Cloud security best practices: what's the best way to secure your cloud environment?

Accelerated digital transformation initiatives can increase your exposure to risk. As data breaches can have significant consequences, it’s now crucial to follow cloud security best practices.

Data breaches and ransomware attacks have quickly become the norm. Lately, it seems like we can’t even get through a week without reading about a massive data breach.

The Capital One data breach and the whole nation of Bulgaria getting hacked give us all considerable cause for concern. It has to make you wonder why these security events keep making the headlines.

More often than not, cloud vulnerabilities are created when companies move data and applications to the cloud. Sometimes it happens because there was a significant skills gap within the organization or the company was in such a hurry (to move to the cloud) that they cut corners and created vulnerabilities.

Digital transformation initiatives also led to the development of numerous enterprise apps and other related business technologies. Potential vulnerabilities in these third-party applications can also expose your cloud environment to risk.

So it’s important to address these vulnerabilities and follow cloud security best practices to better protect your sensitive data.

The following best practices shouldn’t be taken as a one-size-fits-all type of solution. Instead, they should be used to complement general cybersecurity best practices, best practices provided by your cloud service providers, and the regulatory compliance requirements that are specific to the countries you operate in.

Top 5 cloud security best practices

1. Perform due diligence

Like anything else in the business world, it all starts with performing due diligence. So before you commit to a cloud services provider, do your homework and find out how they plan to secure your enterprise data.

Many cloud companies use a shared responsibility model for security. So make sure that you’re able to deliver on your part of the deal before signing a long-term contract (but it doesn’t end there).

Due diligence must become part of your organizational culture. It should be performed across the lifecycle of the applications and systems deployed on the cloud.

This means that you have to engage in the following activities, regularly:

  • Planning
  • Development and deployment
  • Consistent operations management (to ensure day to day protection)
  • Establish decommissioning protocols

2. Manage access control

Once your company has moved to the cloud, it’s vital to efficiently manage access control. It’s important because you don’t want anyone (and everyone) to access your data without proper clearance.

This makes it critical for enterprises to develop robust access control policies. It’s the best way to effectively manage users working within your enterprise cloud environment. In this scenario, it's best to always assign specific rights based on the responsibilities of each user.

Weak user identity and access management leads to data breaches, so it’s crucial to be proactive and take steps to ensure adequate access control.

In other words, don’t allow free access to data that has nothing to do with their job description. 

To better manage access to enterprise data, you can engage in the following activities:

  • Assign user access rights
  • Enable multi-factor authentication (to minimize the risk of credential compromise)
  • Develop and enforce resource access policies

3. Encrypt sensitive data in the cloud

Encryption is key to securing your data in the event of a data breach. As a result, encryption should never be an afterthought.

If your cloud services provider doesn’t provide encryption by default, you should seriously consider moving your digital assets to another company.

The cloud encryption solution you choose should be robust and able to protect your sensitive customer data when it’s in motion and when it’s at rest.

You can learn more about encryption protocols HERE.

4. Monitor your cloud environment in real-time

If you take the traditional approach to security, you’ll only be defending your infrastructure when an attack occurs. This approach just doesn’t work anymore.

In the age of data, you have to eliminate the threat before the attack. The types of cyber attacks we’re dealing with today are complex and rapidly evolving.

So it’ll be critical for companies to take a proactive approach to cloud security and monitor the enterprise cloud environment in real-time.

5. Engage in frequent security audits and penetration tests

Maintaining robust security on the cloud or in an on-premise data center is an ongoing exercise. This is because security gaps in the system can appear in your technology infrastructure at any time without warning.

To stay a step ahead of hackers, companies need to engage in security audits and penetration testing to discover and close the gaps in the system. Engaging in these activities regularly will reduce your risk exposure to a data breach.

Companies that successfully secure their enterprise infrastructure also regularly engage in staff training workshops. Human error has consistently been one of the primary causes of data breaches, so it will be important to address this issue and reaffirm these cloud security best practices.

At Artmotion, we are serious about cloud security. Our military-grade encryption solutions will ensure consistent protection against evolving security threats.

To learn more about securing your cloud environment with military-grade encryption, schedule a FREE call now!

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