Cloud Security Best Practices every business must implement

Cloud Security Best Practices

As more and more organizations opt for cloud computing worldwide, a need has arisen for cloud security best practices.

Since cloud services rely on the internet, there are several ways for cybercriminals to target them.  Presented below are some cloud security methods and best practices you can employ to ensure your service is always safeguarded.

What are the common Cloud Security Threats?

Once you know what challenges threaten your cloud security, you can then take steps to mitigate the risks with best practices.

Although numerous security issues must be dealt with long term, below are the most urgent areas that must be addressed immediately, significantly as organizations increase their remote setups.

Related: Cloud computing security issues and challenges

  • Cloud Leakage and Misconfigurations: Data can sometimes leak out of the cloud and onto the internet.

In many cases, this is most frequently due to a misconfiguration in cloud storage buckets, which is regarded as the most severe danger to cloud security and the leading cause of cloud-based data breaches.

The buckets are unprotected or unencrypted. When someone visits a bucket, it is frequently not adequately configured or left open, causing data to leak.

  • Data compliance violations: Maintaining regulatory compliance is a significant challenge during cloud adoption.

With growing legislation from organizations such as HIPAA, CCPA and GDPR, strict policies must be understood and maintained to ensure that the data held in a cloud is always secured.

  • Data breaches: If a cloud is breached, the consequences can be catastrophic. Cybercriminals will then be able to access and seize confidential data and use it for whatever purpose they see fit.

A data leak is every company’s worst nightmare. It leads to the compromise or loss of consumer information, intellectual property, and personally identifiable information (PII) of employees, which harms the company’s reputation and can result in financial loss.

  • Insider Threat: Your company’s worst enemy can sometimes be found within. The threat could be purposeful or unintentional.

Some of the other cloud security issues, credential theft, and misconfigurations could result from insider attacks, all of which could result in a data breach.

They may be transferring corporate data from corporate clouds to shadow cloud formats on their own devices.

  • Operational disruption: A growing number of cyberattacks consist of DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service).

DDOS attacks are where the enterprise and data centers are overloaded with illegitimate incoming traffic, overwhelming the server and resulting in downtime and outages.

These cyberattacks can seriously disrupt the operations of your business while leading to a significant loss of revenue.

Cloud Security Best Practices

Cloud brings flexibility to the enterprise ecosystem, a feature that organizations need the most during the current situation.

However, while adopting the cloud, organizations must also devise a robust security plan around its usage. Implementing security practices in advance significantly reduces cybersecurity and regulatory compliance risks.

Cloud computing has altered the way businesses operate their IT infrastructure. Here are the essential cloud security best practices any organization should consider when moving to the cloud or seeking to improve its current cloud security posture.  Overlooking any of these practices could lead to a security disaster.

1. Maintain Access Control and Data Deletion Measures

Credential theft is becoming more common as an attack method since anyone with the proper credentials can access the cloud environment without triggering any red flags. No one should be able to access data stored in the cloud unless they’ve been given permission.

By maintaining access control, you’ll manage all the individuals who enter the cloud and assign specific privileges and access measures for different parties, preventing low-level users from accessing the same information as higher-level administrators.

It is also essential to establish data deletion measures. When a company migrates from one cloud to another, it might be necessary to delete a client’s data when you’re no longer working with them. The enterprise must develop strict deletion measures which will remove the data safely while remaining in compliance.

Deploying identity and access management (IAM) tools to monitor users can be crucial to search for unusual login behavior. Training on cloud security awareness is also beneficial. Employees should understand how to maintain their credentials and avoid sharing or reusing passwords securely.

2. Use Endpoint Security

Endpoint security protects the devices held by end users, including mobile devices, laptops, tablets, and desktops. Endpoint corporate networks must always be protected so that these devices can safely connect to them. Because they function as an access point for multiple cloud processes, cybercriminals will exploit them if given the opportunity.

However, remaining compliant with the latest security regulations and developing procedures for accessing the data with greater fluidity can improve your operations.

An example of this is implementing BYOD or Bring Your Own Device regulations, where employees must always use personal devices for modifying or accessing cloud data since these require sufficient security measures to prevent hackers from corrupting or stealing data.

Another example is using VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) when using public Wi-Fi to access cloud accounts.

3. Install an Intrusion Detection System

The first step in stopping a cyber-attack or security breach is to detect it in advance. An intrusion detection system will continually monitor corporate and cloud networks to detect and impede unauthorized access.

If an effort is made to compromise the system, they will automatically alert the security administrator, which allows for additional mitigation solutions. Additionally, these systems will take actions of their own such as blocking access to the information source.

The advent of AI (Artificial Intelligence) has further reinforced this phenomenon. This is because it will automatically interpret each user’s actions accessing the cloud and collect knowledge regarding the data types that employees most frequently access.

Therefore, if a new user manifests unusual activities, the system will then flag them as a possible malicious actor, which stops them from gaining access to more requests. This mitigates the risk of cybercriminals taking the identity of authorized users.

Finally, intrusion detection will reduce the number of false positives which are generated. The system uses these false alarms for intrusion alerts, but false positives may occur due to users being given new assignments or roles, which might be confused with suspicious activity.

4. Combine Data Encryption with Disaster Recovery

Encryption must always play a key role in your cloud security plan. All the data which is held in cloud storage must be encrypted, especially during transit. Institutions must regularly check with cloud service vendors to ensure that their encryption is always up to date.

However, threats to your organization aren’t limited to just hackers and cybercriminals. Depending on your location, you might also have to contend with natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, or tsunamis.

Establishing and maintaining a business continuity plan with disaster recovery measures will minimize the blow, allowing you to quickly recover the backup data held in secondary locations without disrupting ongoing business operations.

Encryption is also one of the best types of protection against data breaches. While a breach could This will continue to happen, but the data will not be jeopardized. Cloud micro-segmentation will not prevent a data breach, but it will restrict the quantity of data exposed.

Regular audits and reviews provide assessments of potential hazards and might prioritize the most sensitive data.

5. Scrutinize and Select Vendors Carefully

Most cloud services will work diligently to maintain security measures for attracting additional clientele. However, not all these vendors are equal in that regard. Some claim to have the industry’s best protection merely for marketing purposes, but their security schemes are poorly implemented in reality.

For this reason, CISOs (Chief Information Security Officers) must provide support in scrutinizing potential vendors to determine which is truly secure. There are cases where institutions need vendors that maintain security protocols against threats specific to their industry.

When considering a particular vendor, evaluate their compliance level across multiple standards, and they should also be able to demonstrate their compliance certifications. A certified provider is one that meets every audit requirement.

Additionally, cloud vendors must prove that they can provide 24/7 availability for networks and data, and they should always have numerous backups.

6. Train Employees and Run Penetration Tests

If employees are inadequately trained, they might inadvertently become the greatest threat to the cloud. This is because cloud misuse, even if done out of ignorance or negligence, might enable malicious actors to gain entry. This is why enterprises must invest time and resources into training employees to use the cloud in a safe manner.

Despite this, security gaps might still appear from time to time. If security administrators fail to identify and address them in time, you can be sure that cybercriminals will take notice and exploit them.

For these reasons, many cloud services recommend regularly performing penetration tests, which are designed to find and seal security holes. Running these tests regularly will help you discover security holes before the bad guys do.

Keeping Cloud Security Best Practices in Mind

As cloud computing grows more popular and distant workers rely on it for network access, security concerns will grow, and new issues will develop. Putting security first in cloud adoption will make it easier to meet those difficulties rather than reacting to them after harm has been done.

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