Over the past year, several businesses have accelerated their digital migration plans by adopting cloud services and strategies. While the shift to the cloud environment has helped organizations function remotely, it has also exposed them to major cloud security risks.
Most small-scale businesses still use their on-premises security controls. Some have slightly adapted them to suit their cloud environments. But, such half-baked security measures aren’t fully up to pace to offer optimal protection in the current cloud security landscape.
- How serious are the cloud-security risks? According to Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report, 2020 was the first year when external cloud assets of businesses were more commonly targeted by cybercriminals than on-premises assets. The total number of cloud security breaches and incidents across the Western world reached record highs.
- How expensive are the cloud security threats? According to a recent poll, companies will need to spend $2.47 million on average over the next 12 months to close security gaps in their cloud environments.
- What is the biggest cloud security risk in this year? In a recent poll, 64% of corporate professionals claimed data loss is the number one cloud security concern. Ransomware is also a top threat as such Cyberattack threats can quickly bring organizations to complete halts.
71% of organizations in the West currently use hybrid (multi-cloud) cloud strategies. While hybrid cloud approaches offer perks like easy integration of apps, business continuity, etc., they also open critical security gaps.
Leave these gaps open for too long, and your company may experience data leakage, unnecessary downtime, and other security risks. It’s vital for modern-day businesses to be “incident-ready” at all times, meaning companies must implement well-defined cloud security strategies.
Here are four critical cloud security tactics every business must implement in 2021 to protect their cloud environments from security threats –
- Start Automating Cloud Functions
Cloud automation is the process of using code to simplify cloud operations. Companies must invest in cloud automation testing to strengthen their cloud management capabilities. Automate certain cloud functions so that when potential problems arise – they’re flagged and addressed automatically.
Here are three cloud functions you can automate to instantly improve your operational efficiency –
- Automated Server Management: Automation is a lifesaver when servers fail. Temporary standby servers are automatically updated. Workloads are instantly shifted to other locations to keep things running.
- Automated Incident Response: Preventive security controls can’t eliminate all potential data theft risks. Setting up an automated cloud incident response strategy means your company can make faster responses to security-related incidents.
- Automated Software Updates: Replacing end-of-life devices and old software tools with outdated security tools is vital. Even more vital is regularly checking for updates and applying extra security patches whenever they become available. Automating this process with software tools can help businesses save a lot of time.
- Invest in the Right Technology Stack and an Expert Team to Manage those Technologies
Having antivirus programs or localized internal security processes won’t protect your cloud infrastructure from security breaches. Without the right technology stack, it’s impossible to understand cloud usage and key security risks.
Businesses must invest in technological stacks for threat detection and containment activities. Your cloud monitoring tech stack should be able to –
- Identify and categorize regulated data so that companies can understand how their sensitive data is being shared by cloud participants. It’s okay to store sensitive data in the cloud. But, you need the right tools to monitor who accesses this data, where it goes, etc.
- Set up permission systems on all files and folders in the cloud environment. The tools should be able to track user roles, locations, device types, etc., at all times.
- Uncover harmful behavior of careless employees and third-party cyber-attackers.
Start this process by auditing your cloud configurations for encryption, network configuration, and identity/access management. Then, understand the most exploitable weaknesses in your cloud infrastructure. Employ a skilled cloud security team (in-house or outsource) that can efficiently address these threats and –
- Ensure end-to-end cloud security monitoring.
- Create and manage a comprehensive cyber threat intelligence database.
- Help installs efficient security monitoring systems.
- Conduct threat modeling based on real-time threat intelligence whenever suspicious activities are detected on the cloud.
Outsourcing cloud management responsibilities is the most secure and the most flexible option for business owners new to the cloud. Such service providers prevent security risks and costly downtime by patching all exploits as and when they happen.
- Create a Dedicated Privileged Access Management Strategy
Privileged accounts on cloud systems are user accounts that have more “privileges” than the average user. These accounts can install/remove software, upgrade cloud configurations, etc. That’s why privileged accounts are the most vulnerable to security threats.
Cybercriminals know that compromised ‘privileged accounts’ will grant them unfettered access to the company’s IT infrastructure. Unmanaged privileged accounts are the leading cause of on-cloud data breaches.
Companies must implement a Privileged Access Management (PAM) strategy before attackers gain administrative control over their ‘privileged’ cloud accounts. According to a recent Gartner survey, by 2020, 90% of organizations will implement dedicated PAM strategies.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of organizations currently lack the PAM technology and au fait support needed to implement PAM strategies. Here are some primary PAM practices that are easy to implement –
- Create a concept of privileged identity in the workplace
- Create appropriate access management strategies according to the pre-defined roles and responsibilities of each team member.
- Separate cloud-management duties by giving each team member different roles and authorizations
- Use dedicated monitoring systems to oversee all privileged access requests.
The separation of roles, authorizations, and responsibilities should be based on specific security processes. For instance, there needs to be one privileged user who has access to the company’s encryption keys. Other members shouldn’t have privileged access to this data.
- Always Respond to Cloud Security Issues
As your business evolves in the cloud, there will be security incidents that demand either automated or personalized responses. These cloud security incidents will happen on a regular basis. Make sure to respond to each security threat.
- Use two-factor authentication whenever users access sensitive data in the cloud. By asking for extra verification for high-risk access situations, you can lower the volume of daily security incidents.
- Keep adjusting cloud access policies as you integrate new tools, apps, services, etc.
- Conduct daily scans of all files in cloud storage. Use anti-malware tools to regularly eliminate all suspicious files.
Cloud isn’t just an IT technology that businesses use to access data or improve their company’s computing capabilities. It’s a solution that’s in the minds of every CIO that wants to advance business their business operations. As your business evolves in the cloud environment, so do the security threats you face by using the cloud.
You’ll need a top cloud security provider to implement new, advanced security solutions on a regular basis. We at Eyes Everywhere are the ideal IT security expert to give your business the cloud security boost it needs. The company offers advanced off and on-site cloud support services. Be it conducting enterprise-grade cloud backups or securing a company’s cloud file-sharing system – Eyes Everywhere can provide end-to-end cloud security solutions for all types of businesses.