In recent years, more and more organizations have been making the shift, either fully or partially, to cloud-based solutions of all kinds—data storage, computing, and infrastructure, just to name a few. This transition is important and can have many benefits for an enterprise, especially one that lacks the on-premise facilities to carry out those functions. However, making use of the cloud, for all its advantages, can come at the cost of security. It is vital for businesses to ensure that their data and networks are safe and secure, so the convenience of cloud solutions isn’t overshadowed by security issues.
Importance of Cloud Security
Cloud security is vital for many of the same reasons as network security, or application security. The bottom line is if there are any business operations, data, accounts, or other important enterprise assets being stored in or managed by the cloud, then all of those things are only as safe as your cloud security.
A good number of the risks associated with poor cloud security are also concerns for on-premises facilities, but can become even more pressing and more daunting when the cloud is involved. These risks can never be eliminated entirely, but there are still ways to mitigate them.
One major risk of inadequate cloud security is that an unmanaged attack surface presents more opportunities for bad actors to slip in. Human error is also a serious concern, as in all areas of cybersecurity, because users will never be infallible. The cloud makes use and access easier for employees, which also makes their mistakes easier to make. Misconfiguration can occur with the use of multiple cloud solutions with different settings and default configurations. All of these vulnerabilities and more can lead to data breaches or cyberattacks and do a significant amount of damage to an organization if they are not effectively managed or mitigated.
Common Challenges to Cloud Security
Due to the unique nature of cloud-based solutions and cloud security, there are also unique hurdles to overcome when attempting to protect your cloud castle.
This can mean that cloud security often simultaneously has higher stakes and is more difficult to attain than securing non-cloud assets. It is often difficult to determine where the responsibilities of the cloud service provider end and those of the organization begin, when it comes to security. Combined with the increased attack surface, often spread out between multiple cloud solutions, this can make it difficult to even tell what areas need to be protected.
A significant obstacle to properly securing your cloud castle is the fact that cloud security requires a specific set of skills and expertise that can be difficult to find, especially in today’s market. Without the internal ability to manage cloud security, an organization and all of its cloud-based assets are at risk. Smaller organizations may not even have the in-house expertise to know where to start, let alone the resources to sufficiently mitigate cloud security risks. Larger businesses may have full security teams but still lack the specific skills necessary for cloud security in-house; they also have to contend with the burden of managing access and identity controls for thousands of employees, which makes it more difficult to prevent account compromise.
Cloud Security Tips and Best Practices
Many of the best ways to secure your cloud castle boil down to layering security from several angles so as to decrease the chances of any one vulnerability leading to a significant security event.
Using a private cloud can be a big step in the right direction if possible, but might not be feasible for all organizations due to cost and scale. It is important to encrypt sensitive data and secure all networks, devices, accounts, and applications so that any cloud access points are effectively covered. Businesses are also recommended to employ data loss prevention solutions that integrate “traditional endpoint data loss prevention with advanced incident detection capabilities.”
Monitoring cloud activity is necessary to catch unauthorized users or suspicious activity that may lead to a data breach or other attacks. Identity and access management and the principle of least privilege can also help to ensure that nobody is accessing any network areas or sensitive data that is not required for them to perform their function within the organization. Other tips include backing up data, using secure passwords, and investing in sufficient cybersecurity training for all employees. On the whole, it is important to manage exposure and access to protect your cloud castle.
Cloud security is one of the most pressing cybersecurity concerns for businesses today, and it can be truly catastrophic if not effectively managed. Because cloud solutions cover such a wide range of services and areas, as you employ more cloud solutions, it becomes all but impossible to separate cloud security from the fundamental security of your business. While many organizations would agree that this is a significant topic of interest for their long-term wellbeing, comparatively few are actually currently taking the steps to ensure that their cloud castles are secured. Building a robust and layered cloud security program should be a priority for many security professionals and teams, despite its difficulties.
PJ Bradley is a writer on a wide variety of topics, passionate about learning and helping people above all else. Holding a bachelor’s degree from Oakland University, PJ enjoys using a lifelong desire to understand how things work to write about subjects that inspire interest. Most of PJ’s free time is spent reading and writing. PJ is also a regular writer at Bora.
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