How to Minimize Your Cloud Security Risks

Minimize Your Cloud Security Risks

State of the Cloud Survey in 2018 revealed that 95% of respondents use the cloud for data storage purposes, with the number of businesses incorporating the technology increasing every day. In presence of such rapid growth, the possibility of cloud security risks also rises. Malware can penetrate your system and affect your system, allowing it to enter the cloud.

Overcoming these threats requires swift strategizing, adequate management of your operations and a well-planned execution. But how can this be achieved without sacrificing other technical elements of the cloud, such as the flexibility it offers your processes? Here are some strategies that will help you minimize your cloud security risk without hampering the pace at which you conduct your business.

1. Train Employees
The most common source of security threat in an organization happens to be the lack of awareness among employees. They lack security-related education necessary for battling such threats. A solid starting point is to hire a professional trainer who will teach your team how to develop and deploy security strategies, how to update your system’s security measures in time, while also demonstrating defense measures against threats.

Since security is the responsibility of every employee, try to involve the entire workforce of the organization into these training sessions. Keep your team updated with response sheets that will test their promptness and adaptability for a security threat scenario. It would also help to run unannounced security drills as this will keep your workers on their toes.

2. Build a Reliable Data Backup Plan
As we rely more on cloud computing, more data is being transferred in and out of the servers. This means that there is a higher chance of data being corrupted or misused. If your data is not backed up in time, you might end up with corrupt files that would compromise your operations. Make sure that you have a secure backup plan ready in case a mishap occurs. Additionally, distributing data and application across multiple locations will further help your offsite storage and disaster recovery needs.

3. Monitor Data Access
Backing up data is not enough to ensure its sanctity remains protected—limiting its access to only certain employees improves the stability of this data considerably. In other words, the smaller number of hands that touch the data, the better. It also becomes very easy to track down the source of a data breach when portals to access the data are limited and targeted.

This means that, although it it is necessary to grant access to some workers, it would not be wise to give them access permanently. In such cases, your IT managers can take command, monitoring the access of data by establishing access controls. This also reduces the number of access codes, which would limit them to only one sign-on (SSO) authentication.

4. Encrypt the Data
So far, we have learned how to store and access data to minimize your cloud security risks. But, the access to such data should never be independent of encryption. No matter how small the data is, it needs to be protected cryptographically. It might seem unnecessary at times, but remember that there is always the possibility of data breach. If the data is encrypted, you will not be anxious of the possibility of improper handling or unauthorized access of the data midway. In short, your data will always be in safe hands.

5. Pilot Scenarios
Once ready with necessary arrangements for cloud data security, never forget to put it to the test. Devise scenarios where you test whether or not the system you have created can be trespassed or tampered with. The best path forward is to hire someone who has not been in the process of system development because they will not be familiar with any developmental codes. All in all, piloting helps in preventing cloud security threats instead of rectifying them. This move also saves time.

Once you apply the strategies outlined above, you will see a newfound fluidity in your workflow—the purer the data, the quicker the response time. Your decisions will be informed, and you won’t have to worry about any data leak in the course of the data transfer process. By taking these steps towards minimizing cloud security risks, you will be able to secure the integrity of your data with a stronger foundation.

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Cloud Security Challenges for Enterprises

Why Enterprises Should Adopt a Multi-Cloud Strategy

To expand business reach owners are moving to cloud-based environments where they have the flexibility of choosing the capacity of the cloud based on their relevant requirements. Additionally, the cloud gives you the option of accessing your system files and making adjustments to them anytime, anywhere. In short, the cloud is cheaper, more efficient, and market ready.

However, security has long been a concern for cloud-based services, and this is the reason why some firms still refuse to move their application to the cloud. Some of the leading such challenges are outlined below to help you understand the matter.

