Security is a major concern for most business owners using cloud services. The reason is that you are no longer responsible for securing everything within your organization right from the physical premises to the network and hardware when you move your operations to the cloud. Security is a shared responsibility between yourself and your cloud services provider when it comes to cloud deployments.
As a client, you own all security on the systems you use to connect to the cloud as well as security configuration for your firewall settings, operating systems, and network traffic. On the other hand, the CSP owns the security aspects of the application, compute, network, storage, and database services they offer. Your provider also owns the security of the infrastructure aspects and the physical layer of the cloud too.
Therefore, having an understanding of the security you own in the case of cloud services is critical if you want the data you store there to remain secure. Here are some of the things you should focus on after moving your operations to the cloud.
The Essentials of Cloud Security
1. Consider Establishing and Managing Policy and Configuration
The establishment of policies for security settings, checks, and configuration levels for all apps, systems, and workloads is not an option when using cloud services. For that reason, you need to address the issue of outdated systems. You also need to ensure that the systems you are using have the right configurations and are running in line with policy, just as is the case of vulnerability scans.
2. Prioritize Classification of Apps and Data
Identify the data and applications which your firm cannot operate without by answering the following questions.
- What data can attract fines or sanctions in the event of a breach?
- Which apps and data may cause you to lose customers, executive leadership, or stakeholders in case of a breach?
- What data can cripple your organization if there is a leakage of information?
Once you establish government-regulated data and the information your entity considers to be of high importance, you need to classify it as critical and protect the same.
3. Control User Identities and Access
Knowledge of who your users are, the applications and resources they should use to access your business systems, and their job roles is critical when establishing processes for managing your user identities. The reason is that you need to limit access to only individuals who need such resources.
As such, you should revoke access as soon as someone leaves your company for whatever reason, and also do not forget to change access when an employee moves to a new role.
Reasons Why Businesses Need Cloud Security
Management of IT infrastructure, scaling, and decreasing capital overheads are some of the benefits that organizations of all sizes enjoy through cloud computing. As much as that is the case, you cannot afford to overlook the importance of securing the cloud since almost every other entity out there runs some form of a cloud database or network.
Here are some of the reasons why firms should prioritize cloud security.
It Eliminates Weak Links and Allows You to Build Access Levels
Sometimes, companies leak data to the public accidentally, which compromises their integrity and gives their competitors an advantage. That is what happens when the security best practices in place are unreliable. The solution, in this case, is limiting data access to only those who need it. That will not only eliminate errors that result in data leaks, but it also makes it harder for hackers to infiltrate your business systems.
Protects Against Security Breaches
Since you are no longer in total control of your firm’s network infrastructure, data security on the cloud is vital. For instance, the decision to run your applications on either a public or hybrid cloud implies that your trust at that point is in the hands of a third-party services provider. For that reason, you need to ensure that your cloud computing provider understands your data security responsibility by staying on top of things.
Ensures Compliance with Regulations
HIPAA and GDPR are some of the data protection standards you cannot afford to ignore. Otherwise, you will face the wrath of regulators if you fail to observe such regulations. HIPAA and GDPR focus on the security and integrity of customer data. That suggests that you will have to answer to the regulator if there is a compromise of the client information you store in the cloud.
Legal, banking, insurance, finance, and health are some of the highly-regulated industries with exacting standards, and the high risks in these sectors cause their cloud security requirements to multiply. You also need to note that apart from damaging your entity’s reputation and brand, a data breach will make external parties hold you accountable.
Tips for Ensuring That Your Cloud Is Safe
Is my cloud data safe? This is probably one of the most common questions among those using the cloud. Cloud services providers do their best to protect your data, but they cannot do so when your information leaves the cloud to interact with other systems. That happens daily as your workers access, download, and transfer data from various devices in different locations to the people out there.
Since most security breaches are a result of human error, below are some of the things you can do to ensure that your cloud is safe.
Invest in Cloud-to-Cloud Back-Up Solutions
Any cloud application suite or platform has legitimate risks. You also need to understand that most cloud providers, including Microsoft, store the information you delete, including your Office 365 data, but only for a short duration. As such, you need to confirm this time frame with your cloud provider and if there are any fees for restoring the information they can retrieve.
Still, you can opt for cloud-to-cloud back-up solutions if your organization must comply with strict regulations or if you do not want to be liable for missing data.
Build Security Into Your Cloud-Native Containers
The best security tools start from the bottom up. If you’re using containers in a cloud-native environment, you can bake in extra security right into your application.
In addition to keeping an extra layer of protection between your app server and it’s host environment, you can use security as a code to build safety from the beginning. Tools that offer these options can also let you prepare your code for future problems (like increased users or failed hardware) right from the start. It’s a win-win.
Implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
One of the most common tactics hackers use to access your online business data is stealing credentials. That means that you cannot rely on the conventional password and username to keep your user accounts safe from online attackers. Hackers can log into all your cloud-based apps and services when they have your user credentials.
That is deployment of multi-factor authentication or two-factor authentication is recommended. As a result, your cloud applications will be accessible to authorized persons only when they need sensitive data.
Develop A Comprehensive Off-Boarding Process
Your workers should never access your firm’s intellectual properties, systems, customer details, and data when they leave your entity. Creating a systemized deprovisioning process for revoking access rights for every departing employee is advisable because they will most probably have access to several cloud applications and platforms.
Over and above being cost-effective, cloud computing is secure if you take the right precautions. You only need to follow industry best practices when selecting, installing, provisioning, and managing cloud services if you want to leverage cloud computing.