Cloud security has developed over time, just as security for other novel technologies and breakthrough discoveries. But because of a few overlooked security flaws in the cloud environment, companies get more vulnerable to data breaches or become the target of malicious cybercriminal activity. Therefore to lessen the impact of malicious stirs, companies should prepare ahead and develop a cloud policy for data security. Even though experiencing a fatal incident is terrible, how a company responds to it will frequently decide whether or not it survives. But before implementing a strategy, know more about data security in the cloud, its relevance, and the top six practices you should follow to protect your valuable data.
Data protection and security in the cloud
Cloud data protection is fundamentally the practice of safeguarding a company’s data in a cloud environment, regardless of how the data is handled—internally or by external vendors—hosted, in motion or at rest. This process has become increasingly important as more firms switch to hosting their apps and data in the cloud instead of building and running their data centers.
The process of data protection is different from data security. How? It’s simple. Data privacy is not ascertained by protection. It specifies “who has the authority” to approve access to the cloud environment, whereas data security in the cloud refers to protecting assets from illegal/unauthorized access. A data protection layer guarantees that your sensitive data is still intact in the case of loss or corruption. In contrast, data security ensures data is secure against unwanted access or dissemination in the first place.
Data privacy laws, users may contend, are more process- or situation-based, even if data protection is a technological control mechanism. One policy cannot ensure how other people will behave. Thus both must be in place for the organization to be an appropriate control mechanism.
Need for cloud security
Although cloud computing services are a fantastic alternative for businesses in India, there are certain concerns associated with the available technology. Numerous organizations have gradually shifted to authorized cloud service providers since the development and widespread acceptance of cloud computing. Cloud users are an excellent target for malicious activities since so much important data is readily available in one place. For data needing additional security measures, firms should communicate with cloud vendors straight through their system integrators or managed service providers and ensure the essential controls are in place. A security network that unifies at the data center and cloud stage are required to establish a robust security posture.
Top Data Security Practices in Cloud
As the use of the cloud spreads across several businesses, security becomes the “single key” to protecting important data. The stakeholders must know cloud security best practices to manage any information spilled or processed outside the security fabric.
To be sure that your data is secure in the cloud from unlawful tempering or loss/theft, stick to the practices listed below:
Follow recognized security standards
There are certain internationally recognized information security standards highlighted below that organizations can follow while adopting a cloud platform:
ISO 27K Family
ISO 27001: Best practices for an Information Security Management System (ISMS) are provided by ISO 27001. It is made to handle private information and establish rules and processes of a company. The lack of ISMS leaves the company open to hacker assaults and data leakage.
ISO 27002: The purpose of this standard is to guide organizational Information Security Management System (ISMS), such as the selection, installation, and management of controls while taking the organization’s Information Security Risk environment into account.
ISO 27017: The ISO 27017 standard is created to help cloud-based enterprises adopt controls. This standard applies to businesses that keep data in the cloud and that offer cloud-based services to other firms that may contain sensitive data.
ISO 27018: To secure Personally Identifiable Information (PII) stored and/or processed in the cloud, organizations using cloud computing must adhere to ISO 27018. This standard is mostly important to cloud providers rather than cloud customers. This norm gives customers more assurance, especially when dealing with businesses that handle sensitive data.
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, also known as PCI DSS, is a private information security standard enforced by PCI Security Standards Council. It falls under the joint accountability of the cloud service provider (CSP) and its customers. Suppose card payment information is stored, transported, or processed in a cloud system. In that case, PCI DSS will extend to that setting and will likely include validating both the infrastructure of the CSP and the client’s use of that environment.
SSAE 16/ SOC 2
SOC 2 focuses on service provider controls related to security, processing integrity, scalability, anonymity, and system protection. It guarantees clients that their data is kept confidential and secure both in storage and in transit and that they may access it whenever they want.
The majority of cloud vendors include some level of in-transit and at-rest encryption. Ensure that you make both of them active. It would help if you thought about having more file-level encryption. Securing data before sending it to a cloud storage service is the simplest method to accomplish security.
Besides, try database shard if you cannot cipher at the file level. Sharding is a method of distributing data or app sections across several locations. Even if an attacker can access your data, it may be more challenging for him to put it back together.
Assure the encryption of sensitive and important data, including PII and intellectual property, both in motion and at repose. You should consider using a third-party encryption solution because not all providers offer encryption.
Most firms either don’t have a data security monitoring system or have tried to create one from scratch using native auditing. To put these up and keep them running in a big, diverse setting can take a lot of effort, time, and knowledge. Database performance will suffer significantly if database logging is enabled.
Since databases are the foundation of most cloud applications, this approach outlines the methods, inquiries, availability, and usage of cloud database resources. Additionally, this approach may scan networks to provide real-time use information while tracking requests and data integrity. Access request tracking is also possible for security reasons. For instance, an uptime checker can indicate if a database is unstable and help speed up response time starting from when a network breaks down.
Shared responsibility model
Who is in charge of security is one data security risk that organizations grapple with when using cloud services. The on-site infrastructure and data centers are under your company’s management. However, the line between jobs could be unclear since you are leveraging a vendor’s cloud services.
Cloud service providers use the idea of “shared controls” or “shared responsibility.” The problem is that various cloud systems have distinctive frameworks for distributing tasks.
It’s imperative to remember that in either model, customers are in charge of data classification and accountability, while cloud providers maintain the infrastructure’s physical security. Every other security-related responsibility usually belongs to one of the parties or is shared. When using SaaS, PaaS, or FaaS, you are equally in charge, unlike IaaS, where the cloud provider handles identity and access management.
The main conclusion is that it’s crucial to know the specifics of your cloud service provider’s shared responsibility model and confirm you’re putting the right precautions in place.
Strong cloud backup solutions may reduce data loss and spare businesses from paying a ransom to recover encrypted data. Every backup solution sends sensitive data from PCs to remote cloud storage servers that are reachable online from any global location.
A single data backup solution ensures that data from all the various locations will be available even in the event of a catastrophe when it is most needed. Remember to take the following actions:
- All crucial data should be protected with a data backup and recovery plan.
- Don’t forget to ensure that MSP/CSP regularly updates recovery plans and performs data backups.
- Test frequent backups to lessen the effects of data loss or system failure and hasten the recovery process.
- This data should be retained on a different device, and backups should be kept offline because network storage can also be impacted.
Manage passwords and implement MFAs
It is tiresome to remember many passwords for different apps, especially for people who work in corporate settings and frequently need to generate and reset credentials for several platforms. SSO or single sign-on solutions, a potent authentication solution, spares users from constantly logging in to the same app. As a result, it is less likely that a password will be misplaced, used inappropriately, or copied.
Another step that businesses may take is MFA or multi-factor authentication. During user authentication, MFA mandates thorough login credential validation. This may be as easy as having the user enter their password and an extra numeric code from an SMS text.
MFA and SSO reduce the danger of account compromise while removing the need for users to remember numerous passwords. By being aware of the risks of password reuse, following cybersecurity guiding principles, and being educated on changing threats, users may secure their digital identity and protect cyber criminals from entering the cloud infrastructure.