How To Prioritize Cloud Security Best Practices at Your Organization

Remember these key principles as you implement cloud security best practices at your organization for a safe and secure cloud infrastructure with minimum security issues. Whether you’re using Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS), cloud data security must always be a priority.

The cloud is the new frontier for businesses of any size. Cloud infrastructure, including hybrid cloud, private cloud, and multi-cloud environments, offers several benefits, including scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. However, the cloud also comes with new security challenges at every turn and, while it is often seen as a good solution to avoid ransomware (since data isn’t stored on-premises but in offsite data centers), even a system or platform that exists in the cloud is not 100 percent immune to data breaches.

Traditional security standards are no longer effective for risk management when it comes to cloud platforms, because cloud providers are constantly adding new features and services, making it difficult to keep up with the latest security threats.

It is crucial to embrace a fresh approach toward security policies to safeguard against data loss or theft in the cloud. Here are key principles to remember as you implement best practices in your organization’s cloud data security strategy:

 

1. The Cloud is a Dynamic & Ever-Changing Environment

Like an intricately constructed labyrinth, the cloud is replete with a network of interconnected pathways. Within this expanse are a multitude of revolving doors and windows, further adding to the complexity of the cloud’s architecture and increasing the likelihood of security misconfigurations that could increase the risk of cyber threats.

The challenge with this architecture lies in the uncertainty of identifying open access points and comprehending the contents they conceal, thereby rendering conventional security approaches inadequate.

While achieving 100-percent fortification is impossible, proactive measures can be taken to prevent unauthorized entry by malicious actors.

What You Can Do

  • Assume Breach. Don’t wait for an attack to happen. Assume that your data has already been compromised and immediate execute incident response measures to protect it.

    • Implement Least Privilege (a.k.a. “Zero Trust”) Only allow users a level of access necessary to do their jobs. This will help reduce the risk of unauthorized access to your data.

    • Use Strong Encryption. Encrypt all of your sensitive data, both at rest and in transit, and ensure strong encryption key management. Data encryption will make it much more difficult for attackers to access your data even if they do manage to breach your systems.

    • Monitor Your Environment. Use security tools to monitor your cloud environment for signs of attack. This will help you quickly detect and respond to attacks on your cloud infrastructure security. Also consider hiring an outside firm, such as UDT, to perform penetration testing with well-vetted security teams.

    • Ensure Your System is Always Updated. New threats often arise due to newly discovered vulnerabilities. When this happens, developers often deploy security patches to fixe these security issues. This is why it is so important to keep all software, apps, and platforms up to date with new patches, whether they exist inside or outside of the cloud.

 

2. Developers are the Gatekeepers of Cloud Security

Developers, especially in the Software as a Service (SaaS) domain, can have an outsized influence on cloud security because they are often pressured to build quickly, leading to otherwise preventable security mistakes such as setting weak passwords or not encrypting data properly.

It is essential to provide developers with the proper training, tools, and support they need to build secure applications. Developers should be taught about the security risks of cloud computing and how to mitigate them. They should also be given access to security tools to help them identify and fix security vulnerabilities in their code. 

What You Can Do

If you don’t have the resources or know-how to support your developers as much as you’d like, consider working with a partner like UDT to get expert cloud deployment with a robust security posture. We offer a range of solutions that can help you proactively audit and address security risks, educate your team on best practices and methods of threat detection and response, optimize your use of the cloud and more.

 

3. There’s No One-Size-Fits-All Solution to Cloud Security

Beware of cloud security providers promising to solve all your security problems. For example, your home may have the best physical security features, like surveillance and alarm systems—but if you leave your doors and windows open, your house will still be vulnerable to attack. The same is valid for cloud security. If they aren’t protecting your cloud data across all endpoints, then no amount of security features or firewalls are going to help.

What You Can Do

Cloud providers may offer a variety of security features, but they don’t always account for human errors or have real-time monitoring capabilities. By taking a holistic approach to cloud security through user training, in-house certifications. and strongly enforced policies, organizations can help protect their data from both internal and external threats.

 

4. AI is a Double-Edged Sword

Machine learning/Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems and apps are great for reducing workloads while fostering productivity, but they are still vulnerable to cyberattacks and other tampering. This could allow attackers to gain access or control of the system and steal sensitive information or disrupt operations. Organizations must take steps to secure their AI systems to mitigate these risks.

Of course, AI can also be highly effective in improving user experience and security outcomes. For example, AI can answer customer questions about security, detect security incidents, and automate security tasks.

What You Can Do

In the future, AI will play an increasingly important role in security. Organizations should take steps now to secure their AI systems or risk being left at a significant disadvantage when it comes to protecting their IT infrastructure from AI-related vulnerabilities.

 

5. Cloud Security is a Shared Responsibility Model

To adopt a future-ready mindset and ensure robust data security measures are in place to stay ahead of evolving threats in the cloud, organizations must acknowledge that cloud security is a shared responsibility. 

While cloud service providers are accountable for safeguarding the underlying infrastructure, organizations must also prioritize the security of their invaluable data and applications. 

Failure to fully grasp this essential concept could create security gaps, jeopardizing the integrity and confidentiality of your data in the long run.

What You Can Do

UDT has over 25 years of expertise delivering cybersecurity and cloud solutions for organizations just like yours. Let us be your cloud service provider and help you implement cutting edge security controls for the best possible data protection.

 

6. Identity and Access Management is Crucial

Identity and Access Management (IAM) is a critical aspect of cloud security. IAM facilitates access control by ensuring only authorized individuals can gain entry to your cloud resources, and they can only perform actions that they’re permitted to do.

IAM involves managing users and their identities, authenticating users, authorizing access, and managing the user lifecycle. It’s about ensuring that “the right people have the right access to the right resources at the right time.” This goes hand in hand with your “Zero Trust” controls mentioned at the beginning of this list, ensuring everyone in your organization can only access what they need to do their jobs… no more, no less.

What You Can Do

  • Implement Strong Authentication: Use strong authentication methods like multi-factor authentication (MFA) to ensure that only authorized users can access your cloud resources.

  • Manage User Lifecycle: Ensure you have processes in place to manage the entire user lifecycle, from creation to deletion. This includes managing changes in user roles and access rights.

  • Regular Audits: Regularly audit your IAM policies and access rights to ensure that they are still appropriate and that there are no excessive permissions.

  • Use IAM Tools: Use IAM tools provided by your cloud provider or third-party tools to help manage IAM effectively.

 

IAM is a complex area, but it’s also a critical one. By implementing effective IAM, you can significantly enhance the security of your cloud resources. If you need help with IAM, consider working with a partner like UDT, who can provide expertise and support in this area. Together, we can ensure that your cloud resources are secure and that only the right people have access to them.

If you’re interested in exploring how UDTSecure or our Cloud solutions can benefit your organization, we invite you to book a consultation with one of our experts. Together, we can strengthen your defenses, ensure you are meeting all compliance requirements, and protect your valuable assets by providing infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and network security solutions in today’s evolving cybersecurity landscape.

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Experiencing a security breach?

Get immediate assistance from our security operations center! Take the following recommended actions NOW while we get on the case:

RECOMMENDED IMMEDIATE NEXT ACTIONS

  1. Determine which systems were impacted and immediately isolate them. Take the network offline at the switch level or physically unplug the systems from the wired or wireless network.
  2. Immediately take backups offline to preserve them. Scan backups with anti-virus and malware tools to ensure they’re not infected
  3. Initiate an immediate password reset on affected user accounts with new passwords that are no less than 14 characters in length. Do this for Senior Management accounts as well.

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