Data Security Challenges in Cloud Computing

Data Security Challenges in Cloud Computing

With the increase in data volumes, data handling has become the talk of the town. As companies begin to move to the cloud, there is a higher emphasis ensuring everything is safe and secure, and that there is no risk of data hacking or breaches. Since the cloud allows people to work without hardware and software investments, users can gain flexibility and data agility. However, since the Cloud is often shared between a lot of users, security becomes an immediate concern for Cloud owners.

Security Issues Within The Cloud
Cloud vendors provide a layer of security to user’s data. However, it is still not enough since the confidentiality of data can often be at risk. There are various types of attacks, which range from password guessing attacks and man-in-the-middle attacks to insider attacks, shoulder surfing attacks, and phishing attacks. Here is a list of the security challenges which are present within the cloud:

Data Protection and Misuse: When different organizations use the cloud to store their data, there is often a risk of data misuse. To avoid this risk, there is an imminent need to secure the data repositories. To achieve this task, one can use authentication and restrict access control for the cloud’s data.

Locality: Within the cloud world, data is often distributed over a series of regions; it is quite challenging to find the exact location of the data storage. However, as data is moved from one country to another, the rules governing the data storage also change; this brings compliance issues and data privacy laws into the picture, which pertain to the storage of data within the cloud. As a cloud service provider, the service provider has to inform the users of their data storage laws, and the exact location of the data storage server.

Integrity: The system needs to be rigged in such a manner so to provide security and access restrictions. In other words, data access should lie with authorized personnel only. In a cloud environment, data integrity should be maintained at all times to avoid any inherent data loss. Apart from restricting access, the permissions to make changes to the data should be limited to specific people, so that there is no widespread access problem at a later stage.

Access: Data security policies concerning the access and control of data are essential in the long run. Authorized data owners are required to give part access to individuals so that everyone gets only the required access for parts of the data stored within the data mart. By controlling and restricting access, there is a lot of control and data security which can be levied to ensure maximums security for the stored data.

Confidentiality: There is a lot of sensitive data which might be stored in the cloud. This data has to have extra layers of security on it to reduce the chances of breaches and phishing attacks; this can be done by the service provider, as well as the organization. However, as a precaution, data confidentiality should be of utmost priority for sensitive material.

Breaches: Breaches within the cloud are not unheard. Hackers can breach security parameters within the cloud, and steal the data which might otherwise be considered confidential for organizations. On the contrary, a breach can be an internal attack, so organizations need to lay particular emphasis in tracking employee actions to avoid any unwanted attacks on stored data.

Storage: For organizations, the data is being stored and made available virtually. However, for service providers, it is necessary to store the data in physical infrastructures, which makes the data vulnerable and conducive to physical attacks.

These are some of the security issues which come as a part of the cloud environment. However, these are not exactly difficult to overcome, especially with the available levels of technological resources these days. There is a lot of emphasis on ensuring maximum security for the stored data so that it complies with the rules and regulations, as well as the organization’s internal compliance policies.

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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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Top 6 Methods to Protect Your Cloud Data from Hackers

Top 6 Methods to Protect Your Cloud Data from Hackers

Cloud computing is a widely preferred platform across organizations. The fluid data exchange and the liberty of 24×7 access to data allows firms to operate continuously. Although the cloud service is exceptionally convenient, one should be equally aware that data might be compromised if companies don’t take appropriate measures. The vast collection of raw and processed data in the cloud attracts potential hackers to lurk around, leading to possible information breaches. One needs to know the complete whereabouts of their data, even if handed over to an expert. Here are a few tips your business can use to ensure the security of data in your cloud.

Ensure Local Backup

It is the essential precaution that one can take towards cloud data security. Misuse of data is one thing, but losing possible data from your end may result in dire consequences. Especially in the IT world, where information is everything organizations depend upon; losing data files could not only lead to a significant financial loss but may also attract legal action.

Avoid Storing Sensitive Information

Many companies refrain from storing personal data on their servers, and there is sensibility behind the decision — saving sensitive becomes a responsibility of the organization. Compromise with such data can lead to gruesome troubles for the firm. Giants such as Facebook have been dragged to court under such issues in the past. Additionally, uploading sensitive data is faulty from the customer’s perspective too. Merely avoid storing such sensitive data on the cloud.

