Cloud Security comprises the technologies and methods to protect cloud computing systems from cybersecurity threats. This article discusses the best practices to ensure that your cloud-based data and apps are secured.
What is Cloud Security?
As organizations strive to enhance their businesses and global reach by using cloud computing, cloud security and the related best practices are imperative to combat the existing and future threats to protect data residing inside the cloud. Additionally, for businesses whose business-critical data are on the cloud, cloud security is of utmost importance.
Why do we need Cloud Security?
Cloud computing has completely transformed today’s business and technology. Over the past decade, there has been a massive surge in the usage of cloud computing worldwide. Today, it is unheard of for a professional business to choose on-premises IT infrastructure over cloud-based computing services.
Cloud technologies are accessible through an internet connection, which means that users may use them from the convenience of their own homes or the comfort of their own offices. That said, cloud services are used to store and manage the organization’s sensitive data. This makes such data vulnerable to security threats.
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Understanding Problems in Cloud Security
While cloud usage has increased in recent years, security concerns have continued to rise. Listed below are three critical issues that must be addressed, particularly in this pandemic when businesses are planning to expand their remote work arrangements.
- Data breaches – A Cloud Data Breach is a security failure resulting in accidental or purposeful data loss like any other data breach. Regardless of the cause, including improper setup, hackers may access sensitive data stored in the cloud if the cloud’s security is compromised. This might lead to unplanned outages and system downtime, thus affecting business continuity.
- Data security and compliance violations – Regulatory compliance violations are one of the most critical challenges that businesses worldwide face. Therefore, organizations should have stringent governance policies to combat such challenges and ensure that data security in the cloud hasn’t been compromised.
The Solution: Best Practices for Securing Data in the Cloud
This section talks about some of the best practices that can help secure your data in the cloud.
Data security should be the topmost priority, so you should adopt stringent measures to keep your data in the cloud safe from intruders. To obtain the best possible data security, start by identifying the data that contain the most sensitive information. It would help if you had strong security in place to protect your sensitive data.
It would be best if you did not depend solely on the data encryption techniques used by your cloud provider. Even though the encryption provided prevents unauthorized users from accessing the data, since the service providers have access to the encryption keys, they may decode the data at their discretion. Therefore, implementing comprehensive access control requires robust encryption techniques and appropriate public key infrastructures.
Implement Endpoint Security
You might often have several users from different geographical regions access cloud resources through a variety of devices. In addition, when a significant portion of the workforce works from home, organizations must regularly revisit and upgrade their user endpoints. They can do this by implementing and updating firewalls, anti-malware, intrusion detection systems, access control systems, and other measures.
A loophole may develop anywhere in your cloud infrastructure, including your data center. The inability to identify and address these security vulnerabilities means that your organization is leaving the door open for cybercriminals to infiltrate your cloud deployment. Many cloud service providers will enable you to conduct penetration testing to identify and address these security gaps. However, it is essential to ensure that these checks are carried out regularly to detect any gaps that might have developed in your infrastructure.
Train your Employees
Often the most severe security threat to your cloud infrastructure might come from inside your organization. Your employees’ abuse of the cloud environment – whether through carelessness or a lack of understanding – may expose your system up to malicious actors trying to penetrate your computer system. Your organization should educate the employees on the best security practices and guidelines. All this will help you prevent and prepare for handling internal security threats while also planning for any external security threats.
Take Advantage of Data Encryption
When you store data on the cloud, you must take proper measures to ensure that the data is appropriately safeguarded and secured. A cloud environment should enable data encryption mechanisms to and from the cloud to protect data in transit. Ideally, you should encrypt any data stored in the cloud or transit over the internet.
The use of encryption should be a vital component of any organization’s cloud security strategy. Each cloud service provider should have comprehensive policies and procedures that outline how they safeguard the data held on their cloud servers; your business should be aware of these policies and procedures before migrating any data to the cloud. To determine what encryption rules are available, organizations should contact the cloud service provider they want to work with.
Create and Maintain a Safe List
Your business should consider defining the security solutions that are required to safeguard data stored in the cloud. For example, an organization can maintain a safe list of all services that the employees in the organization are entitled to access. Creating a safe list allows a company to define each employee’s data to see and manipulate. In other words, a comprehensive safe list can help you create rules for your company that outlines who has access to what cloud services, how they are permitted to use them, and what kinds of data can be stored in the cloud.
Making people aware of the data they can use and share via cloud platforms leads to more efficient data management since everyone is aware of the information they can use and share. A safelist offers a clear description of the security procedures that should be followed while dealing with cloud-based data and apps. It also guarantees that an employee is aware of the data allowed to be processed via the cloud environment.
Define Usage Policies
You don’t want anybody else to gain access to the information saved in your cloud unless they have been granted permission to do so. The implementation of access control rules enables you to govern the users who try to access your cloud environment regularly. Similarly, you may give specific rights and access privileges to different users. As a result, a developer will not have the same access privileges to the data stored in the cloud or services running there as an administrator.
Even though companies establish a corporate plan for safely utilizing cloud accounts, employees often tend to use the clouds without adhering to the policies that have been set. The monitoring of their usage actions, as a result, is an essential component of ensuring cloud security. Monitoring gives a detailed image of the services or resources that a particular employee has access to and the patterns of use that they exhibit. Users who engage in questionable cloud use activities may be denied access to cloud data and apps to prevent security threats from being introduced into the cloud.
Cloud Security Considerations Summary
In its most basic definition, cloud computing is a system that consists of a network of remote servers that are connected. Since the cloud environment is evolving rapidly, businesses must regularly review their security policies to ensure they align with the current security threats. Another important point worth mentioning here is that to successfully implement security measures to secure sensitive data residing in the cloud, your organization should foster a culture of awareness as well.