Cloud migration is a growing trend as businesses recognize the competitive advantages they can gain from cloud computing. Cloud computing allows companies to share and store their data online for easy access and retrieval. They also make business operations more efficient and reduce the need for critical physical infrastructure like storage servers and file cabinets. This shift to cloud computing also helps companies manage employees working remotely, as this has become necessary since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, there are security challenges associated with running a business on the cloud. Hackers often target them and exploit their vulnerabilities. This is a problem because successful attacks can severely affect a company’s ability to cater to its customers. The consequences differ according to the type of attack, but none are favorable. The common types of attacks are data breaches, data leaks, DDoS attacks, malware infections, and ransomware attacks.
Depending on the situation, the cyberattack can cause service disruptions, network downtime, reputational damage, data privacy regulation non-compliance, and business shut down. Companies should use every tool at their disposal to keep their cloud infrastructure secure. Businesses that operate in multi-cloud environments are more at risk because it can be challenging to monitor the entire system to spot and repel cyberattacks in real time.
Such businesses should employ cloud security posture management (CSPM) to secure their cloud systems and detect threats before they cause harm. CSPM is ideal for companies undergoing digital transformation and adopting multi-cloud infrastructures to enhance their operations. Without it, hackers can take advantage of the complex nature of these multi-cloud systems and slip between the cracks.
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How To Ensure a Secure Business Cloud Environment
Operating your business in a cloud environment is beneficial but risky. However, you can take the following steps to reduce these risks and protect your organization from cybercriminals:
Choose a reliable cloud host
Since you will be hosting a website and storing and sharing data on the cloud, you will need a cloud host. It would be best to choose a reliable cloud host provider so your data and website content will remain secure and out of cybercriminals’ reach. Before working with any service provider, you should consider the following:
Read online reviews about any cloud host service provider on your shortlist. Make sure they are mostly positive because you will likely be using their service long-term. The ideal service provider should be able to grant you access to your data and files whenever you need them. They should also guarantee that your website will stay up 24/7 throughout the year.
- Proximity to data centers
Their data center should be close to you and your customers, so there will be low latency. Most cloud host service providers tell their potential clients the location of their cloud data centers. Use this information to make your choice.
- Cloud security setup
Security should be essential to any cloud host you use for your business. Ensure that the service provider has cloud security features like intrusion detection systems, access controls, data encryption, firewalls, and other elements that can safeguard your data from cyber threats.
Set up an Identity and Access Management System
You should configure your cloud system to verify the identity of anyone who tries to access it. You can do this with an Identity and Access Management (IAM) system. IAM systems also allow you to restrict authorized personnel to certain parts of the cloud system to prevent them from viewing and extracting sensitive data. Also, establish stringent cybersecurity policies to protect your cloud infrastructure further. Consider implementing the following policies:
- Cloud access controls
Access and privileges given to any authorized user of your cloud system should be based on their job role in your company. This will limit the damage if a cybercriminal obtains their login details.
- Unique passwords
Ensure that everyone in your organization uses unique and tough-to-guess passwords to protect their company account. This makes it hard for hackers to guess it correctly or successfully conduct brute-force attacks. Also, letting your employees use the same, default, or simple passwords for their accounts will give hackers easy access to your cloud environment.
- Monitoring and log management
Hire cybersecurity professionals and make them constantly monitor the activities in your cloud systems. This constant monitoring will help them detect and investigate suspicious activities so they can remediate any resulting threat. They should also regularly audit your company’s access credentials to revoke past employees’ access to the system and adjust the privileges of current employees as their job roles change.
- Multi-factor authentication
It is not enough to rely on passwords; therefore, you should implement multi-factor authentication as an extra layer of protection for your cloud system. Make your employees input a code sent to their work phone or email, or verify their identity otherwise after writing their password when logging in to their company account.
Be Aware of the Risks and Responsibilities Associated With Cloud Computing
Cloud host service providers are responsible for the physical protection of their cloud servers and infrastructure and keep them operational. Meanwhile, you have to protect the cloud system on your end. This shared responsibility model is standard practice in cloud computing. Therefore, you should carefully understand the responsibilities the service provider will handle so you can act accordingly. They usually include this information in their terms of service, so it is best that you read it.
Find out their plans for data backup and recovery in case an unforeseen circumstance makes you lose the data stored on their platform. Verify who will own the data you save on the platform and how much access the cloud host service provider will have to it. Ensure you only work with service providers that comply with data privacy laws and have proven to address data breaches and other security issues effectively.
Every business owner that uses cloud computing for their operations should consider these cloud security tips so their organization can stay protected and free from cyberattacks. Hackers and other cyberattackers frequently target companies that use cloud systems so they can steal their data, disrupt their business, demand ransom payments, and destroy their reputation.
These consequences are severe and should not be taken lightly. You should carefully vet cloud host service providers before migrating core parts of your business to their platforms. Lastly, if you will be working in a multi-cloud environment, consider adopting Cloud Security Posture Management to cover the blind spots that malicious actors can potentially exploit.