Tackling DDoS Attacks

Any enterprise that collects more data becomes prone to malicious attacks. One of the most prominent of these attacks is the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks which can cripple a server for hours or even days; these are designed to overload the server with malicious commands that continue running on the server and consume exponential amounts of system ram so that the server doesn’t run smoothly. These attacks may be thwarted if we first take proper measures well in advance, such as deploying DDoS protection that is specifically designed to prevent this attack. Eliminating the possibility of these attacks will help a company restore its compromised wealth, trust, and brand authority.

Avoiding Data Breaches

Another prevalent type of security challenge is data breaches that take within the server; these breaches are mostly external, but sometimes the internal members of the service providers also become a reason for the violation. More than to the customer, a data breach is a threat to the service provider. The service provider has to meet several security compliances and policies. A failure to keep those intact policies results in direct defamation of the brand of the service provider. Therefore, the service providers take proper measures to eliminate those threats and use provider as well as customer lever encryption. Most of the time, the breach happens due to the customer’s improper conduct of sensitive information.

As a necessary security measure, sensitive data on the cloud must be encrypted and given minimal access especially when the cloud is public. Further, choosing the right vendor who gives you added securities such as firewall and software support system would also minimize the probability of a data breach.

Overcoming Data Loss

Another kind of security challenge is tackling data loss from the cloud. Data files can become corrupted in the cloud for several reasons which include improper planning, data mixing, and mishandling. Again, the service provider does not have much space to be responsible for these threats. While maintaining your data, especially the system files, make sure that you close all portals before leaving the session. As a fundamental measure, always keep at least one copy of the data with you, in your drives. The only way you can bring back your data will be that extra copy of the data. It’s very crucial, so make sure you have made the copy.

Strengthening Access Points

One of the actual advantages of the cloud is that it gives you the flexibility of accessing your data from different virtual points. That is, even though your data is primarily stored in one server, you can potentially access it from anywhere else where you have a portal. However, these portals are not always secured sufficiently. To be maintained, security measures require time and funding. Increasing the numbers of access points will invite massive budget imbalance. In such a scenario, the access points not providing sufficient security might fall prey to hackers and cause breaches or loss of data. As a solution, one might want to restrict the numbers of access points so that a proper security model for these access points can be maintained.

Prompt Notifications and Alerts

This challenge sprouts from the multiplicity of access points. As pointed out earlier, we should aim to restrict the numbers of access points. Now, even if a threat arises, it will be easier to locate and eliminate. Additionally, the notification and alerts system will be able to function better, as it won’t seem to spam the notification system. Since the notification system is the cornerstone of your security system, it must be properly maintained—the messages should be prompt, clear, and explanatory. If not kept in such a manner, the notifications won’t make sense to everyone in the company, nor they would be informed in time.

With the right parameters, one can easily tackle these cloud security challenges for an enterprise. Just have the right service provider, technology, and planning by your shoulder to keep the environment running smoothly.

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Best Practices for Cloud Security

Best Practices for Cloud Security

There was once a time when cloud security systems were very much able to tackle imminent threats through their inbuilt support systems. But, hackers have pushed forward, and it would appear that no data is secure from threats if additional security is not put in place. However, there are some handy precautions that you can take to safeguard your data from slipping into wrong hands. Read this article to learn more about best practices for maintaining and improving cloud security.

Transfer Encryption
First and foremost, you must ensure that the encryption of data in transition is end-to-end. Third parties being able to look into data has turned out to be one of the primary sources of data breaches. Companies should conduct all interactions on servers over SSL transmission (TLS 1.2) to ensure optimum security. Also, the SSL should be programmed in such a way that it terminates only within the cloud service provider network.

Storage Encryption
Although it is necessary to encrypt data in transition, encrypting stored data is no less critical. Most of the data collected will happen to be sensitive in most companies. If you have that data, it becomes your responsibility — keeping stored data encrypted keeps it intact from the threats that come from within; this also helps you comply with privacy policies, regulatory principles, and obligations of your company vis-à-vis particular client or company as a whole. Generally, a cloud service provider provides field-level encryption where the customers get to specify the fields they want to be encrypted. However, AES-256 is an excellent tool for encrypting data on cloud disks as it also generates regularly rotated master key that helps keep the encryption keys safe.