Use Encryption

Encrypting data before uploading it to the cloud is an excellent precaution against threats from unwanted hackers. Use local encryption as an additional layer of security. Known as zero-knowledge proof in cryptography, this method will even protect your data against service providers and administrators themselves. Therefore, choose a service provider who provides a prerequisite data encryption. Also if you’re already opting for an encrypted cloud service, having a preliminary round of encryption for your files will give you a little extra security.

Apply Reliable Passwords

Utilize discretion and don’t make your passwords predictable. Additionally, introduce a two-step verification process to enhance the security level of your data. Even if there is a breach in one security step, the other protects the data. Use updated patch levels so that hackers cannot break-in easily. There are numerous tips on the Internet to make a good password. Use your creativity to strengthen the password further and keep changing it at regular intervals.

Additional Security Measures

Although passwords are good for keeping data encrypted, applying additional measures are also important. Encryption stops unauthorized access of data, but it doesn’t secure its existence. There are chances that your data might get corrupted over the time or that many people will have access to your data and password security seems unreliable. Your cloud must be secured with antivirus programs, admin controls, and other features that help protect data. A secure cloud system and its dedicated servers must use the right security tools and must function according to privilege controls to move data.

Test Your Security

Testing might sound like a minor task, but it can make a significant difference. Testing may include examining your cloud to see how well it is performing in association with its security setup. You can also hire ethical hackers to test your system’s security level and check if it has decayed over time; this may also provide a window to the possible loopholes that may allow hacking from unknown sources. Never assume that your cloud system is always safe. Keeping cloud data safe requires constant action.

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Security Advantages of Cloud-Based Systems for Media and Entertainment Businesses

Security Advantages of Cloud-Based Systems for Media and Entertainment Businesses

Cloud-based systems have emerged as a viable platform to address the security issues of both media and entertainment businesses across the globe. Of course, the boom in the sector has paved the way for a plethora of opportunities for the entertainment industry, but, on the flip side, the amounts of risk involved has also increased tremendously.

The incidents of cybercrime have affected many of the top media service providers due to this reason, smaller businesses remain at risk of possible intellectual property rights violations. However, the cloud-based storage systems offer a practical algorithm to process and manage a vast workflow securely.

In addition to the numerous advantages such as ease of access and secure storage of data, security features of cloud-based solutions make the Cloud one of the best possible options for the media and entertainment businesses.

Let’s have a look at some of the most prominent security advantages of cloud-based systems.

Data Encryption
Robust data encryptions within cloud-based security systems have substantially reduced the possibilities of data breaches; these solutions offer a layered approach that consists of security intelligence, key management, and secure access controls. Cloud-based systems give the required freedom to companies to choose their users who will be accessing the data that has been outsourced to the cloud. This way, any attempts to tamper with personal or profession data can be thwarted.

Most companies face the threat of internal data theft by their employees, and stronger access controls can nip these threats in the bud. The multi-layered security features weed out the possibilities of a breach of data to a great extent. Data, irrespective of its type, needs to be protected at all times. Any violations can be hazardous to the goodwill and the functioning of an enterprise.

Avoid DDoS Attacks
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks can result in hefty losses for entertainment companies. Hackers target the website by directing traffic from several sources to the end website, and, as a result, the system gets overwhelmed. These DDoS attacks may tarnish the image of the company, as clients begin to lose trust.

Cloud-based security systems guard this imminent threat with real-time scanning of potential risks; this function is further used as a warning tool for various systems which allows for the tracking of incoming threats and attacks instantly – this enables website admins to divert the traffic to several different locations.

Regulatory Compliance
Cloud computing security solutions usually provide reliable SOC1 and SOC2 certifications to the entertainment businesses. These certifications ensure periodic scrutiny of data and all types of possible glitches. Cloud-based solutions manage the requisite infrastructure for regulatory compliance and the protection of data. Detailed AWS reports about management of security controls ensure all organizations focus on their business operations, without worrying about compliance requirements.

Secure Storage
Traditional storage solutions don’t provide any protection against possible disasters that have the potential to erase required data from devices. Cloud computing allows the users to store their data safely, thereby negating any mishaps that may affect the equipment.

