This is because the cloud, with its wide deployment and weak defenses due to its relative novelty, is a perfect target for cybercriminals looking to steal data or take over entire systems. In 2021 and beyond, prioritizing cloud security is nonnegotiable.
What is cloud security?
Cloud security encompasses the policies, controls, procedures, and technologies that work together to protect cloud-based applications and systems. And with most businesses implementing remote work setups, having tight cloud security is paramount.
Not only is there more data than ever in the cloud, but there are also more devices and accounts accessing cloud-based systems. This combination gives cybercriminals more reasons and opportunities to target the cloud. In fact, in the first quarter of 2020 alone, attacks on cloud infrastructure rose by 630%. If you boost cloud security, you can prevent data breaches, data loss, and downtime.
How to boost cloud security
Taking the following steps can better protect your data in the cloud.
1. Improve access management Hacking remains the most successful way to infiltrate systems, so it’s critical that you protect your data against this threat. The best way to do so is by having an effective identity and access management strategy, which defines users’ roles and access privileges and limits the number of people who may access sensitive data.
This often involves implementing the principle of least privilege, which means you grant users only the minimum permissions necessary to access the files, apps, and data that they need to get their work done. This prevents too-broad permissions that can be exploited by hackers and too-narrow permissions that can disrupt workflows.
2. Constantly monitor cloud activity Constant cloud monitoring is necessary to ensure that security protocols are being followed. Invest in cloud detection and response (CDR) solutions that enable IT teams to uncover security issues, such as insider threats, access misuse, and account compromise. This is a must, even if your cloud provider has already set up cloud defenses of their own.
Cloud security is a shared responsibility, so make sure that your organization also has its own monitoring and alerting tools that identify security threats in domains that are under your control. You should also regularly scan for infrastructure vulnerabilities, check hardware and software for new and known threats, and install patches as soon as they become available.
3. Encrypt data and devices Encryption protects the data itself, not just the environment that it is in. It does so by using advanced algorithms that make data unreadable to users who don’t have the proper decryption key or authorization, thus rendering data useless even if it gets stolen.
Ask your cloud provider about their encryption process, and make sure that it complies with regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).
Additionally, you should encrypt every device that connects to the cloud, including all on-site infrastructure and the gadgets your staff use for remote work. This prevents unauthorized access to your devices and narrows down entry points that malicious entities can exploit.
A fully informed workforce can better protect your data. Set up relevant and up-to-date cybersecurity awareness training that will educate your staff on proper cyber hygiene and equip them with skills to identify, manage, block, and report threats. This way, they will better understand their roles in data protection, minimize human error that leads to data compromise, and follow protocol on reporting security incidents.
5. Partner with a cloud specialist Attackers will check for cloud misconfigurations and vulnerabilities, such as insufficient identity and access management, unsecured interfaces, and limited cloud usage visibility. Even a small oversight like failure to deactivate an old account can let cybercriminals in.
Partnering with a cloud expert like SimplyClouds ensures proper and secure cloud infrastructure configuration while reducing the complexity of cloud management. These two benefits are especially helpful to organizations using a multi-cloud or hybrid cloud environment. Our team also regularly audits and validates cloud resources and proactively monitors your data and access logs to quickly identify, flag, and respond to security incidents. Our team will also suggest ways to boost cloud security when needed.