• By Maham Zaidi
  • Last updated: September 24, 2021
  • 7 minute read

The Silver Lining to Cloud Security for Law Enforcement

Cloud security best practices are designed to prevent unauthorized access to keep data in the cloud secure from current and emerging cybersecurity threats.

Organizations are transitioning to cloud-based services in record numbers to save on operational costs and IT expenses. Shifting to cloud services can also be advantageous from a cybersecurity perspective, as it’s one less component of your IT infrastructure to worry about maintaining and patching. Additionally, the providers for most business-level Software as a Service or SaaS applications and infrastructure have invested a lot of resources to focus on security for the actual platforms.

Cloud security requires the methods and technology that secure cloud computing environments against external and insider cybersecurity dangers. Cloud computing, which is the distribution of information technology services over the internet, has become a must for businesses and governments pursuing to speed up innovation and collaboration. Cloud security and security management best practices designed to prevent unauthorized access are required to keep data and applications in the cloud secure from current and emerging cybersecurity threats.

Cloud-Computing Classifications

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Cloud security varies based on the category of cloud computing being utilized. There are four main categories of cloud computing:

  1. Public cloud services, controlled by a public cloud provider — These include software-as-a-service (SaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), and platform-as-a-service (PaaS).
  2. Private cloud services, operated by a public cloud provider, provide a computing environment dedicated to one customer, operated by a third party.
  3. Private cloud services, operated by internal staff, evolve from the traditional data center, where internal staff operates a virtual environment, they control.
  4. Hybrid cloud services — Private and public cloud computing configurations can be combined, hosting workloads and data based on optimizing factors such as cost, security, operations, and access. The operation will involve internal staff, and optionally the public cloud provider.

When using a cloud computing service offered by a public cloud provider, data and applications are hosted with a third party, which marks an important difference between cloud computing and traditional IT, where nearly all data was held within a self-controlled network. Considering your security responsibility is the first step to building a cloud security strategy.

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Breakdown of Cloud Security Responsibilities

cloud responsibilty

Best cloud providers strive to create a secure cloud for customers. Their business model hinges on averting breaches and sustaining public and customer trust. Cloud providers can attempt to avoid cloud security issues with their service but can’t control how customers use the service, what data they add to it, and who has access. Customers can weaken cybersecurity in the cloud with their configuration, sensitive data, and access policies. In each public cloud service type, the cloud provider and cloud customer share different levels of responsibility for security. By service type, these are:


  • Software-as-a-service (SaaS) — Customers are responsible for securing their data and user access.
  • Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) — Customers are responsible for securing their data, user access, and applications.
  • Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) — Customers are responsible for securing their data, user access, applications, operating systems, and virtual network traffic.


Data security in cloud computing is essential to successfully adopting and achieving the benefits of the cloud. Within all types of public cloud services, customers are responsible for securing their data and controlling who can access that data. Organizations considering popular SaaS offerings like Microsoft Office 365 or Salesforce need to plan how they will fulfill their shared responsibility to protect data in the cloud. Those considering IaaS offerings like Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure need a more comprehensive plan that starts with data and encompasses cloud app security, operating systems, and virtual network traffic—each of these can also establish the potential for data security issues.

Challenges of Cloud Security

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Since data in the public cloud is being stored by a third party and accumulated over the internet, several challenges arise in sustaining a secure cloud. These are:

  1. Visibility into cloud data: In many cases, cloud services are accessed outside of the corporate network and from devices not handled by IT. This means that the IT team requires the capability to see into the cloud service itself to have full visibility over data instead of traditional means of monitoring network traffic.


  1. Control over cloud data: In a third-party cloud service provider’s environment, IT teams have less access to data than control servers and applications on their premises. Cloud customers are given partial control by default, and entrance to underlying physical infrastructure is unavailable.


  1. Access to cloud data and applications: Users may access cloud applications and data over the internet, making access controls based on the traditional data center network perimeter no longer effective. User access can be from any location or device, including bring-your-own-device (BYOD) technology. In addition, privileged access by cloud provider personnel could bypass your security controls.


  1. Compliance: The use of cloud computing services adds another dimension to regulatory and internal compliance. Your cloud environment may need to adhere to regulatory requirements such as HIPAA, CJIS, FedRAMP, FIPS, and more and requirements from internal teams, partners, and customers. Cloud provider infrastructure and interfaces between in-house systems and the cloud are also included in compliance and risk management processes.


  1. Cloud-native breaches: Data breaches in the cloud are unlike on-premises breaches in that data theft often occurs using native functions of the cloud. A Cloud-native breach is a series of actions by an adversarial actor in which they “land” their attack by exploiting errors or vulnerabilities in a cloud deployment without using malware, “expand” their access through weakly configured or protected interfaces to locate valuable data, and “exfiltrate” that data to their storage location.


  1. Misconfiguration: Cloud-native breaches often fall to a cloud customer’s responsibility for security, including the configuration of the cloud service. Research shows that just 26% of companies can currently audit their IaaS environments for configuration errors. Misconfiguration of IaaS often acts as the front door to a Cloud-native breach, allowing the attacker to successfully land and then move on to expand and exfiltrate data. Research also shows 99% of misconfigurations go unnoticed in IaaS by cloud customers.


  1. Phishing Attacks: Phishing attacks target users in masses or individually (via targeted spear phishing) to give up their credentials. Attackers send legitimate-looking emails to individuals. These emails often appear to come from an internal user or someone they know and may direct the user to a web page that resembles a known website or familiar service like Office 365. The user is directed to a fake site that harvests user credentials.


