When your business shifts to cloud computing, it relies on externally maintained tools, freeing you from the hassle of software management and allowing a focus on your area of expertise. Deloitte’s study showed that small and medium businesses utilizing cloud technology grew 26% faster and earned 21% more profit. However, cloud migration has its drawbacks, one significant issue being the potential oversight of fundamental procedures.
This oversight often occurs in a “shared responsibility model” with cloud service providers (CSPs), where teams might wrongly assume that CSPs will handle all security aspects. In reality, securing data and workloads remains the company’s responsibility. Generally, the configuration of cloud security is still the company’s task. This article outlines key steps to secure your cloud environment, starting with understanding the risks involved.
Risks of Cloud Computing:
Flexera’s 2022 State of the Cloud report highlights security as the primary concern for 85% of companies surveyed. Cloud security setup differs markedly from securing physical data centers. Many cloud security breaches begin with configuration errors, leading to vulnerabilities.
Misconfigurations, lack of runtime protection, and human errors can expose your systems to data theft. Attackers might infiltrate server applications, implant scripts that capture sensitive user data, and transmit it to malicious actors.
Cloud threats have evolved, including complex ransomware attacks where hackers inject harmful code into your cloud infrastructure. Recovering from such attacks is challenging and expensive; Sophos’s 2022 report noted the average recovery cost to be $1.85 million.
Our team, in collaboration with Tenesys clients, recommends these essential practices:
1. Identify Security Needs and Plan Accordingly:
Determine the types of data you’ll store and their security risks. Different data types, like open-source materials versus EU patient medical data, have varying security needs and legal implications.
2. Implement Multi-Layered Protection with MFA:
Use multiple authentication methods, including strong passwords and apps like Google Authenticator. Consider location-based authentication and secure email for one-time passwords.
3. Control Cloud Data Access:
Adhere to the principle of least privilege, granting access only as needed. Pay extra attention to permission changes when employees move between departments.
4. Monitor Cloud Infrastructure and Respond to Threats:
Employ 24/7 monitoring and real-time incident response. Regularly conduct penetration tests to identify and address vulnerabilities.
5. Utilize Cloud Provider Safeguards:
Implement access control through user and device authentication. Consider hardware tokens and services like AWS IAM or Azure AD for managing access.
6. Maintain Control Over Your Data:
Understand the limitations of relying on service providers and the implications of using higher-level services without control over underlying resources.
7. Secure Cloud Connections:
Encrypt data transfers and storage in the cloud. Set up VPN connections for employees to ensure data security.
8. Comply with Data Security Regulations:
Adhere to GDPR and other sector-specific legal requirements for data storage and access.
9. Regularly Test Security Measures
Keep systems and applications updated. Regular testing ensures effectiveness and relevance of security measures.
10. Prepare a Security Incident Response Plan:
Develop a thorough plan for responding to security breaches, ensuring that all departments know their roles and procedures are practiced, not just theoretical.
Incorporate Regular Security Awareness Training for Employees:
Mistakes made by people still pose a big risk in keeping cloud systems secure. It’s crucial to regularly train our employees on the right ways to handle things, how to spot threats, and what to do when they come across a problem. These training sessions should involve pretend email scams, workshops on keeping passwords safe, and updates on the newest trends in keeping things secure online. By making a culture where everyone is aware of security and its importance, we can reduce the chances of mistakes and make sure that everyone on the team is alert and takes action when they notice possible security issues.
Adopt a Proactive Approach to Cloud Security with Advanced Analytics:
Harness the capabilities of machine learning and AI to swiftly identify and address security threats in real-time. Advanced analytics offer foresight, enabling your team to recognize and address potential weaknesses before they become targets. It’s crucial to consistently examine and interpret security logs and patterns to gain a deeper understanding of your security position and make ongoing enhancements. By integrating these technologies into your cloud security approach, you not only boost protection but also gain a competitive advantage in terms of technological progress and readiness.
Cloud security is a dynamic and multifaceted aspect of modern business operations that demands continuous attention and adaptation. By incorporating these 12 best practices, businesses can greatly enhance their cloud security stance. It’s crucial to bear in mind that ensuring cloud security is not a one-off job; rather, it’s a continuous effort that encompasses technology, human resources, and established procedures. Consistent updates, training programs, and a proactive attitude towards security are imperative to guarantee that your company stays shielded from new and evolving threats. As the field of cloud computing continues to progress, staying well-informed and adaptable in your security approaches will be essential to effectively safeguard your digital assets in the ever-changing digital landscape.