment tools offering targeted and more technical insights into potential vulnerabilities within cloud environments. These applications scan cloud resources to help organizations discover problematic security issues like erroneous settings, outdated software, or misconfigurations.      
  • Cloud Detection and Response (CDR) – Cloud security monitoring tools focusing on real-time threat detection, investigation, and remediation. CDR tools are like virtual watchtowers, continuously scanning for potential security threats. 
  • Identify and Access Management (IAM) – Broad IT security tools monitoring user identities and access management controls. IAM applications ensure only authorized users can access specific cloud apps or databases based on assigned permissions. 
  • Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management (CIEM) – Cloud security tools enhancing access privileges for identities (users and services) across an organization’s entire cloud infrastructure, including hybrid cloud and public cloud deployments. CIEMs enforce secure access principles and build on the IAM base layer, enabling more precise auditing and a clearcut Zero Trust strategy. 
  • Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) – Cloud security tools managing and controlling access to various cloud services. A CASB acts as a security checkpoint, enforcing security policies and enhancing cloud visibility from a security perspective. 
  • Data Security Posture Management (DSPM)  – Vital cloud security tools for compliance and data loss prevention. DSPM applications leverage cloud data protection processes to prevent breaches by identifying, classifying, and protecting sensitive information. This is extremely important for complying with data privacy regulations like Payment Card Industry (PCI) guidelines, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA). 
  • Cloud Workload Protection Platform (CWPP) – Cloud security solutions maintaining visibility across an organization’s cloud workloads and applications. These cloud security tools protect databases, containers, and compute nodes, often using AI-powered behavioral analytics to highlight unusual activity.
  • Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) – Cloud security tools furthering IAM capabilities by assigning access to users based on their roles within an organization (i.e. DevOps and marketing teams would have different clearances). 
  • Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) – Cloud security assessment tools offering a holistic overview of security data logs from various firewalls and applications across an organization’s cloud environment. This information creates a bigger picture, helping SoC teams track every stage of the cloud security lifecycle.
  • Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR) – Vital cloud security tools automating routine security tasks and workflows like vulnerability patching and report generation. SOAR applications streamline incident response, reduce human error, and allow security teams to focus on more complex tasks.

The benefits of adopting cloud security tools

Organizations can take advantage of numerous benefits when leveraging the various types of cloud security tools listed above, including: 

  • Enhanced visibility and control – Cloud security monitoring tools provide unified dashboards and comprehensive reports, generating real-time cloud environment insights. This optimizes visibility and control, helping organizations monitor user activity, identify suspicious behavior, and safeguard cloud services like IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. 
  • Reduced attack surface – Adopting cloud security tools minimizes the number of potential entry points for would-be attacks. Features like RBAC restrict user permissions, while CIEM identifies and removes excessive privileges, limiting the damage a compromised account could cause. 
  • Optimized regulatory compliance – Cloud security management service providers help organizations ensure maximum regulatory compliance by leveraging DSPM tools and data encryption to protect sensitive information. This is extremely pertinent for businesses in industries like healthcare, where HIPAA is a mission-critical regulatory concern. 
  • Improved PaaS security for DevOps – Cloud security tools empower DevOps teams to build and deploy secure applications more efficiently on PaaS platforms. Features like vulnerability scanning integrated into the development pipeline and automated security checks can identify and address security issues early in the development lifecycle. 
  • Streamlined security scalability – Cloud security tools often use the SaaS model, meaning they scale automatically as cloud environments grow. This streamlined scalability means organizations needn’t worry about investing in additional hardware or software infrastructure to cope with increasing demand.
  • Open Source integration – Many cloud security tools offer integrations with popular open-source security frameworks, allowing businesses to leverage existing open-source tools alongside a cloud security platform. This provides flexibility and cost-effectiveness for organizations already invested in open-source security solutions.

The best cloud security tools

Understanding which cloud security platform performs the best for the categories further up the page is fundamental. These applications often cater to more than one specific cloud security use case, so don’t take the list below as gospel. Organizations could garner more cost-effective protection by using one platform for all categories. However, if you want a best-in-class approach for each security consideration, here are the main vendors to consider: 

  • Best for CSPM – Wiz 
  • Best for Cloud Vulnerability Management – Tenable Nessus 
  • Best for CDR – Arctic Wolf 
  • Best for IAM – see Okta pricing
  • Best for CIEM – see Crowdstrike pricing
  • Best for CASB – see Lookout pricing
  • Best for DSPM – Varonis
  • Best for CWPP – see SentinelOne pricing
  • Best for RBAC – OneLogin
  • Best for SIEM – Splunk
  • Best for SOAR – Chronicle

Manage your cloud security tools with Vertice

Cloud security tools are essential, but managing the scope of solutions can be daunting. We’re here to help. 

The Vertice platform facilitates better cloud optimization and cloud security tool management with unified dashboards, real-time reporting, and strategic SaaS procurement. We use pricing benchmarks derived from information on what other companies are paying for similar services to negotiate directly with vendors and get you the best price. 

Head to the SaaS purchasing platform page for more information.

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