Tactics to Go Fully Secure in the Cloud

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Cloud adoption has increased over the last few years. The cloud computing market is projected to skyrocket even further to $411 billion by 2020 as businesses look to capitalize on the advantages cloud services hold over more traditional on-premises architectures, such as cost reductions, infinite scalability, flexibility and more.

As a result, cloud-based technologies have quickly emerged and become accepted as a business imperative for forward-thinking organizations that want to become more agile.

On the downside, recent evidence suggests that the rapid adoption of cloud-based services may be creating more risk than organizations realize. A survey from Firemon revealed that 60% of respondents feel that cloud-based business initiatives are moving faster than security teams are able to safeguard them.

This interesting dynamic, coupled with the copious amount of data stored in the cloud, makes these new environments obvious targets for cyber-criminals to take advantage of, and businesses now need to ensure their security strategies protect these critical cloud assets. What are the best ways businesses can beef up their cloud security posture immediately and set themselves up for success?

New environment, new strategy 
The cloud is different from on-premises resources, so it’s only natural that securing cloud assets requires a different approach. In an on-premise environment, the business sets up their entire infrastructure and hosts everything in-house, whereas in a cloud environment, the third-party vendor hosts everything.

This creates a dynamic where security becomes a shared responsibility between the provider and company, making it pivotal for internal security teams to work in lockstep with cloud providers to ensure something as simple as configuration change by either party doesn’t leave the organization vulnerable to outside attacks.

On top of robust collaboration between teams, businesses moving to the cloud should be even more aggressive in deploying environment-wide defenses and data security measures to ensure a potential misstep doesn’t lead to valuable enterprise information being compromised.

Provide comprehensive and regular training
A “set it and forget it” mentality isn’t feasible when it comes to cloud security, as the general infrastructure is constantly being updated. Because of this, it’s necessary for employees to be kept up-to-date on technology changes and other aspects they should know to be able to do their jobs without putting the organization at risk. 

The logical step forward is for businesses to conduct regular security trainings that not only cover the basics but also outline all relevant best practices to eliminate exposure across departments. Whenever the security strategy gets tweaked, employees should be kept up to speed on the changes and adjustments they need to make going forward.

Deploy multiple defenses
In today’s day and age, data breaches have almost become inevitable. Hackers are consistently searching for new ways to outmaneuver their targets, and there seems to be a new breach making headlines in the news every few hours. A holistic strategy that protects the organization in the event of a cyber intrusion has become a necessity, especially with some much sensitive information being stored in cloud environments. 

Technologies that provide threat intelligence, detection, network monitoring and the like are all great to have in an effort to keep bad actors from making their way past the perimeter, but it’s equally important to protect enterprise data from within for when offensive technologies and the security team managing them miss something. 

One way to achieve this is by encrypting all data, both at rest and in-motion, so that if bad actors make their way into an organization’s infrastructure, valuable enterprise data will be useless to them because the correct precautions were put in place. A mix of more offensive and defensive security technologies and practices make up a balanced security defense strategy.

Cloud security requires a careful mix
Quite simply, it’s not enough to simply check the box on cloud security. A complete strategy that includes diligent collaboration between internal security teams and cloud providers, frequent, company-wide trainings and the right blend of technologies is the only path forward. 

Businesses will continue to adopt cloud services due to cost and other benefits, but until executives choose to go all in on securing them, they might as well leave the lobby door open for hackers to walk in after they leave for the night.

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