Nowadays, more and more companies and individuals are moving their operations and data to the so-called cloud. Therefore, the security of the cloud and the data stored in it is becoming one of the more frequently discussed issues. The remote servers that make this possible require meticulous protection. And the user of such a solution should follow a few simple rules. In this article, we will outline seven best practices to help you guarantee data security in the cloud.
What is the cloud?
The cloud, or cloud computing, is a model for delivering various types of IT resources, such as memory, databases, computing power, disk space, artificial intelligence, networks and software, over the Internet by external parties. Under this model, users can use these resources anytime and anywhere on demand, usually paying only for what they actually use, allowing them to conduct business without having to invest in their own infrastructure.
One of the biggest advantages of the cloud is its flexibility and scalability. You can start with small resources and increase them as needed, which is especially beneficial for start-ups and projects with fluctuating computing power needs.
The cloud also offers high availability and reliability. By deploying data in different geographic locations, the risk of data loss due to failure is minimal.
The fee-for-actual-resource-use model allows for significant savings. You don’t have to invest in expensive infrastructure or worry about maintenance and upgrades.
Although cloud security is a frequently raised issue, many cloud providers offer advanced security mechanisms such as data encryption, multi-component authentication and regular backups.
The cloud enables rapid deployment of applications and services. You don’t have to wait to purchase and configure hardware, which speeds up business processes.
With the cloud, employees can easily and securely access necessary resources from anywhere in the world, which is especially important in an era of increasing popularity of remote work.
The cloud is also a platform for innovation. It enables the use of cutting-edge technologies, such as artificial intelligence, big data analytics and the Internet of Things, without the need for specialized knowledge and resources.
The centralization of resources is also associated with greater energy efficiency, which is ecologically beneficial.
In short, the cloud is not just a technology, but also a resource management philosophy that enables flexibility, cost savings and innovation, all within a model that is accessible and scalable to organizations of all sizes and needs.
What are the risks associated with using the cloud?
Despite the growing interest in this solution and the constant work to improve the technology used in the cloud, using it comes with certain risks and challenges. These are worth taking into account when moving sensitive data, financial data and any other resources to the cloud. Some of the main risks are, for example:
- Data loss – involves a breach of security of stored information in the cloud, which can manifest itself through unauthorized third-party access or complete loss of data,
- Loss of control – moving resources to the cloud can involve losing some control over infrastructure and data. In the event of an outage or technical problems, you may be dependent on your cloud provider to restore services,
- User management – the cloud environment can be quite complex and thus can make it difficult to manage user identities and individuals’ access to resources. Improper management can lead to security vulnerabilities,
- hacking attacks – the cloud can be an attractive target for hackers who may try to exploit security weaknesses to gain access to data or disrupt systems,
- unreliability of the provider – although the largest service providers take care of the security, reliability and availability of the cloud, failures can happen to anyone. Unfortunately, they can lead to disruptions in business operations,
- External threats – such as DDoS attacks can direct network traffic to the cloud, which can disrupt individual services.
How to ensure security in the cloud? What to look out for? To minimize risks, thoughtful planning, meticulous security, security audits and risk awareness are important, both on the user and cloud provider side.
In addition to the risks mentioned, there are several other aspects to consider:
- Compliance with laws and regulations: Using the cloud can complicate compliance with local and international data regulations, such as GDPR in Europe. Inaccuracies in this regard can lead to serious legal consequences.
- Dependence on a single provider: Too much dependence on a single cloud provider can be risky, especially if a company decides to change the terms of service or pricing.
- Unclear SLAs (Service Level Agreements): Unclear or unfavorable terms in SLAs can lead to problems such as insufficient availability levels or costly penalties for exceeding usage limits.
- Hidden costs: While using the cloud may seem cost-effective at first, the hidden costs associated with data transfer, storage or I/O operations can add up quickly.
- Multi-availability risks: Sharing cloud resources with multiple users and companies can lead to the risk of a “neighborhood effect,” where overuse of resources by one customer affects availability for others.
- Misconfiguration: Configuration errors can be as dangerous as security vulnerabilities, leading to improper data access or loss.
- Migration and integration risks: The process of moving data and applications to the cloud, as well as integrating them with existing systems, can be complex and error-prone, leading to data loss or interruptions in access to key services.
- Lack of support for older systems: Not all cloud services are compatible with older systems and applications, which can require costly upgrades.
- Ethical and privacy issues: Collecting and analyzing large amounts of data in the cloud can lead to privacy and ethical issues, especially if the data is used in ways that were not originally intended.
Cloud – data security and seven best practices
Digital technology is constantly evolving, which is why more and more solutions such as wireless security audits are emerging to help protect data and assets from unauthorized access or accidental loss. The cloud and the security of the data in it require proper preparation. Here are seven best practices to help you guarantee them:
- Choose the right service provider. Make sure the cloud provider is trustworthy, has good reviews and is compliant with current regulations. This is the most important decision on which the security of your data will depend. When making your choice, pay attention to the company’s reputation and reviews, but also its adherence to safety standards and its compliance with regulations such as. RODO. Remember that the largest cloud providers are investing in advanced security: Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure.
- Ensure strong authentication and access management. Almost as important a step as selecting a vendor is implementing multi-level authorization and managing access by giving it to authorized users and applications. Ensure that employees use strong passwords (upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters) and change them frequently. While passwords can be cracked or stolen, the second stage in the form of answering a question, a digital code from a text message, a fingerprint or some other form of security is harder to overcome. Access management systems, on the other hand, make it possible to control access to data for specific users. In a situation where an employee is acting against the company, is about to be fired or transferred to another position, it is easier to quickly change the employee’s privileges and avoid unauthorized access to data.
- Take care of data encryption at different levels. Data should be encrypted during storage, but also during transmission. The encryption key should be kept in a safe place, and only one authorized person should have access to it.
- Conduct regular security audits. Regular security reviews and audits can help detect potential problems before they become serious threats. They will help verify the compliance of data security systems with best practices. Assess risks, identify potential gaps and take corrective steps. Technology doesn’t stand still, so we need to keep up with it.
- Monitor and detect suspicious incidents. It is always a good idea to monitor events in real time. This will help detect suspicious activity or attempted security breaches. This allows you to respond quickly and effectively to an emerging threat.
- Control network traffic. This is another thing that is better not to forget. Take advantage of firewalls and available intrusion detection and prevention solutions, which, by the way, analyze network traffic for anomalies.
- Remember to back up your data and applications. In case of an attack or accidental deletion of data, you will be assured that the information can be restored.
So, as you can see, security in the cloud is possible. All you have to do is take the appropriate steps.
Additionally. remember that the following are also important:
- Risk assessment: Before moving data to the cloud, it is important to conduct a detailed risk assessment.
- Contingency and backup plan: Always have a backup plan and regular backups of data.
- Staff training: Make sure all employees are aware of cloud security risks and best practices.
Moving operations and data to the cloud is a step full of benefits, but requires special attention to security. By choosing the right provider, implementing effective security practices, and regularly monitoring and updating systems, you can significantly minimize the risk of a security breach in the cloud. Remember, there is no room for compromise in data security. Do you need help from a specialist? Apply to join us! See what we can do for you: