The adoption of the cloud has come a long way in the past decade. In the early 2010s “The Cloud” was initially introduced as a buzzword, but today most organizations are employing the cloud for their business. Seventy-two percent of all businesses globally are dependent on some form of the cloud in their daily work life and that number will increase even more for personal use. The adoption of the cloud is changing the way businesses and organizations are running globally as everyone and everything is becoming dependent on technology.
The cloud market is estimated to be worth $411 billion by 2020 and the number will only continue to increase with more and more organizations moving from on-premise to the cloud.
While cloud usage is rapidly increasing, one of the major concerns for all organizations with the adoption of the cloud is security. Every year we are seeing a continuous increase in the number of cloud-related security breaches leading organizations to carefully contemplate whether to adopt cloud services or stay on-premises.
In the early years of cloud adoption, the cloud was less secure than we know it today. However, service providers have learned from their past mistakes and implemented new security features that can fight off different cloud risks. Better security tools and processes have been developed to make the cloud safer than on-premises solutions in many cases, but for complete cloud security, organizations need to emphasize the priority of cloud security.
Organizations are stepping up their adoption of cloud services and are becoming more at ease and familiar with the importance of working securely in the cloud. The reasoning behind the increasing adoption of cloud services is that organizations are implementing the common shared-responsibility model of cloud security which is the idea that organizations and their cloud service providers are in agreement to split up different responsibilities for the cloud deployment. The cloud provider will be responsible for cloud deployments such as networks and operating systems and the organizations will be responsible for the rest. Yet working with well-known cloud providers doesn’t always mean that your cloud resources are secure. It is extremely important for organizations to invest in cloud security in order to avoid security risks in their network and to defend against internal and external cloud threats. However, while this is an obvious priority for security teams, it also needs to become a priority for all employees.
The decision-makers need to have a better understanding and commitment to the importance of cloud security. Instead of just delegating every security risk to the security team, it has to become a decision maker’s issue as well because the result of failure can potentially collapse a business. Any organization may be only a data breach away from catastrophe.
With the constant threats against networks and web applications increasing, it’s time for a refresher on how to secure your organization’s cloud security in just five steps.
Adopting a multi-factor authentication solution inside your organization provides another layer of security by challenging users to prove they are who they say they are. It provides IT security teams with broad visibility into the organization’s network and application.
Encouraging your employees to sign in with one or more extra authentication tools on top of their username/password is a simple and efficient way to provide an additional layer of protection.
Most of your employees won’t need access to every application, resource or critical information belonging to your organization. Setting proper levels of authorization ensures that each employee can only have access and work on the applications or resources necessary for them to do their job.
Stolen user accounts are major concerns for organizations’ cloud security. This headache can be fixed if we limit what users can access. So even though we still require verification for every user, by providing employees with a minimal level of privileges, this will make it harder for hackers to access the organization’s critical resources and networks.
Real-time monitoring and analysis of network users’ activities can help you point out anomalies from the normal activity patterns of your employees. For example, unknown users logging in from unauthorized devices, IP addresses, locations and more.
Logging user data will allow you to prove to auditors that your networks and applications are secure and you can provide a full activity report at any given time and location in case of a serious breach. These irregular activities could display a potential breach in your system, and discovering them early on will allow you to fix security issues.
By failing to encrypt sensitive data you risk putting both your organization and customers at risk. It is the responsibility of the cloud provider to make sure that data is encrypted, and that the data can be properly decrypted once it’s taken from the cloud.
IT teams should have the encryption and decryption keys in a secure location, and they should never be stored with the data on the cloud. This encrypted data is very hard to crack, especially if the cloud provider and organization use different encryptions on the data.
One of the key steps for better cloud security is to educate employees. Human error accounts for 90% of data breaches and it can be very easy to accidentally introduce malware into an organization’s network. It is important to train employees on security policies and to explain the rationale behind those policies.
Employees won’t care about creating a strong password or watching for phishing emails if they don’t understand the risks behind them. You don’t need to teach employees about every technical detail in security protocols, but they should know which risks can impact their jobs. Organizations should frequently run training sessions to keep their employees up to date with security best practices.
Improving your cloud security starts with prioritizing the importance of cloud adoption and the correct security hygiene throughout the organization. Start with adopting a Zero Trust Network as a Service that incorporates the Software-Defined Perimeter model such as Perimeter 81, which allows you to deploy authentication tools, manage user access and monitor network activities in all in one platform.
Your cloud security strategy should be flexible and upgraded to cope with the different security threats. By implementing the 5 steps above and utilizing a Zero Trust Network as a Service, your organization will have a more complete and secure cloud security.