Image: Pickup/Adobe Stock

Protecting data and applications in the cloud involves managing people, processes, and technology with strict policies. The number of organizations migrating to the cloud has increased dramatically due to its excellent reliability, scalability, and lower costs.

SEE: Recruitment Kit: Cloud Engineer (TechRepublic Premium)

Cloud security plays a key role in this transition and journey to the cloud, and it involves examining an organization’s data handling and storage practices to define unique data protection strategies. Using cloud security best practices is essential for any organization due to the serious reputational consequences of not doing so.

Cloud Security Best Practices

The cloud has changed the way applications and data are accessed and consumed compared to when everything resided in traditional data centers. The cloud service model requires adequate security measures and a framework to provide appropriate safeguards. These best practices are based on the idea that cloud users should familiarize themselves with the services they purchase and use the security resources made available by their cloud service provider.

1. Cloud security as a model of shared responsibility

Cloud security is implemented using a shared responsibility model. Simply put, it will always be the CSP’s job to keep their customers’ data and the virtualization platform itself secure.

The cloud user must understand the risks involved and take the initiative to design and implement adequate security controls. Some examples include knowing when to encrypt virtualized storage, configuring virtual networking and firewalls, and choosing between shared and dedicated hosting.

Security in a cloud environment is the joint responsibility of the CSP and the cloud user, with some overlap in some areas. Many of today’s cloud security issues stem from customer confusion about who is responsible for what. The cloud user, rather than the CSP, bears responsibility for a larger portion of cloud security.

2. Employee development

With a compound annual growth rate of 15.14%, the global cloud computing market is expected to reach $923.46 billion by 2027. In the coming years, the cloud domain will become ubiquitous, including but not limited to developing cloud-native software applications, architecting solutions on cloud or hybrid platforms, and more. It is essential that workers take a long-term perspective and plan their professional development.

Employees who have been with the company for a while have an advantage over new hires because they are already familiar with its culture, values ​​and procedures. Since most existing IT skills can be easily reused, reskilling is more efficient and cost-effective than hiring, and it can help meet the immediate need for a cloud-centric IT workforce.

Each company should determine the aspects of the cloud it will use, such as operations, software development, network support, and infrastructure needs, then design training programs for its current staff to adapt. to that.

3. Implementation of identity and access management

The security measures for identity management and access control are as follows:

Apply a multi-factor authentication system

Use MFA when a Conditional Access policy is in place and authentication is controlled by a directory service such as LDAP or Active Directory.

Access control methods

When using cloud services, it is essential that organizations manage access to cloud resources with the appropriate level of access. Role-based access control is a method that can be used to control who has access to what parts of the cloud and what they can do with the resources they have access to.

Suspicious activity monitoring

Suspicious activity must be quickly identified, isolated and neutralized. Identity monitoring systems should be in place with the ability to immediately send alerts so that appropriate action can be taken.

4. Encryption of data in transit and at rest

There is no rush to develop a new method of protecting data in the cloud. Data protection in the cloud is very similar to that of a conventional data center. In the cloud, it is possible to implement data protection policies such as identity and authentication, encryption, access control, secure deletion, data masking and data verification. integrity.

The CSP must ensure the physical security of all deployed cloud resources. Encryption is essential to protect information while it is in transit or at rest. CSP is capable of implementing a wide variety of encryption methods, such as full-disk encryption, format-preserving encryption, application-layer encryption, file encryption, and database encryption.

You can protect the content of data in transit by encrypting it before transferring it to the cloud and/or by using encrypted connections. All organizations need to protect data while in storage is to encrypt it first.

5. Implementing Intrusion Prevention and Detection

Intrusion detection systems can be divided into host-based and network-based categories based on their point of origin. Alerts generated by an IDS are worth using one.

An IDS can generate both genuine and fictitious warnings. A large number of signals are produced daily by these IDS. Academic and industrial research groups have introduced numerous intrusion data sets to evaluate new attacks and intrusion detection techniques. There are three main types of these datasets: public, private, and network simulation.

Various resources are used to create public and private intrusion datasets. These datasets are generated using tools that can track victims, trigger various attacks, capture and pre-process traffic, and keep tabs on traffic patterns.

Conclusion

Most enterprises’ efforts to secure their on-premises applications and data stores fall short of what can be achieved with cloud services. Companies need to know what security measures are expected of them when using a particular CSP’s offerings and how to implement them. Potential cloud users worry about the security implications of trusting a CSP to handle specific security tasks. Past events have shown that security incidents usually result from users not properly using available security measures.