How to Create a Modern Cloud Computing Security Strategy
June 1, 2022
Cloud migration is happening in businesses of all sizes around the world. The days of expansive onsite servers are a thing of the past for many IT teams.
But while cloud migration is a reality, there is still resistance, and even when migration is complete, there are still risks. Security issues in cloud computing are top of mind for CEOs and IT professionals.
But these concerns shouldn’t stop businesses from moving to the cloud. While cybercrime has and continues to evolve, so do the security measures available to businesses to protect their data.
Creating a modern cloud computing security strategy helps businesses proactively identify potential threats, prevent losses and build a culture of cybersecurity in cloud computing from the top down. In this article, we look at five elements to help accomplish an effective cloud computing security strategy.
Understand Common Cloud Security Threats
The first step to building an effective cloud computing security strategy is to understand potential threats. Here are several common threats to be aware of:
- Account hijacking -Whether an employee gives up their password in a phishing scam, or more sophisticated hackers force their own way in, account hijacking is a concern for businesses of all sizes.
By posing as legitimate employees and using their account access, cybercriminals can infiltrate all levels of the operation, obtaining proprietary information and even corrupting or falsifying records.
- Data breaches – Data breaches are of concern for all companies, but particularly for those that handle sensitive third party data, like customer information.
A data breach can be a public relations nightmare, with CEOs and CIOs forced to make statements admitting to the breach and the scale of the data that was disclosed. And even if the data lost was only internal business information, recovering from a lost competitive advantage can be very costly.
- Malware injections – Malware injections allow for ongoing infiltration, so that hackers are able to access company information for as long as the malware goes undetected. Records can be viewed, deleted or falsified, and confidential information and conversations made available to anyone who has access to your systems through the malware.
- Insider threats – Cloud services make remote access easy. This is both one of the major benefits of this kind of data management and also one of the risks.
Without a proper cloud security strategy, the cloud may be accessible to a number of unexpected parties like former employees and contractors, not to mention anyone who has access to cloud-linked devices, whether due to malicious intent or negligence, to use and abuse as they see fit.
- Abuse of cloud services – The advantage of adopting cloud services for your business is you can maintain vast quantities of digital data, without the need for physical space from onsite servers. The problem though, is that if cybercriminals gain access to your cloud, they can take advantage of that same resource to host their own malware and spread it to other unsuspecting organizations.
Assess Your Cloud Security Risks
We all know about basic IT security practices, like choosing complex passwords. But while this is a best practice everywhere, not all businesses face the same cloud security risks.
Creating an effective modern cloud security strategy starts with understanding the specific vulnerabilities facing your business. This includes factors like:
- How many users have access to the cloud?
- Do all users have the same level of access?
- Do employees have cloud-connected devices outside the office, like laptops, tablets or phones?
- How are third parties like contractors granted access to the cloud?
- What procedures are in place to change or revoke permissions?
Create a Culture of Cloud Security
One of the biggest risk factors in maintaining cloud security is something that can’t be eliminated: people. On most days, employees go about their business without giving much thought to cloud security, but when that security fails, it’s often through simple worker negligence and not because of any internal malicious intent.
Creating a culture of cloud security means that employees need to be thoughtful in their everyday actions.
Whether it’s alerting the IT team to suspected infiltrations, or being careful not to leave cloud-connected devices unattended in public places, CIOs need to know that everyone from C-suite leaders to summer interns is aware of cloud security responsibilities and best practices.
Review Your Cloud Security Strategy Regularly
Just as cybercrime evolves, your cloud security strategy has to evolve too. What was an effective security measure a year ago may not be enough today.
Hackers continue to become more sophisticated in their attempts to find opportunities to infiltrate cloud data. Regular cloud security strategy reviews help to identify deficiencies and correct them before they become a real problem.
A regular strategy review also makes sure that security procedures can be updated and distributed in a timely manner, since an effective cloud security strategy involves everyone at all levels of the company.
Choose a Security-Minded Cloud Solutions Partner
One of the reasons cloud-based services can feel risky to business owners and leaders is because the cloud is elsewhere and managed by someone outside the company.
CIOs can build complex and effective internal cloud security strategies, provide all the necessary training, and do regular threat analyses, but without a security-minded cloud solutions partner, internal practices only go so far.
When choosing a cloud solutions partner, leadership needs to ask specific questions and make sure they understand how a potential partner focuses on security. A partner should be able to describe their security practices including how they:
- Manage existing cloud computing security threats
- Stay up to date on evolving security issues
- Support your information security team
- Address and communicate suspected security issues and failures
Protecting your data needs to be top of mind for you and for your cloud partners.
WatServ is an IT solutions provider that helps organizations digitally transform through cloud technologies and managed services.
Serving clients as a trusted advisor since 2006, WatServ provides experience-tested, strategic solutions across all stages of the digital transformation journey. Clients choose WatServ to migrate infrastructure and applications to the cloud, secure critical data, implement disaster recovery, deploy virtual desktop, enable data-readiness for productivity solutions and manage IT environments.
Our clients span a broad range of industries, and we’re a global supplier of IT services for many Brookfield Portfolio Companies. To help our mid-size clients, we provide scalable offerings that simplify cloud adoption and drive business optimization. For enterprise clients, we co-create cloud solutions that enable stability and efficiency for complex IT tools and processes.
With more than 15 years of experience, WatServ has a track record of delivering quantifiable business results and a superior client experience. Ranked as one of Canada’s Top 100 Solution Providers for the last three years in a row, WatServ is always on.