Cloud environments are inherently less secure than on-premises environments for several reasons. For one, since cloud environments are managed by third-party providers, businesses may not have the same level of visibility into their cloud as they do with an on-premises environment. This makes it more difficult to detect and respond to threats.
The cloud is also more susceptible to attacks simply because it is more accessible and there are more entry points for attackers to exploit. And as businesses increasingly move their operations to the cloud, security becomes an even bigger concern. Data breaches, Denial-of-Service attacks, phishing, and malware are just a few of the most common threats to cloud security that organizations should protect against.
One of the most important things to understand is that cloud security is not solely the responsibility of the cloud provider. Businesses also have the duty to secure their data and applications in the cloud. The cloud provider will provide some security measures, but it is up to the business to ensure that their data is thoroughly protected.
Fortunately, businesses can turn to a range of solutions and services that will enable them to secure their data in the cloud. If you’re looking to strengthen your cloud environment security, here are seven tips to follow.
1. Restrict access to sensitive data
Role-based access control (RBAC) allows administrators to specify which users have access to certain resources at the account, container, or object level. This means admins can restrict who can access sensitive data.
RBAC follows the principle of least privilege, which states that users should only have the minimum amount of access necessary to perform the tasks related to their job. This way, if a user's account is compromised, the attacker cannot gain full access to the rest of your system.
2. Enforce strong passwords and password policies
Passwords are your business’s first line of defense against any unauthorized access. Enforcing strong passwords (i.e., at least eight characters that are a mix of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters) is a must. Your business should also have strong password policies (e.g., password expiration guidelines) and use two-factor authentication (2FA). 2FA adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to enter another authentication factor apart from their password.
3. Strengthen endpoint security
Strengthening endpoint security is critical for businesses using cloud services because endpoints are often the weakest link in any security system. To protect endpoints, establish policies and procedures for securing devices. This includes enforcing the use of antivirus and anti-malware software on all devices.
If you have a remote or hybrid workforce, these policies should include rules specific to this working arrangement, such as rules for remotely connecting to the company network or for using employees’ own devices for work.
On top of these, use a mobile device management (MDM) solution to remotely manage and secure mobile devices, including regulating what data users can or cannot access. Using an MDM solution will also allow you to better enforce your password policies, as well as wipe devices if they are lost or stolen.
4. Use strong encryption
Encryption is a critical component of cloud security because it helps protect data in transit and at rest. When data is encrypted, it is transformed into unreadable code that can only be decoded by users with the decryption key. This makes it much more difficult for unauthorized individuals to access sensitive information.
Most cloud providers offer some form of encryption, but it’s important to make sure that it meets your organization’s security needs. When evaluating encryption options, consider factors such as the type of data being encrypted, the level of security required, performance impacts, and ease of use.
5. Isolate critical infrastructure
By keeping your most sensitive data and applications separate from the rest of your environment, you make it easier to monitor and control access. You also reduce the areas that will potentially be affected in case of a cyberattack.
Isolating critical infrastructure can be done by using a separate virtual LAN (local area network) or by physically isolating the servers.
6. Develop a comprehensive data backup and disaster recovery plan
A solid data backup and disaster recovery strategy will ensure that if your data is compromised or lost, you have a way to recover it and resume operations. There are a number of different ways you can back up your data, so it’s important to find the method that works best for you. One popular option is to use a cloud-based backup service, such as Amazon S3 or Google Cloud Storage.
7. Train your employees on cloud security
It’s crucial that your employees know how to keep sensitive information safe. Train your employees on how to properly use and access cloud-based resources and data, and educate them on how to spot phishing emails and other social engineering attacks to minimize human error that can compromise cloud security.
Also, empower your teams by giving them the tools and knowledge they need to protect themselves online. Encourage them to report any suspicious activity or attempts to access sensitive data as well.
By following these tips, you can improve the security of your business cloud environment. However, it's important to keep in mind that there is no such thing as perfect security. As long as there are people with malicious intent, there will always be security risks. The key is to stay vigilant and constantly update your security measures to stay ahead of cybercriminals.
To ensure that you’re implementing a multilayered security strategy that mitigates known and emerging threats, get in touch with a Cutting Edge IT expert today.