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Google Cloud gets new built-in security features

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Google has announced that Google Cloud users will have access to two new security features, namely native integration with the MITRE ATT&CK threat classification and response framework and baked-in protection against DDoS attacks.

Cloud Armor is Google’s brand name for its DDoS mitigation and web application firewall service. It replicates many of the techniques used in traditionally structured DDoS protection systems, including per-client rate limiting, captchas to help weed out bot requests, and machine learning to counteract Layer 7 attacks. MITRE inclusion allows users to map Google Cloud’s built-in security controls onto the MITRE ATT&CK rubric of threat classification and response planning, letting users automate certain types of security response.

Tuesday’s announcements amount to Google catching up to its competitors in terms of the security of its public cloud, according to experts, as well as appropriating some features of dedicated third-party security products into the company’s own platform. DDoS protection features like the ones introduced this week have been around for a long time—including at Google, which has long used it to protect its own computing resources.

Forrester Research principal analyst Lee Sustar said that Tuesday’s additions still don’t fully obviate the need for additional security products for many public cloud users.

“The question is whether the built-in cloud-service provider security tools are sufficient or not, and need to be augmented,” Sustar said. “Certainly, the cloud providers’ security provisions have improved in recent years, but you still generally need to add additional tools.”

MITRE is key to enterprise security

Both Sustar and Gartner vice president and analyst Patrick Hevesi stressed that the MITRE integration is an important step forward for Google Cloud, given its importance to the daily practice of security at larger organizations.

“This is one of the biggest tools that helps vendors and security operations teams map … these indicators of compromise happening, what is the attack, and what does my response need to be,” Hevesi said. “We see this as a big trend, [and] it looks like they’re also sharing their research and contributing to the [MITRE] framework, which is a great way for vendors and sec ops teams to share research.”

According to Hevesi, the new security features are unlikely to lure many new customers to Google Cloud on their own, but they should prove popular with existing users, including the education sector and any organization that’s already using Google Workspace.

“I don’t think that this is something that’s going to make someone move,” he said.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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