Cloud security: a complete guide to securing your online data

Cloud security is a key concern. It must be thought in both directions: security of hosted data and security of cloud providers. Focus on the subject.

The use of cloud computing reveals the digital era we live in. Individuals, companies and professionals use the cloud for all sorts of reasons. It is usually to store data in large quantities. But they also use software that makes life, work and productivity easier. However, those who adopt the cloud face a series of security challenges.

Gathering data en masse requires concern about how to secure it. Indeed, this data is never safe from malicious intent or technical or natural accidents. In the last news, due to the recent Russian-Ukrainian conflict, cyber attacks against governmental entities are increasing.

Table of contents

Cloud security: a multilateral requirement

So who should step up to protect their data? The responsibility is shared between the customer the cloud provider. First, the provider will have to implement all means to secure the data that the customer hosts on the platform. On the other hand, it is also responsible for complying with compliance measures and protecting customer privacy.

The cloud provider must also ensure its security. Because, in fact, it also protects itself from the possible disastrous consequences of poor data protection and security within its cloud. We’re talking about data loss, data breaches, lawsuits and financial penalties.

Cloud security includes technologies, controls, processes and policies to protect systems, data, and infrastructure implemented in the cloud. It belongs to the branch of computer security and the broader sense of information security.

Why is cloud data security important?

Cloud security is a particularly important requirement. Research states that this issue plagues almost 93% of organizations. The facts also show that in the past 12 months, one in four organizations has been affected by a security incident. It is no secret that cybercrime is on the rise.

Simply put, no one wants to suffer the consequences of a security breach of data stored in the cloud. People choose to put it in a safe place to keep it. Thus, the loss of data can be fatal, whether it is an individual or a company. A false manipulation, technical problems or natural disasters can happen (remember the case of OVH). In other cases, forms of hacking, malware infiltration can occur. Bad intentions multiply for various reasons.

All of these situations are governed by the GDPR, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. In terms of numbers, a violation of the rules of this law recently cost WhatsApp 225 million euros in 2021. This penalty was ordered by a German privacy watchdog. An amount that has the potential to revive the taking of protective measures.

The most common security risks in the cloud

Providers work hard to reassure their customers that their platform is secure. Despite this, security risks can still occur. Here’s a list of seven of the most popular risks.

Loss of visibility

This is mainly about official or unwanted users gaining access to the platform. Companies have a wide range of services through the cloud depending on their location and the kind of device they use. And this openness is not always well managed. If the provider lacks protection tools, they can’t track who exactly is using the services, accessing the data and downloading illegally. It’s a loophole that increases the risk of breaches and data loss.

Compliance Violations

Cloud providers must complete Established measures to ensure compliance. As a result, they are expected to have ongoing control over their customers’ data, its processing and protection. This risk is intertwined with the loss of visibility. So you have to be very careful when transferring data. The risk is great if you come across a provider who does not respect these compliances.

Gaps in cloud security strategies

Migrating too quickly exposes data to loss and breach. Long before moving data and systems to the cloud, it will be necessary to ensure that the cloud has Security infrastructure. The infrastructures must also be compatible with your data and systems.

Internal threats

We must always keep an eye on those close to and inside our wall. Indeed, infiltration, theft and fraudulent manipulation of data often come from within. Employees, subcontractors and collaborators are unfortunately internal threats. And if at first glance, the intention was not malicious, the damage is always present. Be aware that when you entrust your data, software and systems to the cloud, a new threat arises. Malicious minds can come out on the vendor side.

Contractual breaches

The nature of contracts between partners is often overlooked. They do, however, contain restrictions on the sharing, transfer and processing of certain data. Some employees may do so because of a lack of information without knowing the legal consequences.

An external API in the wrong hands

An unsecured external API is a gaping opening for cybercriminals. No one has forgotten the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal that gave access to user data of the popular social network.

A misconfiguration of services

When security and access management settings are kept at default, cloud data can be at the mercy of the public. Inadequately configured and unupdated cloud promotes access to sensitive data by unwanted users.

How do you establish safeguards?

Choosing a good cloud provider

This is the ultimate solution. Partner with a cloud provider that is reassuring in its security and data protection strategy. The latter will also have to satisfy compliance measures. By taking a look at their compliance range and the certifications they have, you can judge their quality.

You can also choose from our top cloud services.

Taking responsibility for your part in cloud security

Getting to know and understand your part of the responsibility for securing and protecting your data is paramount. Some tasks are the vendor’s responsibility, others are yours. The most serious providers share a responsibility agreement.

Train those who have access to the cloud

Everyone who has access to the data and systems needs to be trained on the importance of protecting and securing things. These people are the first ones concerned since they are in direct contact with the platform. On the program, include: malware recognition, how to deal with it, risky practices, how to identify suspicious links and emails.

Cloud Security: Implementing Encryption

Data migrations expose it on the network. Encryption and ciphers will need to be mobilized for the data. These protective measures reduce access to the data. Encryption must be personally mastered for global control.

Mobilize a Cloud Access Security Broker

The CASB is a fundamental tool that can enhance the security of your cloud data. It stands between you and the service provider. It brings together a set of security tools to protect the cloud ecosystem. It also enables threat identification and contingency measures. It helps maintain compliance.

Don’t skimp on passwords

To close access to intruders, the password system can be successful. The configuration of the password should be complex and difficult to guess. In general, it requires the presence of numbers, capital letters, symbols and lower case letters and must be at least 14 characters long. The more complex the password, the stronger the security.

Add multi-factor authentication measures

With passwords, multiplying authentication measures by requiring two or three other means to confirm entry is ideal. Layers of security are never too many compared to the amount of damage an intruder could do.

See our feature on 2-factor authentication.

Minimizing user access

This may not be the best way to develop a sense of belonging within a companybut sometimes it is imposed. Limit user access to only those sections of data and systems that they might need. It is better to add users to other sections than to leave the door open to everyone.

Read vendor contracts and SLAs carefully

The unpleasant surprises when you neglect to read contracts are bitter. It’s all about being aware of the details included in the agreement between customer and supplier. Know what you are getting into.

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