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Mitigating cloud security risks

Blog Cloud Engineering

Short on time? Don’t miss out, here are the key takeaways  

  • Cloud adoption has witnessed a dramatic surge over recent years; 60% of all corporate data is now stored in the cloud.  
  • Vulnerabilities of the cloud mean it is more important than ever to implement security strategies that effectively safeguard data. 
  • 45% of cyber breaches have been related to the cloud and 80% of organisations have experienced at least one cloud security incident.  
  • To create a robust cloud security strategy, organisations must consider access controls, data encryption, vulnerability assessments, defensive tools and monitoring. 
  • NashTech can help you build a secure cloud strategy that protects against the latest wave of cyber-attacks while achieving your business goals. 

Cloud computing = security headache? 

Cloud computing has dramatically grown in popularity over the years and across multi-industries as organisations rush to take advantage of its scalability and enormous efficiency. 94% of enterprises now report using a cloud service and 60%of all corporate data is stored in the cloud.But as organisations increasingly turn towards the cloud to store, manage and process their data, the question of what cloud security really entails has become more obvious. Indeed, organisations migrating to or already hosting in the cloud are experiencing difficulties when it comes to implementing a robust cloud security strategy and two-thirds of organisations view cloud security as the biggest barrier to adoption 

In this article we will uncover common cloud security challenges and provide best practices for creating a strong cloud security strategy. 

Cloud security challenges 

Introducing cloud security  

Cloud security refers to the combination of technologies, procedures, strategies and control measures implemented to help protect cloud environments, applications and data against cyber threats 

 

The dangers of underestimating cloud security 

Cloud security has become increasingly important as cyber threats continue to evolve, grow in complexity and sophistication. According to a recent survey, 80% of organisations have experienced at least one security incident and 45% of breaches have been reported to be cloud-related. The rise in security breaches can be explained by the nature of the cloud – it operates on a ‘shared responsibility model’, expands the attack surface of an organisation and enables access to stored assets at any given time. 

Misconfigurations take the lead  

Misconfigurations in infrastructure are a common denominator of cloud cyber-attacks, yet are often missed by organisations and particularly when multi-cloud environments are at play. According to research 99% of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) misconfigurations go unnoticed and 93% of cloud deployments are riddled with misconfiguration. Attackers are taking advantage of these vulnerabilities that enable easy access to an organisation’s cloud data; stealing sensitive information, putting it on ransom and installing digital skimming attacks.  

 

The role of the human and its errors – say hello to ‘cloud-jacking’ 

Ever heard the term ‘cloud-jacking?’. Given that humans are one of the most vulnerable components in an organisation’s supply chain, attackers are now targeting weak employee accounts to enter cloud systems and carry out malicious activities – otherwise known as ‘cloud-jacking’. What’s more, human errors, weak credentials, accidental misconfigurations and data leakages are creating potential entry-points for cyber criminals. By 2025, it is predicted that 99% of cloud environment failures will be attributed to human errors 

 

Insecure access control points and API vulnerabilities 

Poor API hygiene has ranked as the number two top threat to organisations operating on the cloud. Cloud environments often comprise of fragmented API’s and if left unprotected, attackers can enter the cloud system, leading to accidental exposure of sensitive data – it is somewhat akin to leaving your ‘back door open’. Thus, it is important for organisations to have visibility of their entire digital supply chain, weak points and API’s to defend them.  

Creating a robust cloud security strategy 

Hackers are becoming more adept and aggressive in their approach, hence, organisations must create a robust cloud strategy to reduce the likelihood of encountering cyber breaches. So, what should organisations look out for when creating a strategy?  

 

Cloud ecosystem visibility 

Cloud environments are dynamic and designed to accommodate new workloads at any given time. It is important to protect the most sensitive data in your cloud environment and have visibility over it as time progresses. Understanding your data and where it is located in the cloud will enable you to define appropriate security measures and assign strict access controls, unique user ID’s, multi-factor authentication and strong passwords.  

  

Implementing protection controls  

 

Data encryption 

At the top of your mind should be data encryption. But a surprising 83% of businesses do not encrypt their sensitive data when using the cloud. Leveraging encryption mechanisms ensures that even if there is a breach, the data is unusable without the right encryption keys. 

 

Patch systems and management 

Establishing a patch management process ensures that regular and necessary updates are made across your cloud environment. From patch identification to remediation and measuring, these steps are essential for correcting potential vulnerabilities and errors. 

 

Tackling threats from inside out – education and employee training 

82%of cloud security breaches are caused by a lack of employee skills.Human error remains one of the leading causes of security incidents. Educating your employees about cloud security best practices, the importance of cloud security and their role in protecting sensitive data will help to reduce errors that are so prevalent today. For example, conducting regular training about identifying and reporting security threats, practicing safe habits and following secure data handling procedures. 

 

Vulnerability monitoring and incident response planning 

Conduct regular vulnerability assessments and penetration testing to identify weaknesses in your cloud infrastructure. Automated scanning tools can be leveraged to detect vulnerabilities in your cloud environment, including misconfigurations, unpatched systems and weak access controls. Furthermore, regular assessments help identify potential security weaknesses and gaps in policy, allowing you to address them proactively. 

 

Continuous improvement and monitoring 

Cloud security is not a singular event. It is an ongoing process that requires continuous improvement, monitoring and adapting, particularly as new security threats enter the environment. Regularly auditing your cloud security posture, assessing emerging threats and updating your security strategies is an essential step to ensure you stay on top of the latest security best practices and threats.  

Fortify your cloud security with NashTech  

There’s no denying that the cloud offers a myriad of benefits. But it can also bring inherent risks that organisations must address to protect themselves. At NashTech we can help you to build a secure cloud strategy that protects against the latest wave of cyber-attacks while achieving your efficiency, data quality and collaboration goals. And have you heard the latest news? NashTech has collectively achieved 50 AWS certifications, leading to the earning of APN Certification Distinctions; showcasing our capability, credibility and dedication to delivering expert cloud services together with AWS.

Discover cloud solutions here.

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