Why Businesses Should Ensure the Security of Data on the Cloud
Cloud security will be crucial for businesses in the next few years. Read the following article to find out why and what you can do for your business.
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Cloud storage is projected to have significant utility for small and large businesses in the next few years. Currently, around half of corporate data is still stored on-premises. According to Statista, 50 percent of corporate data is stored on the cloud, although it is growing at a consistent rate.
There are still some misconceptions about cloud storage, and businesses do not realize at this stage its importance to their operations. Incidentally, many companies are using Google Drive and Dropbox, which are popular cloud providers.
Perhaps the hesitancy in adopting the technology is due to the term ''cloud,'' which seems ephemeral. However, potential users should be more aware that cloud storage is a model of cloud computing wherein data is stored in remote servers accessed via the internet.
But, you cannot discount that hesitancy could be due to the reports that cloud storage is risky, given that cyber hackers are targeting the cloud in their effort to steal valuable data.
Cloud Storage: Its Value to Businesses
Cloud storage comprises several servers worldwide to compute and store data and simultaneously give users access to files and apps across various devices. With cloud storage, data are not stored on-premises or on local devices.
The system is beneficial to small businesses as there is no need to have an external computing infrastructure. They can use the infrastructure of the cloud service providers. Likewise, it's a cost-saver, as most providers allow users to pay only for the space they use.
Using the service frees up valuable storage space from computer hard drives and memory cards of devices. Users can access apps and files using other devices instead of saving and accessing files on a single machine.
Thus, cloud storage is a convenient way to store data, providing mobile workers and work from home employees increased efficiency and productivity.
Cloud Security Threats and Issues
Realistically, there are risks in cloud storage. But in today's business environment, everyone is on their toes trying to subvert cyber threats. Cyber thugs are more persistent than search engine crawlers. They are always on the lookout for likely targets, on the ground and in the cloud.
It is becoming more apparent that embracing cloud computing will mean additional cybersecurity risks. Thus, cloud security companies are busy at work to combat the threats, developing applications, policies, VPN controls, and web-based tools and technologies to address the need for new solutions for cloud security.
Hackers' prime targets today are cloud-based application suites and corporate VPNs. If these programs are not secured, hackers will have an effortless time accessing business networks. Acquiring authentication can be done through social engineering or even brute force attacks, underscoring the fact that humans are often the weakest link in cybersecurity.
With increased remote working, unauthorized access may be harder to detect if attackers use valid login credentials, and with remote workers being online at different hours.
The attack surface for cyber thugs grew with the increase in remote working arrangements. Cybercriminals also switched their focus to remote working, as more users are accessing corporate accounts, and all types of files and data, especially since organizations may not have their cloud security configured correctly.
Without adequate cloud security, a hacker can be working on the network for several weeks or even months without anyone noticing. What's more threatening in this scenario is the possible use as a vector for distributed denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, which can have a massive impact on several businesses.
Data loss will remain a threat. Using cloud storage gives people quicker access to files. People have an easier time sharing data, and organizations that move their data to the cloud usually fail to do regular backups. Other security risks are the vulnerabilities of APIs, cloud malware infiltration, and inadequate access and identity management policies.
Common Ways to Mitigate Cloud Security Threats
Understanding the cloud storage risks should lead organizations to implement cloud security measures to deny cyber actors any cloud hacking opportunities.
Multi-factor authentication: One of the most vital steps is to use multi-factor authentication (MFA). According to Microsoft, implementing MFA can block 99.9 percent of attacks on user accounts.
Encryption: While it is easy to transfer and store data on the cloud, encrypting them will ensure their security. While this is an extra step in uploading and accessing data, it is an added assurance of protecting information critical to your business functions.
Apply security patches immediately: Cloud providers will usually implement updates and patches automatically. For organizations that have hybrid cloud implementations, it’s best practice to implement patches as soon as they are available, in order to reduce the risk of unpatched vulnerabilities. Monitor updates for VPN and remote desktop protocol (RDP) applications and apply them immediately to prevent exploitation from cybercriminals.
Create backup files: Even if you are using cloud services, you will still need redundancies, such as through cold storage or other business continuity solutions--it's an effective strategy that will be useful in the event that cloud availability fails.
Now Is Not the Time to Skimp on Cloud Security
It is challenging to prevent a cloud computing attack, but you have several options to minimize the possibilities of an attack occurring. While cloud providers may offer security defenses such as threat and incident response and automated security-relevant processes, it is still your responsibility to implement cloud security capabilities on your end. Continuous monitoring of cloud resources and enhancing your security posture will minimize the vulnerability of your cloud deployment.
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