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Utilizing the cloud for business has quickly become the new norm for organizations worldwide. Not only does the cloud provide flexibility for employees wishing to work from anywhere, but it also offers increased collaboration and simplified disaster recovery.
But these benefits do not exceed the need for proper security design to reduce the harm a potential data breach can cause.
LDI has worked with prospects and clients interested in migrating their current infrastructure to the cloud as a managed services provider. While we understand the various benefits working in the cloud can bring, we feel it’s vital to ensure that on-premise security best practices are carefully completed and migrated to the cloud.
This article will explore what cloud security is and what cloud security solutions to understand. Whether you have migrated your IT environment to the cloud already or are just now considering it, this article will leave you with a better understanding of cloud security and how it can help.
What Is Cloud Security?
Cloud security includes the processes and technology that can secure a cloud environment from external and insider cybersecurity threats.
Cloud security best practices are designed to stop unauthorized users from accessing your business’s data and applications. Cloud security and security management must keep any information in the cloud secure from potential cybersecurity threats.
While cloud security seems like a pretty easy concept to grasp, cloud security differs based on the category of cloud computing being used. Cloud computing refers to the use and delivery of on-demand IT services over the internet at a pay-as-you-go pricing model.
Here are four categories of cloud computing:
A public cloud provider operates public cloud services.
A public cloud provider is an IT business model where a third-party provider manages on-demand computing services and infrastructure. Multiple organizations can use the public internet at a time.
Public cloud services include software-as-a-service (SaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), and platform-as-a-service (PaaS).
For example, Microsoft Azure is a prime example of a public cloud service. By using a public cloud service, you are sharing the same storage, hardware, and network devices with other companies or cloud “tenants’, to access services and manage your account via a web browser.
Private Cloud Operated By A Private Cloud Operator
Private cloud services operated by a public cloud provider or third-party provider provide a computing environment dedicated to one customer only.
Private cloud services can offer customers peace of mind in not sharing the same cloud environment with another organization.
A private cloud service operated by a public cloud provider will not consist of managing a cloud infrastructure on-premises but rather, is managed off-site in a data center controlled by the cloud provider you choose to work with.
Private Cloud Operated Internally
Private cloud services operated internally are essentially where your internal staff operates and controls a virtual environment dedicated only to your organization.
This virtual environment can be located onsite and may serve as an evolved traditional data center.
For example, a private cloud service operated internally would include your company staffing, managing, and maintaining all underlying cloud infrastructure and would not be accessible to those outside of the company.
Hybrid cloud services refer to both private and public cloud computing configurations that can be combined. A hybrid cloud environment can host workloads and data to optimize factors such as cost, security, operations, and access.
In addition, hybrid cloud services can involve both your internal staff and the option of a public cloud provider or a third-party provider.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is an example of a hybrid cloud service because it is made up of on-premises infrastructure, private cloud services, and a public cloud.
Using a cloud computing service that a public cloud provider provides will entail your data and applications being hosted and managed by a third party. Understanding your cloud needs and security responsibility to your business is critical in forming a cloud security strategy that works best for you.
What Are 3 Cloud Solutions To Consider?
Suppose you seek to move your IT infrastructure to the cloud or seek better cloud security for your pre-existing cloud computing environment. In that case, consider implementing cloud security solutions to solve security challenges of visibility and control over data.
Let’s explore a few protective methods that can benefit your cloud security and better protect your data and applications stored in the cloud.
1. Enforce Cloud Compliance
Depending on the industry of your business, your data will likely need to follow compliance best practices. As a principle, cloud compliance must comply with standards and expectations customers require.
Existing compliance requirements and processes should be modified to include data and applications stored in the cloud.
By reviewing and updating current compliance assessments for HIPAA, PCI, and Sarbanes-Oxley, your business can ensure that the regulatory requirements are being followed.
Another way to enforce compliance requirements is to have your internal staff or third-party provider perform a risk assessment to include cloud services. Identifying risk factors can provide information on where your current security gaps are to improve for the future.
2. Create A Data Visibility Guide To Follow Long-Term
Cloud computing security solutions such as malware protection software like SentinelOne can be used accessed through an application programming interface (API) connection. While an API connection enables you to view cloud data, it can help keep a guide handy to keep track of your information about your cloud data.
Your data visibility guide can be referenced anytime there is a concern within your cloud environment or for training purposes. Critical information to include in your manual is:
- A list of data that is currently stored in the cloud
- Authorized employees who can access and use cloud data
- Who cloud users are sharing data with
- Where the cloud data is being accessed and downloaded from, and from which device
- Where the cloud data is located
While all of this information can be viewed via your API of choice, having a guide to refer to can help minimize downtime in solving a potential security breach.
3. Implement Access Control
Seeing as cloud data can be accessed over the internet from any location or device, it’s crucial to apply controls that best suit your organization.
These access controls can include:
Data Loss Prevention (DLP)
DLP enables your business to protect its cloud data from unauthorized access. It provides the option of immediately disabling access and transporting data when suspicious activity is identified.
Data classification enables your business to classify data by different levels. Levels such as sensitive, regulated, or public is commonly used to label the confidentiality of the data. Classified data can be stopped from entering or exiting the cloud service.
Cloud data encryption is a method that prevents unauthorized access to data even if the data gets stolen. With data encryption, confidential data is converted into encoded information that only a specific decryption key can decode.
Suppose you choose to work with a managed services provider to optimize your cloud environment. In that case, they will typically apply their own recommended access controls to your environment.
Working with a managed services provider to protect your data and applications may be the easier route if your internal staff does not have experience implementing cloud security solutions.
Ready To Secure Your Cloud Environment?
According to Right Scale’s annual State of the Cloud Report for 2019, 94% of organizations currently use cloud services.
While cloud adoption trends suggest an advantage to using cloud solutions for your business, it’s essential that everyone evaluates their cloud security and abides by a strategy to protect their data and applications moving forward.
LDI works with clients to first assess their IT and cloud environment before recommending cloud security solutions. We partner with SentinelOne and Datto to implement reliable and secure products explicitly created for cloud security and disaster recovery.
Speak to an LDI representative today to learn more about cloud security solutions that can best serve your company today.