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Your Cloud Strategy Weaknesses (And How To Solve Them)
With almost every company adopting cloud technologies in one way or another, it’s easy to see why cloud computing breaches are on the rise.
Hosting company data in the cloud can be even more secure than on-premise systems. Still, when placing a company’s data and resources into the cloud, the IT department and management must consider the risks of hosting data outside their internal network.
The strategy implemented by the company needs to be capable of protecting the business information from external threats. We’ve compiled a list of the most common weaknesses within these cloud strategies and what you can do to resolve them.
It’s no secret that end users are the most considerable security risk in a business environment. The jump in technology usage within a business environment and the ease of technology access have meant there had been no time for end users to adapt to secure working practices.
Plus, most won’t be considering their security outside of work, so it’s hard to know if they apply the same care and attention to their work.
You need to assume that end users don’t consider what information they share outside the company or how they do it. Assuming the worst will mean your protections will go above and beyond the required standard.
End users are also susceptible to scams and attacks launched by threat actors. Phishing, whaling, and malicious software are just some of the ways end nefarious hackers can trick users into handing over information or jeopardizing company data without being aware of their actions.
Provide regular security awareness training for your end users while providing them with a secure platform for sharing data externally. The activity must be engaging and relevant to your cloud migration steps and include using the secure sharing platform.
Many businesses using cloud services use it ‘out-of-the-box,’ not considering the default state and assuming it’s secure. And many breaches come from settings in cloud systems that haven’t been adapted from their default to match the company’s information security policies.
Since many IT departments are more familiar with securing on-premise infrastructure and are relatively new to cloud infrastructure when they start migrating, it’s easy to miss those settings initially.
But even solving them after the fact leaves some time for breaches to occur before the security settings are changed. IT departments must include this consideration for security settings before any migration occurs.
How to fix it
Ensure your cloud migration strategy includes reviewing all default settings to match your business information security policies.
Poor Access Management
IT departments often overlook access to cloud computing services that don’t have appropriate user management policies and procedures.
Especially in larger companies, if a user is being let go, and the IT department doesn’t have a procedure for informing them, or it isn’t followed as it should be, the user account remains active for longer than it should. This negligence can leave a security weakness in your cloud computing strategy and a user account with access to your company data open to exploitation.
The IT department must regularly review User accounts with access to company data in line with your company policies. If you don’t have any, get some drawn up.
But the IT department isn’t completely innocent. Inactive, excessive, or insecure administration accounts can pose a security problem. Disabling the default administrator account and implementing access control based on role requirements should be a top priority within an IT department.
Implement a User ID and Password Policy at your organization and a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to create, manage, and remove users with access to the information systems. Include your cloud access systems if the logins are different and review these in a similar way to your on-premise or company logon accounts.
Logging user account activities and having the ability to identify unusual or malicious activity can also help reduce the risk of a breach through user account management.
Application User Interfaces (APIs) provide businesses with integration technology to streamline internal business operations. For example, you could link your Active Directory Services to your HR system to automatically update user information and disable them when their contract is terminated.
While this can be a proper system and method of interlacing your different software systems, it can open businesses up to a security breach or more if not configured correctly.
API exploitation is rising, and inadequate or insufficient authorization into a software’s backend code leads to compromise where it’s least expected.
Cloud Strategy Weaknesses: How to fix it
As an end user of a software or cloud access system, request confirmation of security protocols or procedures to ensure your data cannot be breached via the API.
If you’re a software provider, encourage your development team to impose substantial authentication requirements to access the API. Both should conduct regular penetration testing to replicate an attack and resolve any vulnerabilities detected throughout.
Intellectual Property (IP) is what keeps a business running. Losing this can be catastrophic for business functionality, and protections must be in place to prevent that.
Ransomware is the most prominent risk for most businesses with data on-premise, but that kind of risk is quickly heading to cloud platforms, and you need to be prepared.
Data loss, deletion, and alteration are three ways IP can be compromised. If a cloud service is insecure for any reason, attackers could gain access to your data, so it’s crucial to review security settings and vulnerabilities.
For the best IP protection, Business Continuity Plans (BCP) and Disaster Recovery Plans (DRP) must consider cloud access and data loss from those locations.
Cloud Strategy Weaknesses: How to fix it
Conduct frequent backups of your data to prevent total loss of IP. Consider implementing Data Loss Prevention (DLP) policies on your cloud services.
Implement a classification system showing end users and clients how to handle your data and where it can be stored. Keep a register of this and update it regularly. Your cloud security position can only improve, and using these tips, you’ll be well on your way to a strong cloud strategy.