Cloud storage solutions offer private, public, and hybrid solutions which the businesses may choose as per their requirements. The hybrid cloud storage systems allow the users to keep their data secure in the most effective manner.

Patch Management
The vulnerabilities of a website are often exploited by hackers to breach the security system of a company. Cloud service providers keep their sites up to date; further on, they ensure that no vulnerabilities exist. Moreover, cloud solutions offer real-time assistance to clients by providing companies with the option to scale cloud solutions during high traffic situations. This flexibility allows companies to reduce their cost of services substantially.

These large number of security features are quite flexible, agile, and affordable. Enhanced security features offer sufficient protection to the private and financial data of both media and entertainment companies and help to thwart data and intellectual property breaches. In this era of digitalization, where cybercrime has emerged as a norm, cloud-based solutions seem to be the best alternative to traditional security systems.

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The Future of DevSecOps

The Future of DevSecOps
2015 was the year of predictions; Gartner predicted the rise of DevOps and how it would go mainstream, only to be adopted by a series of companies. By the beginning of 2017, DevOps had indeed become the talk of the town, as more and more companies began to realize the benefits of adopting DevOps within their processes.

The adoption of new technologies is a boon for companies since they get to enhance their productivity using the procedures of DevOps. However, where do the considerations of security stand in between all of this? With a total of 64, 000 incidents and 2,300 breaches in the year 2016 (and still counting), protecting personal data has become a priority and a necessity rather than just an option.

By 2019, close to 70% of companies who are using DevOps will realize the importance of security within their development procedures and will start incorporating the practices within their DevOps foundation itself. For this very reason, even the “normal” DevOps would need to be tuned to security procedures to protect the data from being stolen or misused.

To infuse security at every step, and to remain faithful to the spirit of DevOps, security needs to be inbuilt right from the beginning of the delivery process; this would mean that companies need to embrace the very culture and philosophy of teamwork and coordination while keeping agility and shared responsibility in mind.

The Need of Security Within DevOps Procedures

Simply put, if you want to save time and money at the same time, you should employ security measures within your DevOps procedures. If the appropriate security procedures are tuned in from the beginning itself, teams can provide the necessary feedback at the initial stage, instead of waiting for the lifecycle to end.

In large organizations, last level security checks often take endless stretches of time, which causes not only a delay in rollout time but also a delay in the feedback and the resolution time; this would mean that the company would need to spend an additional amount of time waiting for the final launch of the products and services, which in turn can mean losses for the company.

Building Security Into DevOps Foundations

Understand the consequences of not having security within DevOps: Answering simple questions can go a long way in helping one understand the implications of not having the right security measures within the DevOps cycle. While cost is one major influencer, time and money come just close enough. Add reputational damage to the list, and everything will get impacted on an immediate basis.

Focus the efforts in the pain areas to make them useful: Resources should be channelized into areas which need the most attention. Consider the worst case scenarios, to understand the extent of the damages, so that the appropriate tools of remediation can be devised. This way, if you are prepared for the worst scenario, every simple yet complex security breach can be handled with utmost ease.

Provide a free hand, but don’t stop monitoring: The progress of the inclusion of security should be of utmost importance. During the inclusion process, freedom of operation should be of utmost priority. Teams should be given a free hand to perform as they please. However, this does not mean that everything goes unsupervised. Keep a strict vigil on what is right and what is not; provide feedback for rectification, wherever necessary. This way, everything goes as per plan; the teams will be happy, and security will also not be compromised.

Automating will help estimate vulnerabilities: Automation is an essential tool within the very fabric of DevOps. Not only can businesses rapidly change, but they can work more efficiently and effectively. Security should be infused within the very structure of DevOps, which means it should be effectively included within Development, QA, Operations, and infrastructure. Automate as much as possible; the lesser the human intervention, the more secure your operations would become. Consider every manual process as a security hazard and consider opportunities for automation as a pain area.

Main Obstacles During the DevOps Procedure

A difference in priorities: Security teams often don’t count as one of the DevOps stakeholders; this means that there will always be a difference in opinions, which can cause a slowdown in deployment procedures.

Setting the pace: Going at a breakneck pace during the deployment stage can upset the very essence of DevOps. While automation is an essential factor during the deployment stage, high speed should not bring the whole process down to its knees.

