Moving To The Cloud? Consider These Security Best Practices Before You Do

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By Michelle Drolet

Founder & CEO

Ms. Drolet is responsible for all aspects of business for Towerwall. She has more than 24 years of,

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The cloud has revolutionized the way we work. It has become an indispensable part of our lives. It has allowed us to do business in a faster, more scalable way and has become the foundation for other disruptive businesses. Cloud accelerated the fortunes for some of the world’s largest companies. For GoogleMicrosoft and Amazon, cloud services is one of their fastest-growing businesses.
Gartner predicts that global spending on public cloud services will dramatically rise in four years, growing from $182 billion in 2018 to $331 billion in 2022.
It’s no secret now that moving to the cloud can help you deliver significant cost and efficiency gains. There are no upfront hardware costs, and one could literally spin up cloud instances in minutes.
However, there’s one more reality we can’t ignore. Both public and private organizations are increasingly being targeted by cyberattacks.

Rise In Cloud Security Incidents

It’s pretty simple. You’re opening up your network and storing corporate data on a third-party computer. Of course this third party has deployed best-of-breed cybersecurity practices, but what’s inside your cloud — all your digital content, applications and user access — is your own responsibility. In 2018, cloud customers alone faced 681 million cyberattacks, and reports indicate a steady rise in cloud security incidents.
There can be several reasons for this, including the fact that more and more data continues to be stored on the cloud, so it’s basically a prime target.
Research highlights that traditional security issues are no longer perceived as major business risks for cloud adoption, but other decisions around cloud strategy and implementation have become a cause of concern for senior management. Cloud is no longer an IT decision. Since financial risk and reputation are at stake, cloud has become a boardroom topic.

Getting Ready For The Cloud

Cloud’s borderless environment creates new threat vectors from stolen credentials, third-party apps, misconfigurations and more. Companies that move to the cloud will have to assume new responsibilities, develop new skill sets and implement new processes.
The first step to better cloud security is to assess the risk landscape and assume you have no security.
If you’re already on the cloud or planning to migrate to one, here are some best practices that you can implement in an effort to secure your organizational assets.

Take Stock Of Your Assets And Ascertain What’s At Risk

One of the first steps of cloud computing security is to identify sensitive data and assets. Loss of data or intellectual property could lead to large regulatory penalties. Understand what workloads you want to move to the cloud and how those workloads are being shared and used. Deploy any and all controls necessary, and do a deep dive into how the network is configured.

Find A Cloud Provider That Best Fits Your Business Model

Make a thorough assessment of their service-level agreements, and evaluate the security offerings included. Ascertain whether your cloud provider is able to meet compliance requirements. Evaluate support for third-party applications that can help build on the security model offered by your cloud provider.
Evaluate the security benefits of having a multiple-cloud strategy for better availability and broader functionality. If an organization can spread workloads across multiple clouds, it’s in a stronger position to keep workloads running in case one of the clouds is breached or brought down by a denial-of-service attack.

Build A Holistic Cybersecurity Architecture Rather Than A Piecemeal Approach

It’s important to consider several areas of security and look at the architecture as a whole instead of different parts individually. These could include data, applications, identity and access management, perimeter, endpoints, servers, compliance or cybersecurity mandates and regulations. Start by looking at designing controls around threat scenarios, and determine the security model that will be required.
It’s also equally important to secure development and quality assurance (QA) environments. Security-conscious companies have started to extend and embed controls during the application life cycle, checking source code for vulnerabilities while the application is being developed. Automating cybersecurity controls must also be considered, as it greatly reduces the risk of human error. Automation is also critical in managing a change at scale and can help monitor the network in real time and provide the ability to rapidly respond to threats.

Remember To Apply Fundamentals

Cloud might be a totally different environment. However, the fundamentals of on-premise architectures still apply to cloud security. Similar to any computing environment, high-level security concerns remain the same, as do the solutions. Products such as firewalls, SIEM, endpoint security, identity access management, encryption and more can help prevent unauthorized data exposure, monitor network traffic and protect cloud assets against cyberattacks.
These best practices are just the start. Ensure that you have the right team, resources and tools in place to continuously monitor and fine-tune your security architecture as your business scales.

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