Work environments are immersing themselves with private, public and hybrid Cloud platforms at an extraordinarily rapid rate. What is alarming is how security measures are not being adequately updated during these significant changes. If your business is quickly moving towards a cloud-based atmosphere, it could be open to a host of unexpected vulnerabilities.
Although Cloud services necessitate the use of Firewalls, web filters and password verification, there are only effective if adopted in a methodical way that pairs them with other important practices. Technological advancements should be met with an equal investment in robust security. For example, if you moving critical applications from on-premise to the Cloud, you must employ a high-level encryption and stringent end-user access. After all, what use is having a Cloud infrastructure if it is only putting your information in peril?
The key to obtaining and maintaining protection is to use a layered approach. In this article, we will outline how to layer your security measures to achieve industry-standard fortification and avoid any adverse attacks.
System Level Security:
System level security should always be your starting line. This form of protection is achieved by safeguarding the architecture of your organization. This refers to your networks, standalone computers and management dashboards.
Falling behind on important updates can often be a root cause of security issues. Investing in a managed service provider (MSP) is one of the best ways to ensure that your system is always kept up-to-date. MSPs can also implement necessary patches and give comprehensive insight into your Cloud instances. That way, you are never in the dark about how things are operating.
Beware of Underdeveloped Tech
Many enterprises are jumping at the chance to introduce containers. Containers are a type of virtualized operating system that seemingly outperforms many hardware systems. Unlike hardware, containers run free from conflict with other application containers.
Keep in mind that while containerization is growing in popularity, it still is very raw technology. Containers in the Cloud lack the security boundaries upheld by virtual machines. This makes them susceptible to hackers who can locate and exploit their weak spots. Evaluate the risks and the readiness of your staff before building applications that use containers.
Secure Your Server
It is also advised that you understand and employ the unique controls for the type of server you are using. These include intrusion prevention, threat detection and anti-malware solutions. Remember that these are only helpful if applied in a timely manner. The longer you wait to act, the longer your server is left unguarded.
Application Level Security
The next layer affects security at the application level. While many businesses want to give employees freedom, mobility and control in the work place – this does not realistically translate into all areas. Setting stern limits on the extent that users can access and edit applications is a critical part of your security plan.
Go Beyond Strong Passwords
A starting point for locking down applications is the introduction of multi-factor authentication and identity management.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) requires more than just one method of authentication to successfully verify the status and presence of the end user. MFA adds an extra tier on top of your username and complex password. It must harness several devices in search of various credentials in order to validate an identity. This process is incredibly important in a time when compromised credentials are the leading cause of devastating data breaches.
Identity management works to identify, authenticate and manage individual users or groups of users who have access to networks. This process controls the distinct privileges and restrictions dictated for each user or group. It does so by creating a single-user sign-on that secures the access of any end user. Simultaneously, it applies the policies of your company to any cloud-based login.
These measures allow enterprises to take charge of user behaviour without the help of their cloud provider.
Defend Moving Data
A virtual private network (VPN) connection can help to further amplify security. A VPN allows users to safely transfer data across a public network. Data is the most vulnerable when it is in transit, making this easily implemented layer a vital security component.
Data Level Security
What comes to mind when you think of data security? For most, this conjures up thoughts of encryption – an algorithmic science of encoding information. Some cloud providers offer encryption as a standard option, but a surprising number do not.
Encrypt Your Enterprise
Inferior encryption is anything below military grade or 256-bit. AES-256 is the best choice for businesses that want to ensure their data cannot be intercepted.
However, encryption is only as useful if the encryption key is properly safeguarded. If you don’t control access to the key, your data is not considered safe. Switch cloud providers if the one you are using refuses to relinquish your encryption keys. You should always be in possession of your own key.
Furthermore, seek out a new provider if they insist on transmitting your unencrypted, fully-readable plain-text to their facilities. This is a unreasonable request that poses a major threat to your enterprise. Your data should only be unencrypted when it is being used within your organization.
The Cloud has powerful potential for all businesses. When secured appropriately, it can transform productivity, collaboration and mobility.
Cloud security does not come in a ‘one-size-fits-all’ package. It takes careful planning to build a sustainable, multi-faceted system of security for your platform. A layered approach prevents you from simply throwing the encryption keys to your cloud provider and ignoring important elements that could leave you defenseless.
A strongly developed contract with your provider along with a detail-oriented security plan for your organization will allow you to effectively mitigate risks and reap the remarkable rewards of a Cloud platform.