  1. Disaster recovery: Cybersecurity planning is needed to protect against the effects of significant negative breaches. A disaster recovery plan includes policies, procedures, and tools designed to enable data recovery and allow an organization to continue operations and business.

Solutions for Your Challenges:

Thinking woman in glasses looking up with light idea bulb above head isolated on gray wall background

Organizations searching for cloud security solutions should consider the following criteria to solve the primary cloud security challenges of visibility and control over cloud data.

Visibility into cloud data: A complete view of cloud data requires direct access to the cloud service. Cloud security solutions accomplish this through an application programming interface (API) connection to the cloud service. With an API connection, it is possible to view:

  • What data is stored in the cloud?
  • Who is using cloud data?
  • The roles of users with access to cloud data.
  • Who are cloud users sharing data with?
  • Where cloud data is located.
  • Where cloud data is being accessed and downloaded from, including from which device.


Control over cloud data: Once you have visibility into cloud data, apply the controls that best suit your organization. These controls include:

  • Data classification — Classify data on multiple levels, such as sensitive, regulated, or public, as created in the cloud. Once classified, data can be stopped from entering or leaving the cloud service.
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP) — Implement a cloud DLP solution to protect data from unauthorized access and automatically disable access and transport of data when suspicious activity is detected.
  • Collaboration controls — Manage controls within the cloud service, such as downgrading file and folder permissions for specified users to editor or viewer, removing permissions, and revoking shared links.
  • Encryption — Cloud data encryption can be used to prevent unauthorized access to data, even if that data is exfiltrated or stolen.


Access to cloud data and applications: As with in-house security, access control is a vital component of cloud security. Typical controls include:

  • User access control — Implement system and application access controls that ensure only authorized users access cloud data and applications. A Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) can be used to enforce access controls
  • Device access control — Block access when a personal, unauthorized device tries to access cloud data.
  • Malicious behavior identification — Detect compromised accounts and insider threats with user behavior analytics (UBA) so that malicious data exfiltration does not occur.
  • Malware prevention — Prevent malware from entering cloud services using techniques such as file-scanning, application whitelisting, machine learning-based malware detection, and network traffic analysis.
  • Privileged access — Identify all possible forms of access that privileged accounts may have to your data and applications and put in place controls to mitigate exposure.


Compliance: Existing compliance requirements and practices should be augmented to include data and applications residing in the cloud.

  • Risk assessment — review and update risk assessments to include cloud services. Identify and address risk factors introduced by cloud environments and providers. Risk databases for cloud providers are available to expedite the assessment process.
  • Compliance Assessments — Review and update compliance assessments for FedRAMP, HIPAA, FIPS, CJIS, and other applicable regulatory requirements.

Significance of Cloud Security

Video Cloud Storage

According to recent research, 1 in 4 companies using public cloud services has experienced data theft by a malicious actor. An additional 1 in 5 has experienced an advanced attack against their public cloud infrastructure. In the same study, 83% of organizations indicated that they store sensitive information in the cloud. With 97% of organizations worldwide using cloud services today, it is essential that everyone evaluates their cloud security and develops a strategy to protect their data.

Cloud security from VIDIZMO enables organizations to accelerate their business by giving them total visibility and control over their data in the cloud.

VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management System allows you to store your digital evidence in a secure cloud, on-premise, or hybrid infrastructure. It offers adaptability to pick your organization model that meets your requirements, financial plan, and consistent prerequisites. VIDIZMO will make sure to cut down costs and investments by leveraging your current assets. It will give you a command over how your data is collected and shared. You can implement your own IT and security strategies and control all parts of your proof by picking your organization model. With VIDIZMO, say hello to government cloud options for higher security and compliance, guaranteeing total security and consistency for your touchy information and proof by conveying DEMS in the Azure Government Cloud or the AWS GovCloud (US).

Recognized in IDC MarketScape*, VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS) streamlines the process of securing, managing, searching, analyzing, and sharing ever-increasing digital evidence.

Deployment Options Presented to you by VIDIZMO

  • On-Premise
  • Shared-Cloud SaaS
  • Bring Your Cloud
  • Hybrid Cloud
  • Commercial or Government Cloud

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Way Forward

A cloud-based arrangement is the absolute most ideal approach to control costs, ensure versatility, security, and consistency and convey as fast and as proficiently as could be expected. Hence, VIDIZMO offers different deployment options with secure cloud infrastructure to store sensitive digital evidence and keep it safe. The cloud-based system is the solution Law Enforcement Agencies are in search of. For almost all departments, a cloud-based solution has more pros than cons. Departments with enormous legacy IT infrastructure and the capability to maintain it may decide to keep data on-premise, often supplemented with cloud-based backup for redundancy. Maintaining a strong cloud security posture helps organizations achieve the now widely recognized benefits of cloud computing: lower upfront costs, reduced ongoing operational and administrative costs, ease of scaling, increased reliability, and availability, and a whole new way of working.

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Posted by Maham Zaidi

Maham Zaidi is Technology Content Strategist at VIDIZMO which is a Gartner recognized enterprise video content management system, to stream live/on-demand media to both internal and external audiences, on-premise, Azure or AWS cloud. VIDIZMO solutions are used by enterprises, government, local, state government, healthcare, law enforcement agencies, justice, public safety, manufacturing, financial & banking industry.

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