As the saying goes, “You can’t protect what you can’t see.” That bit of wisdom couldn’t be more on point when you’re talking about enterprise data in the cloud, which is multiplying by leaps and bounds. It’s hard enough to keep track of on-premise data along with associated threats and attempted breaches. When you’ve offloaded data to the cloud, how closely are you keeping watch to make sure it stays safe – especially when you’re using services like Amazon Web Service (AWS), Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud, that you don’t control?

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The solution is making sure that you can indeed see what you need to protect, in the form of greater visibility into cloud resources. Ideally, this cloud visibility spans not just cloud platforms, but also security information and event management (SIEM) systems, endpoint detection and response (EDR) systems, and more. Here are six reasons why cloud visibility is a must-have for building a best-in-class cloud security program.

1) Visibility reduces risk. Staying on top of threats requires ongoing vigilance – and a proactive, not reactive, stance to detecting and mitigating threat activity. Visibility into apps and data in the cloud can give organizations the ability to see emerging threats and prevent incidents, reducing vulnerability and lowering risk.

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2) Visibility helps simplify cloud management. As organizations are increasingly building complex systems of applications and data on cloud platforms, sometimes across multiple cloud platforms, cloud visibility becomes more important in managing them effectively. Security teams can search for threat patterns simultaneously across multiple platforms as they layer apps and infrastructure into them, instead of manually searching across each one.

3) Visibility speeds up reaction time to threats. Cloud visibility is the first step in reacting quickly to issues. By matching visibility with automation, security teams gain speed, data-gathering capabilities, and the ability to launch proactive threat hunting campaigns across all environments, rather than individually.

4) Visibility supports threat hunting. With cloud visibility, security teams can better examine attacker threat attributes and behaviors. Threat hunting paired with cloud visibility allows organizations to proactively weed out security threats, and allows companies to re-examine threat profiles whenever a new vulnerability such as an app or new capability is added.

5) Visibility drives business value. Security issues can affect business value by causing downtime and damaging brand trust. With cloud visibility, organizations can see where malicious traffic is coming from, detect indicators of compromise (IoCs) signaling potential issues in customer-facing apps, and ensure uptime and continuity.

6) Visibility is key to maturing your security program. By using metrics and insights gleaned from cloud visibility to demonstrate its benefits to boards of directors and other decision makers, security teams can gain budget for new security program enhancements, and take part in strategic decision-making – all of which help mature security.

Stopping threats may be the top-line benefit from greater cloud visibility – but wait, there’s more: The improved visibility can support decisions about where data should live, how different data types are exposed to varying levels of risk, and where to shore up compliance. By using visibility to baseline, tune, and prioritize cloud security monitoring investments, teams can boost performance and power new business opportunities.

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