7 Cybersecurity Strategies to Protect your Cloud

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According to statistics, on average, enterprises face 23.2 cloud related threats every month. What’s even worse, is that only 8.1% cloud services meet strict data security and privacy requirements. Due to poor security and privacy, enterprises block 31.3% of these cloud services as they deem them too risky to use.

Security and Privacy are the two main hurdles that are hampering wider cloud adoption. Lack of visibility and control, insecure APIs and interfaces, human errors, vendor lock-in, and compliance issues are some of the challenges that are preventing businesses from taking full advantage of their cloud infrastructure. If you really want your cloud operations to run smoothly, you will have to implement cloud security strategies that can keep it safe.

In this article, you will learn about five proven cybersecurity strategies that can help businesses safeguard their cloud operations from emerging cloud threats.

1.      Keep an Eye on Cloud Management and Configuration Tools

There is no denying the fact that cloud service provider consoles, command line interfaces and APIs does provide autonomy and flexibility, but it also gives cybercriminals an opportunity to exploit especially, if you don’t have solid role-based access controls in place.

Here are some steps you can take to manage cloud and configuration tools more efficiently.

  • Use multi factor authentication for authenticating and authorizing privileged users, security certificates and signatures.
  • Limit user access to production systems and keep user and admin credential separate.
  • Streamline processes for account lifecycle management.

2.      Encrypt Sensitive Data

There are two types of data. Data in motion and data at rest. With the lines between the two types of data blurring, it is important to protect your data in transit and data at rest via encryption. If encrypting all your data seems too daunting, make sure you encrypt your sensitive data so it cannot be accessed by hackers during transit.

Businesses can also segment their sensitive data and encrypt it through multiple keys so that even if the hackers can get access to one key, they won’t be able to access your data. Implement strong access control policies and rotate your keys frequently so cybercriminals can not guess it easily. You can also opt for a third-party encryption solution or native cloud solution to keep your data safe. Choose a cloud service provider that also offers network encryption.

3.      Automate to Minimize Human Error

When your business starts to manually configure the cloud, chances of human errors increases substantially. Manual cloud configuration can lead to inconsistent deployment, poor configurations, vulnerabilities and data leakages. According to Gartner prediction, 95% of cloud security failures will be caused due to customer’s fault. Businesses will continue to leverage automation to minimize human errors.

Even if you want to automate, make sure you use audited and pretested configurations to minimize the risk of errors.

  • Automate infrastructure and platform builds, security testing and baseline configuration
  • Use high availability configurations so you don’t have to pay for the mistakes of cloud service providers
  • Perform frequent configuration audits and compromise assessments

4.      Gain Visibility and Manage Vulnerabilities

According to a ForcePoint report, Only 7% of businesses have good visibility of all critical data while 58% businessessay that they only have slight control. With data, systems and responsibilities spread across varying cloud environments, organizations can easily lose track and fail to monitor emerging cybersecurity threats. In addition to this, it will make it difficult for them to ensure compliance with industry accepted security and privacy standards, which makes them more vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks.

Unfortunately, manual methods used for vulnerability detection are slow and cumbersome, making them unfit for handling latest cloud threats. It is important for businesses to extend the functionality of the vulnerability management system to serverless architecture and containers and prepare it for faster infrastructure deployment cycles as well as new cloud services. Read your cloud service provider’s service level agreement carefully and look out for their incident response plans.

Ask yourself questions such as how does your cloud vendor incident response plan integrate with your cybersecurity processes? Or does your existing infrastructure give you visibility across different cloud environments?

5.      Penetration Testing

Test the strength of your cloud defenses by performing periodical penetration testing. The higher the frequency of these test the better, as it reduces these risks of missing out on new vulnerabilities. This will help you identify loopholes so you can fix them before it can be exploited by hackers. Work closely with your cloud service providers when performing penetration testing.

Here are seven stages involved in pen testing.

  • Scoping
  • Reconnaissance
  • Vulnerability Assessment
  • Penetration Test
  • Lateral Movement
  • Artifact Collection and Destruction
  • Reporting

6.      Improve, Improve, Improve

One of the biggest mistakes businesses make when securing their cloud operations is, they don’t implement improvements throughout the operation life cycle. It is important for IT teams to make continuous improvements\ as new apps become a part of their ecosystem. Traditional IT processes might hamper your progress towards your goal of achieving cloud agility. You can use cloud DevOps to overcome these issues, as it can deliver scalable cloud infrastructure and has an agile app development environment.

7.      Train Your Employees

As mentioned before, human errors and poorly configured cloud infrastructure can pose a threat to your sensitive business data stored in the cloud. To prevent that, it is important that you train your employees. Increase cybersecurity awareness of your employees and organize training and development programs so they don’t fall victim to social engineering attacks such as phishing and spear phishing.

The more aware your employees are about these cybersecurity threats, the less likely they are to become a target of these cybersecurity attacks. In fact, they can not only protect themselves but can also help you identify any suspicious activities or any such attacks which will enable you to react quickly and minimize the damage. Test the knowledge of your employees by launching mock attacks and see how they react.

Which cloud threats have negatively impacted your cloud operations? Let us know in the comments section below.