User-Level Data Security
You must opt for role-based access control (RBAC) features through which you will be able to enable your customers to set user-specific access and grant specific permissions to their data. You must ensure that you are not defying any law; therefore, you cannot take non-granted looks into the user’s data. Thus, add protective layers to the data to meet compliance with data security standards.

Vulnerability Testing
You should rigorously use the vulnerability and incident response tools as provided by your service provider. Solutions from these incident response tools render automated security assessments which can test security threats and decrease the levels, and threat severity, in critical security audits. For better security, these tools should be used rigorously, almost on a daily basis. But, depending on the nature of your data, the assessment cycle can be readjusted, and auto cycles can be scheduled.

Deletion Policy
You must never leave data unattended. Data has its cycles of use, and if the cycle of one data set is complete and no further processing is required, that data should be deleted from the server. Review the deletion policy from your provider and make sure that your information is programmed to be removed at a pre-specified time as mentioned in your contract.

Certifications
Another overarching measure for security enhancement is having proper compliance certifications — check what certifications your provider has. The two most essential certifications are PCI DSS, which signifies that the SaaS provider has undergone detailed audits that ensure secure storage and transmission of sensitive data, and SOC Type II, which tells that the internal risk management processes, regulatory compliance oversight, as well as vendor management programs are being carried out by the provider successfully.

Virtual Private Cloud
Having a private virtual cloud and network has its security advantages. In this scenario, you have entire control and access to your data and no other client. You don’t need to share the cloud with others, which inevitably results in increased security. The customer can securely connect to the corporate data, and all traffic in their VPC can be routed directly to their corporate data center.

These are some of the practices that must be incorporated for cloud security. The essential enhancer of cloud security is ultimately your service provider. So, make sure that you have one that’s trustable and experienced.

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Top 5 Cybersecurity Challenges for the Financial Service Industry

Cybersecurity Challenges for the Financial Service Industry

Every year, millions of consumers are affected by cybersecurity threats. It does not matter how prepared an organization is, hackers find new ways to break into systems and cause information breaches. The problem is that much more sensitive when it comes to financial service organizations. With crucial data at stake, organizations face many challenges in beating these threats. Elaborated below are the top 5 cybersecurity challenges for financial service organizations.

Evolution of Organization

Technology is transforming our everyday lives; what we do today seems to become obsolete in the next year. The progression of technology is so rapid that we cannot afford to embrace stable scenarios. The same mentality goes for the finance industry. Customers expect new features to be continuously extended; they want attractive interfaces with zero loading wait. Although these features are appealing, customers often don’t realize that these things might come at a cost.

Often during updates glitches may be introduced. Additionally, financial organizations need to maintain security measures and not let data become compromised at the expense of exciting new features. The government also sometimes imposes specific restrictions on the elements that a finance organization can extend to the public. Therefore, the pressure is double fold—at one hand they want to forge modernity and satisfy the customers’ expectations, on the other, they must conform to security measures.

Evolving Threats

Believe it or not, many of the minds involved in breaching information are much more skilled and intelligent than the ones involved in creating the information base. Every year, the loss due to cybercrime continues rising. Hackers have access to all minute details; complexities that are unethical to be explored by even engineers. With such restrictions, engineers often find it challenging to match pace with overriding hackers.

Security matters become worse when hackers keep evolving their attacking strategies and growing more dangerous with every advancement; they have ready procedures for future updates and can form specialized teams to target particular releases. In such scenarios where criminals are always one step ahead of the organization, tackling threats becomes very difficult, resulting in a significant loss of data, productivity, and time.

