The need for cloud computing has become inevitable in today’s business scenario with many employees accessing more and more data from virtual platforms and also opting for the work-from-home option.

C-level executives of a majority of the companies involved in an HBR study said that out of the 5 main aspects that concern them about shifting majorly to cloud computing is security threat and the challenges faced in dealing with it.

The practice of protecting the cloud computing environment against cyber security threats, both internal and external, with various procedures and technologies is called cloud security.

The requirement for cloud data security has become crucial with the increased requirement for cloud computing by organizations needing more capacity to accommodate more innovation and collaborations.

Do I need cloud security?

Small or big, whatever the quantum of the utilization of the cloud, companies definitely need a secure environment.

The kind of cloud security needed varies from one organization to another. The best way to ensure everything is protected usually begins with understanding the combination of cloud location and cloud service that the organization currently works on.

Classifying cloud locations and services

  • Cloud location

One can determine if a cloud is public, private, or hybrid based on the cloud location, maintenance, and exclusivity of use.

  • Based on the service

Based on the service provided by the cloud, it can be classified as,

    • IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service)
    • PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service)
    • SaaS (Software-as-a-Service)
    • FaaS (Functions-as-a-Service)

Understanding the shared responsibility model

The responsibility for maintaining compliance relevant to the stored data differs from one organization to another and is also dependent on what services are being utilized. While the ultimate authority is the organization, the cloud provider also takes some responsibility for some aspects of IT security. This is known as the “Shared Responsibility Model.”

How is the data accessed and stored?

 Studies indicate that close to 20% of all files stored on cloud are critical in nature. It is important to understand the nature of data on the cloud. Though most data is safe with well-established cloud services, it is vital to examine permissions granted for access from time to time to determine if certain sensitive information needs to be removed to avoid threat.

Partnering with reliable cloud providers

Organizations wanting to go the cloud route must do a thorough scrutiny of the track record of the cloud service provider for consistency in accountability, transparency, and meeting established regulatory standards. Cloud service providers give regular reports regarding security audits, results, certifications, etc. It is important to ensure that the cloud service provider that is chosen has audits conducted by independent bodies and based on existing regulatory standards.

Even if the provider stores or hosts data, it ultimately belongs to the organization. Therefore, companies are entitled to ask questions to the cloud provider regarding the methods adopted to protect sensitive data. A lapse in security measures is possible even with the most reputed provider. Each cloud provider is different in their specialization and it’s up to you to understand based on the nature of your data as to which service provider needs to be picked. Tokenization and encryption are two methods often used to secure sensitive data.

Create and follow cloud security guidelines

Setting guidelines is the best way to ensure data security. A list of who can access which file, how are they allowed to use them, and what data type is to be stored in the cloud should be detailed by organization and mandatorily followed by all to ensure that there is no threat to data security. A fully automated set up with uniform guidelines will be an ideal scenario. This can be a part of the service provided by the cloud vendor or a separate security solution adopted by the organization.

Watch out for internal security threats

The employees of an organization using cloud services need to know about cloud security too. Creating a best practices dossier for cloud security empowers employees to use cloud securely in ways that minimize any risk of threat. Understanding the nature of use of cloud data by every employee and then setting policies around that will ensure that the company minimizes unnecessary access and provides only relevant access to the right people, thereby reducing the risk of security threat from employees.

Additionally, regular training is one of the most effective ways to prevent hackers from gaining access to your environment. The rapid pace at which technology evolves will create challenges for your employees in understanding the changing scenarios and techniques used for phishing and other predatory methods. Proper training should be provided to employees so they are prepared to identify any current tactics or upcoming ones with ease.

Minimizing the amount of data in the environment

It is wise to reduce the amount of data in the cloud environment to reduce the need for extensive security compliance and costs involved in maintaining the same. The more data stored by the organization, the more risks involved, and the more need for additional security, compliance requirements, violation fines, and so on.

If you are unable to decide how to put security measures in place to protect your cloud computing services, get in touch and let us guide you on the best cloud computing security practice that your organization can follow.


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