Maintaining a protocol: More often than not, to implement security, specific protocols would need to be changed during the building process; this might mean ruffling up a few feathers to get the required approvals. However, obtaining the needed approvals can be a challenge, especially since higher management is actively involved in the DevOps development and implementation.

Security has slowly but steadily become a keyword within the DevOps world. It has become a significant segment, which is often considered to be a substantial part of the DevOps lifecycle, and should be followed to the tee.

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How Cloud Migration will help Boost Security and Compliance

How Cloud Migration will help Boost Security and Compliance
Although the adoption of cloud services is becoming increasingly popular in the past few years, many organizations are still skeptical of migrating to the cloud due to security concerns. This outlook tends to emerge from a lack of exposure to the emerging potentialities of the modern cloud. However, the case has become precisely opposite—firms, no matter how small or large, can benefit immensely from cloud migration when regarding stronger security and compliances.

Cloud providers reassure organizations of seamless and hassle-free cloud migration and ongoing maintenance; they make the security and protection of third party data their priority because their reputation highly depends on the kinds of services they provide. Once this goodwill suffers a blow, their company sustains a considerable loss, which is certainly not favored.

The cloud providers render security with the help of following measures:

Safekeeping the Data
Cloud providers are not just any organizations; they have grown considerably and have become among the wealthiest companies in the world. Security concerns come to them not as a challenge, but rather as an opportunity. These companies have a highly skilled team of professional IT engineers that are capable of tackling any security danger that may occur. Take for instance the most prominent cloud provider—Amazon. Amazon’s security parameters are well above the average reach of hackers. Amazon and other cloud providers take protecting infrastructure and customer data as their top priority. They apply a significant portion of their budget to meet and often go beyond security expectations. Companies such as Amazon go through a series of exercises that ensure the protection of physical infrastructure and systems.

Shared Responsibility Model
A model that is implemented at the organizational level is the Shared Responsibility Model in which a cloud infrastructure provider is responsible for maintaining the physical security of its data center, including building access, network and server hardware, as well as monitoring the hypervisor in charge of the virtual machines. On the other hand, the customer is responsible for securing operating systems, applications, and data running on cloud accounts. This co-operation is established when both sides are happy and comply willingly. The benefit is mutual, thus, this model is generally upheld. With its implementation, the cloud providers render best practices for controlling access and limiting network exposures which result in a secured infrastructure.

Supply of Personalized Tools
Typically, cloud providers supply tools that complement cloud-based security management tools to help the organization defend their virtual environments. Take, for instance, Amazon Web Services (AWS) CloudTrail; it provides visibility into the actions being taken by both legitimate users and bad actors operating in the cloud environment and acts as an active vigilante for the entire operation. Other security tools such as firewalls, file integrity monitoring solutions, and centralized logging also remain functional and works together in conjuncture with cloud tools. Thus, it all adds further layers of security that are purposefully built for strengthening and monitoring the environment.

Besides security measures, cloud computing is also highly compliant with the modern day needs of an organization. They focus on cost-effectiveness and the ease of use while keeping in mind the procurement of untainted security measures.

Reduced Business Expenditure
From its advent, cloud computing engineers have strived to seek the betterment of the existing platform services. The financial aspect in organizations is of great importance to the engineers too. Therefore, a traceable shift can be seen in cloud computing as far as reducing cost is concerned. Cloud computing is much more affordable than a traditional data center as it works on a pay-as-you-go model. The building, maintenance and retrieval of data in conventional terms is costly and messy as opposed to cloud computing. Cloud computing uses real-time extraction that takes seconds to locate the data, while any modifications can be done without any harm to the existing data. The labor-force employed and time consumed in cloud computing is a lot less than traditional data centers which result in a more cost-efficient solution for the business.

Greater flexibility
Cloud computing enables organizations to become more agile and flexible through a variety of benefits. The cloud allows businesses to expand their infrastructure without any evident disturbance elastically. Organizations can instantaneously start using systems and applications on newly acquired cloud space without having to worry about the organizational insecurity. Instead, the human resource can work on their business strategies. Even for the IT professionals, who manage these clouds, their efforts can be oriented to other more strategic initiatives instead of a web of data complexity.

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