Security Planning

You must acknowledge that cybersecurity is more than just a technology problem; it requires a strategic approach to optimizing the system entirely. Building a firewall is indeed a crucial step toward real-time security, but your defense arsenal cannot be limited to one measure. You must also weave a strong cybersecurity web into the full management structure. It is vital to learn to prioritize data based on a sensitivity index. The higher the index, the more intricate security system you must deploy to your data.

Changing Dynamics and Increased Threats

Organizations cannot lag when concerning the expectation of its customers. Features such as e-wallet support, internet banking, and SMS banking have become increasingly popular. While being handy and easy to access with your fingerprints and quick passcodes, these invite potential risks too. Often security updates are not installed on smartphones can make the apps installed vulnerable to attacks. With continuous updates, firms can reduce the threat level, but it eventually depends on the device’s security level. An old platform will soon succumb to internal and external threats and will quickly perish.

Threats Inside Out

It is often reported that internal sources cause security breaches. In some circumstances, employees find sensitive data lucrative and try to smuggle it out of the system. If not, then they might use it for their benefits — such deals bring no significant wealth since the banking systems employ 2-step verification in most domains, but it nonetheless affects the reputation of the organization. The faithfulness of employees needs to be in constant check to reduce the scope of such threats. Employing strict surveillance and encrypting data may be the initial measures that can be taken.

We have discussed some of the most prominent challenges that financial service organizations are facing. Some things cannot be avoided, such as meeting customer’s expectations, upgrading services, etc, but what is equally necessary at the same time is that advancements don’t come at the expense of security. By seeking help from experts, organizations can become prepared to face these genuine challenges.

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Understanding Cloud Security and Its Importance

cloud - securityCloud security is still an ever growing concern, despite the various set of advantages it provides to the individuals and companies alike. As per a recent survey, there are still close to 90% of companies which remain skeptical about putting in 100% trust in the Cloud infrastructure, simply due to the Cloud security problems.

Understanding Cloud security

Despite so many trust issues, there are a lot of things which organizations are yet to realize when it comes to Cloud security. The Cloud is not an insecure platform; the security model is relatively different than some of the other platforms available in the market currently. Due to this very reason, there are a lot of new relationships which need to be fulfilled with respect to data storage.

Cloud centers can be quite secure, especially more secure than their traditional counterparts. However, in order to understand Cloud security, the security aspect needs to be understood in the right context.

Cloud security myths busted

In order to ensure maximum security, it is imperative to review the security posture and understand what controls need to be put in place to enforce it. In order to be secure, any organization wants a platform that can offer an array of services which can address different requirements in one go.

• Breaches: However, a lot of people feel that there are a lot of breaches within the Cloud storage. On this day, it can be clearly stated that this is one of the biggest myths till date. Internet threats are a bigger threat as compared to Cloud security breaches, simply because Internet attacks are dynamic and can’t be detected easily.
• Not the client’s concern: At the same time, when it comes to maintenance, a lot of people differ in their views. Some people feel that since the Cloud services are provided by a third party, the security will always be lax. However, that is never the case.
• No management needed: While the infrastructure of the Cloud is managed, it is not safe to assume that the security is also a managed service. For this very reason, given this assumption, many client organizations assume that the service provider has taken all the necessary precautions for securing the Cloud service, which often ends up creating rather than solving Cloud security related problems.
• Single tenant systems vs. multi tenant systems: Multi tenant systems offer double security when it comes to a comparison with single tenant systems. There is a double security layer, which makes it even more secure than its counterpart. With multi tenant systems, there is always a third layer of protection called logical content isolation, which helps take the security up a notch.

Importance of Cloud Security:

When it comes to the importance of Cloud security, there are no two ways about it. With so many recent breaches and technological attacks, maintaining security has become all the more important. For this very reason, companies are become more and more particular about risk and the unknown disadvantages they fear of the unknown. Since the Cloud structure is still relatively a mystery, there is a lot to be investigated, especially from a security perspective. But this does not negate the fact that organizations are increasingly looking for Cloud service providers which are stable, secure and offer more than one layer of security for their client’s data.