For business owners, cloud computing security has presented significant benefits and advancements in terms of efficiency and accessibility. The majority of business leaders said that the cloud helped them stay competitive due to its ability to make their services and apps available faster while improving business performance and lowering overall IT cost.
That said, the cloud does bring a host of new security risks. In fact, statistics show that almost 80% of organizations surveyed experienced a cloud security breach.
Fortunately, there are several ways to minimize the risk of security breaches in your business’s cloud infrastructure:
Consult The Experts
Dozens of IT companies offer services or solutions specifically designed to enhance the security of your cloud infrastructure. If your business’s internal IT staff doesn’t have cloud expertise or if your existing security solutions don’t support a cloud infrastructure, you can get outside help.
You can hire IT consultants with expertise in cloud computing security to help in strengthening your cloud infrastructure. If you’re in the area, you can visit these IT consultants in New York that can help educate you and enforce cloud security policies for your business.
Outsourcing expert help also makes sense for businesses using multiple cloud computing services from several vendors. They can also help in monitoring and managing your cloud infrastructure for any unauthorized access.
2. Take Passwords Seriously
A strong password is a best security practice not limited to the cloud. Implementing a strong password possibly helps in preventing unauthorized access. As a minimum requirement, passwords should have at least an upper-case letter, lower-case letter, a symbol, number, and should be at least 15 characters long. In addition, it’s important to enforce regular password changes every 90 days.
A password policy like this can help defend against most brute force attacks and breaches.
3. Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
While strong passwords may be a good line of defense, the traditional username and password combo are often insufficient to protect cloud user accounts against hackers. That said, you may want to add an extra layer of security and protection with multi-factor authentication. MFA is an authentication method that requires a user to provide two or more verification factors to have access.
The most common MFA factor used for one-time passwords (OTP) are four to eight-digit codes that a user received via SMS, email, or mobile apps. These codes are generated periodically or every time an authentication request is submitted. As its name implies, OTPs are only valid for one session, usually for only a few minutes.
Other than OTPs, biometrics, personal security questions, and access badges can also be used to authenticate user identity.
4. Strict Control Of User Access
Most employees don’t need access to every piece of data, file, or application in your cloud infrastructure. Thus, you’d want to implement a strict and tight control of user access by setting proper levels of authorization with an Identity and Access Management (IAM) plan and policy. This ensures that every employee can only view and use the data and applications necessary for them to do their job.
Assigning access control helps prevent an employee from accidentally opening and editing information that’s not authorized to access. Also, it protects your cloud infrastructure from hackers who’ve stolen an employee’s credentials.
Take note that this cloud security measure is a requirement by most regulatory compliance standards, including HIPAA, GDPR, PCI, ISO, and many more.
5. Train Your Staff
Did you know that 95% of cybersecurity breaches are caused by your employees? In general, it’s caused by human error due to unintentional actions or the lack of action that allow a security breach. Therefore, you must train your employees on managing cloud computing access. You need to educate them on spotting security threats and how to respond to these cyberattacks.
For managers and administrators who are involved in cloud security, you should give them training and certifications. The threat landscape shifts daily, and your IT professionals can only keep up if they’re constantly learning about the newest threats and potential security countermeasures.
6. Establish An Off-Boarding Process
In contrast to the previous point, when an employee leaves your company, you want to make sure they can no longer access your cloud infrastructure, customer and business data, and intellectual properties. This is a critical security responsibility that’s usually forgotten or pushed back weeks or months after someone has left.
Since every employee has access to different cloud platforms and data, you need a systemized deprovisioning process in order to properly revoke all access rights for a departing employee.
7. Secure Endpoints
Securing user endpoints is another aspect of sound cloud infrastructure security. Most cloud users will be accessing your cloud data and services via web browsers. Thus, it’s important to introduce security to have your users’ browsers protected from exploits.
You also need to implement an endpoint security solution. With the increased use of handheld devices and the workplace shifting to remote working, your employees often access your cloud services via devices not from your company. So, look for solutions to secure those endpoints including antivirus, firewalls, mobile security, virtual private networks (VPNs), and other detection tools.
8. Use Encryption
Encrypting data once you utilize the cloud is critical. Cloud services expose your data and applications to risks since you’re keeping it on a 3rd party platform and sending it between your company’s network and the service provider.
You’d want to have the most excellent encryption for your data either on transit or at rest. Cloud providers may offer built-in encryption services in order to secure your data, but sometimes, they also get access to your relevant information. So, consider investing in specialized encryption solutions and encrypting your files before moving them to the cloud so you can have full control.
Cloud security is a pressing issue for most organizations. However, concerns about cloud security shouldn’t prevent businesses from using cloud services. By following the above tips and best practices, you can significantly reduce the security risks in your cloud infrastructure while taking full advantage of the benefits that cloud computing offers.