Taking advantage of cloud computing benefits while protecting your organization’s valuable data.
Many businesses are shifting workloads to the cloud to increase efficiency and streamline workloads. Cloud computing can offer organizations a competitive advantage, but it’s important not to rush into cloud adoptions without understanding the risks involved.
Top 5 Security Risks Organizations Face When Moving to the Cloud
- Limited Visibility into Network Operations –When moving workloads and assets to the cloud, organizations forfeit a certain level of visibility into network operations. This is because the responsibility of managing some of the systems and policies shifts to the cloud service provider. Depending on the type of service model being used, the shift of responsibility may vary in scope. As a result, organizations must be able to monitor their network infrastructure without the use of network-based monitoring and logging.
- Malware –By moving large amounts of sensitive data to an internet-connected cloud environment, organizations open themselves up to additional cyber threats. Malware attacks are a common threat to cloud security, with studies showing that nearly 90% of organizations are more likely to experience data breaches as cloud usage increases. As cybercriminals continue to become increasingly savvy with their attack delivery methods, organizations must be aware of the evolving threat landscape.
- Compliance –Data privacy is becoming a growing concern, and as a result, compliance regulations and industry standards such as GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI DSS are becoming more stringent. One of the keys to ensuring ongoing compliance is by overseeing who can access data and what exactly they can do with that access. Cloud systems typically allow for large-scale user access, so if the proper security measures (i.e., access controls) aren’t in place, it can be difficult to monitor access across the network.
- Loss of Data –Data leakage is a growing concern for organizations, with more than 60% citing it as their biggest cloud security concern. As previously mentioned, cloud computing requires organizations to give up some of their control to the cloud service provider (CSP). This can mean that the security of some of your organization’s critical data may fall into the hands of someone outside of your IT department. If the CSP experiences a breach or attack, your organization will not only lose its data and intellectual property but will also be held responsible for any resulting damages.
- Inadequate Due Diligence – The move to the cloud should not be taken lightly. Similar to a third-party vendor, when working with a CSP, it’s important to conduct thorough due diligence to ensure that your organization has a complete understanding of the scope of work needed to successfully and efficiently move to the cloud. In many cases, organizations are unaware of how much work is involved in a transition and the CSP’s security measures often are overlooked.
How to Bolster Security in Cloud Computing
To take full advantage of the benefits of cloud computing, organizations will need to make deliberate efforts to maintain security in cloud environments. The following are leading ways organizations can improve security in cloud computing.
- Risk Assessments –Conducting cybersecurity risk assessments is one way to analyze your organization’s cybersecurity posture and the efficacy of the security controls that currently are deployed. The goal of an assessment is to identify any potential vulnerabilities or gaps in security so your IT team can make informed decisions about how to improve security going forward.
- User Access Controls –Implementing user access controls is another critical component of ensuring successful cloud security due to its typical ease of access compared to on-premises environments. Organizations should consider methods like zero-trust security, which operates under the idea that no one should be implicitly trusted with open network access. Instead, users should only be given access to the critical functions needed for their specific role.
- Automation –The threat landscape is constantly growing, and cyber attackers are becoming more sophisticated each day. As a result, many IT departments are bogged down with a large number of security alerts coming in at a rapid pace. By automating key initiatives such as cybersecurity monitoring, threat intelligence collection, and vendor risk assessments, teams can spend their time on more high-priority tasks as opposed to manually reviewing all potential threats the network is faced with.
- Continuous Monitoring – Arguably the most important component of a successful cybersecurity risk management program is continuous monitoring. As organizations increasingly move to cloud computing models, continuous monitoring will become even more of a necessity for ensuring proper cyber hygiene on an ongoing basis. The digital landscape is shifting rapidly and if organizations are relying on point-in-time assessments to determine their security posture, more often than not it will be too late to act should a problem arise.
Talk to a cybersecurity expert today to determine your organization’s best approach to cloud computing security.