3 steps for improvement
Cloud security is an increasingly top priority for companies and for the right reasons. Cyber threats have more than doubled with a remote workforce environment, working from home gives hackers easy access depending on network, VPN and the lack of a security executive nearby to guide you. This, plus day-to-day threats like the recent VMware vulnerability with 9.8 severity rating that needed patching immediately to reduce risks – cloud security should be one of your top priorities too!
3 steps to improve cloud security
Here are three effective ways to improve cloud security with a remote workforce:
- Start by evaluating the risks you face, as well as those of your vendors and partners. This will help determine how much risk management is needed on each level. You can also use this evaluation for insurance needs, such as cyber liability coverage.
- Second, set up appropriate safeguards against data loss or attack – like encrypting sensitive files before storing them in the cloud and using multifactor authentication (MFA) – so that if an incident does occur it’s not catastrophic. MFA should be used when accessing systems from both inside and outside your office network boundaries; otherwise hackers may be able to access company information through some other point of entry because passwords.
- Third, ensure your cloud security is established based on the category of cloud computing being used for business.
The four cloud computing categories are: public cloud services that are operated by a public provider, private cloud services that are operated by a public cloud provider, private cloud services that are operated by internal staff, and hybrid cloud services that are a combination of private and public cloud computing configurations.
Additional cloud security steps you can take
What you want to evaluate further to improve cloud security with a remote workforce are:
- Employee Training
- Security Awareness Programs
- Password Policies and Protocols
- Remote Access Control and Monitoring Tools
Knowing what to focus on will help you make the most of your cloud security. Implementing company policies, training employees on awareness programs, changing passwords regularly — these are all simple things that have an impact on cyber threats and limiting risks with cloud security solutions that supports the workforce behind firewalls or out in the world remotely.
The responsibility of cloud security
The biggest difference for today’s business in the digital era is that data is no longer held within a self-controlled network since most of the cloud computing services used involve a public cloud provider. Data and applications are therefore hosted by a third-party. This is why understanding responsibility is going to be a very important part of your cloud security strategy if it’s going to be effective for you and your remote workforce.
As a company, it’s essential to understand that cloud security is your responsibility. You are the one who needs to ensure that data and applications are not only protected in transit, but also at rest on servers or disks belonging to third-party providers. Compliance regulations and requirements, customers, and government expect you to meet cybersecurity best practices in all areas of conducting business operations. CEOs are being held accountable and businesses fined when not meeting compliance.
Furthermore, with a remote workforce your cloud security strategy needs to keep in mind employees working from home, their mobile devices, working from coffee shops, as well as shared office spaces like coworking space – all of these different types of work environment have increased cyber threats because of easy access hackers get when they can physically be nearby these people while accessing networks and VPN connections.
When we segment cloud security responsibilities for the public cloud service type, the cloud provider and cloud customer share different levels of responsibility. This is what that looks like.
- Software-as-a-service (SaaS) — Customers are responsible for securing their data and user access.
- Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) — Customers are responsible for securing their data, user access, and applications.
- Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) — Customers are responsible for securing their data, user access, applications, operating systems, and virtual network traffic.
This means you need plan for how you are going to fulfill your shared responsibility when using SaaS offerings, such as Microsoft Office 365, or IaaS offerings, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure.
Photo courtesy of Maksim Kabakou