10 Cloud Security Best Practices
In the race to embrace the cloud, many organizations overlook the need to enable (and properly ensure) security of their cloud infrastructure and applications. The lack of appropriate security measures can put a lot at risk: the organization might become vulnerable to breaches, employees’ personal or company intellectual property data might be exposed or misused, business reputation may get affected, customer experience would plummet, and the cost of non-compliance might skyrocket.
To ensure that the security of your cloud infrastructure is optimal, it is important to follow best practices. This post will serve as a guide on how you can navigate through cloud security using cloud security best practices and ensure your cloud infrastructure is protected 24×7.
The Need for Cloud Security Best Practices
Even though the road to cloud is getting increasingly congested, there are still several large and small organizations who are apprehensive about the security in the cloud. The fear of not being in control of the data that get stored in the cloud often poses a big roadblock for cloud adoption. However, what these organizations fail to realize is that like any data that is hosted on your on-premises infrastructure, with the right steps, data on your cloud infrastructure can also be secured.
Cloud security enables organizations to embrace the required security measures to protect data stored in the cloud against theft, leakage, breach, or deletion. By implementing firewalls, automating threat detection, carrying out penetration testing, connecting through VPNs, and safeguarding public internet connections, cloud security ensures security and privacy of data and workloads around-the-clock.
10 Best Practices for Cloud Security
As modern cloud services emerge, the threat landscape has evolved. Therefore, organizations need to adopt and implement security practices to significantly reduce the potential impact of a cyber-attack. Here are 10 cloud security best practices to keep in mind and implement:
1. Carry Out Required Due Diligence Prior to Cloud Migration: Migrating to the cloud is not just about moving workloads from on-premises infrastructure to cloud infrastructure; it requires organizations to fully understand their networks and applications and determine how best to enable functionality, resilience, and security for cloud-deployed applications and systems. Due diligence across the lifecycle of applications and systems being deployed to the cloud can help in determining the appropriate security levels needed for different data and workloads – based on their criticality.
2. Strengthen Cloud Access Control Measures: With cloud workloads so easy to deploy and access, having the right access control measures is also an important cloud security best practice. Access control can help identify and authenticate users, assign appropriate rights, and help create and enforce access control policies for users. Multi-factor authentication mechanisms and role-specific access can ensure only authorized users have access to resources, thus minimizing risk of credential compromise or data misuse.
3. Choose a Qualified Cloud Services Partner: Given the criticality and complexity of implementing the right security controls in the cloud, choosing an experienced and qualified cloud services partner is vital. A cloud partner can not only advise and recommend the required security measures, it can also drive continuous efforts in enhancing cloud security. A partner can make use of modern technologies to assess security posture while proactively recommending steps to patch and update.
4. Clearly Define Responsibilities Pertaining to the Cloud: Although choosing a cloud services provider is essential to maintain the required levels of security, it is also important for organizations to be clear about their responsibilities. Careful study of the contract and clear discussions with the provider are essential to learn which party will take care of security – in the event of a breach.Having a good understanding of responsibility makes it easier for the concerned party to take immediate remediation steps to minimize the impact of the breach.
5. Enable Continuous Cloud Infrastructure Monitoring: Constantly monitoring cloud infrastructure and associated services can also help enhance the security of workloads in the cloud. Real-time monitoring can help identify issues and anomalies while presenting risks and loopholes in easy-to-understand dashboards and reports. Such insights can help organizations understand the steps they need to take to overcome challenges across unauthorized access, unexpected behavior, and data misuse.
6. Regularly Train Your Users: As attackers become more and more sophisticated, it is important for organizations to make their users aware of the latest threats as well as potential countermeasures. Training your users on different mechanisms hackers are using to steal data and cause breaches in your network can help a great deal in minimizing the threat level. Such training can help users spot dangerous emails, select strong passwords, identify suspicious activity, and help in safeguarding the company from risk.
7. Constantly Revisit Your Cloud Security Policies: With the cloud landscape changing so quickly, organizations need to constantly revisit their security policies and make sure they are in line with current threats. They need to constantly update who can use cloud services, how they can use them as well as how data is stored in the cloud. Frequent updating policies and laying out specific measures employees must take to protect data and applications in the cloud is essential to ensure the right level of security enforcement.
8. Secure the Endpoints of Your Cloud Infrastructure: Using cloud infrastructure doesn’t eliminate the need for strong endpoint security; it actually makes it much more important. Since so many users across different geographical regions access cloud resources through different devices, organizations need to update their endpoint protection strategy.
9. Invest in the Right Cloud Security Technologies: Although modern cloud vendors offer a plethora of built-in cloud security measures, it still makes sense for organizations to invest in technologies for intrusion prevention and detection. These solutions can not only help identify when an attack has occurred, they can also help take the right steps to minimize its impact. By adding an added layer of protection around cloud assets, they help block malicious traffic and protect the organization against vulnerability exploits.
10 Keep Your Cloud Disaster Recovery Strategy Updated: Just like on-premises infrastructure need to have a robust Disaster Recovery (DR) strategy in place, cloud workloads also need to constantly be backed-up to prevent data from getting lost or tampered with. A cloud DR strategy is a critical best practice of overall cloud planning that can enable organizations to backup critical data in a secondary location and ensure business operations are not interrupted if one cloud service fails.
What’s Next in Cloud Security?
The cloud-era has brought the issue of security to the forefront, compelling organizations to invest in robust technologies to ensure data and workloads in the cloud are always protected. Embracing certain cloud security best practices can help organizations have a better understanding of the cloud services they are using.
In addition, business can understand the security measures they need to implement across access control, multi-factor authentication, DR strategy, end point protection, training, and continuous monitoring. A cloud MSP can not only help implement the right security measures; it can also help update security policies while reducing the changes of an attack crippling the organization’s cloud infrastructure.