Does the cloud guarantee security?
Definitely not. Too often, companies move their operations to the cloud thinking that it’s inherently secure. While the cloud already makes everything convenient, fast and efficient, there’s still more work to be done when it comes to securing it. The cloud environment has simply outgrown the usual protections and needs constant monitoring, analysis and response to keep it secure.
According to the latest Thales Global Cloud Security Study, 40% of organizations have experienced a cloud-based data breach in the past 12 months. While 83% fail to encrypt half of the sensitive data in the cloud. A significant majority, or 75% of companies, had high or critical vulnerabilities that could have been fixed with patches but did not.
These alarming statistics tell us that companies were lax with their security despite the increasing rate of attacks. So, where did they go wrong? What made them vulnerable? We list the 6 cloud security deficiencies to watch out for so you can take action and succeed where others have failed.
1. Weak Cloud Infrastructure
Building a secure cloud infrastructure requires a different set of standards and configurations from a traditional IT setup that’s typically accessed in the office. Traditional IT teams are used to managing and updating their on-premise IT infrastructure with anti-virus software and implementing the latest patches. They need to recognize that the security sprawl is more extensive and complex in the cloud.
Consider all users of your cloud services – from your partners and stakeholders to your staff and customers. The first step is to understand how they will use the cloud and how it will impact your security. An infrastructure that supports remote working and digital transactions, means that every component must be secured and protected – from apps, network and data to endpoints.
Any company operating in the cloud or moving to it, should perform an audit and assessment against industry best practice benchmarks to assess their vulnerabilities. And working with a technical experts who understand all the possible security risks is a good way of informing this process.
2. Obsolete Security
A typical scenario for a business moving to the cloud is to keep using existing security protocols – layering it on top as best as possible. While this gives some form of protection, it does not provide visibility over the whole environment, leaving some areas unchecked and open for attack.
For example, an in-house IT team would typically do a monthly or quarterly tune-up of the environment. This works fine in an on-premise infrastructure, but when you are in the cloud scaling up and down quickly, you tend to miss emerging vulnerabilities.
Having 24/7 security to manage and monitor the entire cloud estate is the only way to help prevent security breaches. MDR solutions (Managed Endpoint Detection & Response) continually monitor endpoint devices and provide more coverage than anti-virus software. It will spot anomalies or suspicious activity across your cloud estate. If an incident is detected, it can rapidly deploy action, down to machine isolation or automated response.
3. Inconsistent Testing, Monitoring and Analysis
If you aren’t testing, monitoring, and analyzing your cloud estate 24/7, harmful elements will slip past security eventually. Consider employing technical consultants to perform continual assessments and provide actionable insights to improve your security. Aligning with industry best practices exposes vulnerabilities, and reduces risk.
Automated security and monitoring solutions can be plugged in with existing and new workflows. They scan the collected data and include proactive monitoring around security events to let you know what’s happening with clear-to-understand alerts, what actions should be taken and where to deploy them.
4. Failing to Educate Users
Human error is the leading cause of cyber security failures. Even if you have a strong cloud infrastructure with all the right security and monitoring tools in place, a single unintentional error by an uneducated user can take it all down. CISO Mag reports that employee mistakes cause approximately 88% of all data breaches.
It’s critical to have the right security policies in place for remote work, mobile phone and BYOD, user authentication and data access privileges. Then you must codify the right online security behaviors to all members of the organization from the CEO down. Encourage that cyber security is everyone’s responsibility and not just the IT department’s or HR’s.
5. Security Non-Compliance
Your organization’s data holds sensitive information on your clients, partners, and employees. Because of this, industry standards and regulations have become stricter and more complex, making compliance a leading concern for many modern business leaders and IT managers.
The risks and losses from non-compliance are not just limited to legal fines and penalties. Non-compliance exposes companies to serious risk of security breaches, loss of productivity, reputational damage and more. In fact, businesses lose about $4 million on average due to a single non-compliance event. It would be smart to take compliance seriously and implement the required regulatory measures.
6. Absence of a Recovery Plan
These days, a cyber attack is no longer a matter of “if” but “when”. To ensure business continuity after a breach, you need to be insured against an incident and have proper disaster recovery (DR) plans in place. A remote data backup system is a must for all organisations. 80% of businesses who suffered a major cyber attack never re-open or close within 18 months, partly because they don’t have an effective DR plan in place.
Although it’s challenging for small and medium-sized enterprises to keep up to speed with all the latest regulatory requirements, there are now autonomous DR solutions built in the cloud that include security protection and non-disruptive testing. These solutions are significantly more cost-efficient compared to on-premises DR solutions as you pay only for the services you use.
Secure And Monitor Your Cloud Estate At All Times
Gain asset visibility to keep track of every endpoint and guarantee they are always patched, updated, and optimally protected. With experience working with numerous industries in the private and public sector, along with our capabilities in IT security, we deliver an end-to-end service that ensures your security configurations are always compliant and up-to-speed.