Cybersecurity in The Cloud: Here’s What It Means

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    Today, the adoption of cloud computing technology has grown tremendously by enterprises. Various leading cloud service providers such as ESDS have expanded their managed cloud services for protecting their existing cloud infrastructure. Along with his cloud provider, the customer is responsible for implementing the right cybersecurity service in the cloud for securing the data present on the cloud.

    Despite several benefits, consumers often face certain psychological barriers when protecting their critical data against external vulnerabilities, with data hosted in a public cloud setup. An online survey revealed that the businesses' primary concern rests with the data loss and leakage followed by legal and exposure challenges to the data.

    Consumer Apprehensions Towards Cloud Security

    • Loss/Theft of Intellectual Property:

    Consumers often fear the loss or theft of intellectual property (IP) when moving to the cloud. Online data states that over 3.3 million patent applications were filed in the year 2018. The IPs depict the competitive advantages of the holding companies. Loss or theft of IP can create significant damage to the parent company as various other businesses in the same domain can imitate products and processes for much cheaper rates.

    • Regulatory Compliance Violations:

    Today, every business organization follows specific compliance guidelines defined in its industry. However, a trusted & reputed cloud service provider ensures that its cloud computing services align to the defined compliance standards that an organization needs to follow—not adhering to these guidelines cause compliance-related violations in cloud computing security.

    • Minimal Visibility of the Cloud Ecosystem

    One of the key concerns that businesses often face with a cloud computing solution is that their CSPs do not give them complete visibility into the cloud environment. When businesses opt for an IaaS or PaaS-based solutions from their CSP, they get reduced significantly since the user can configure and manage the cloud environment.

    • Reduced Control of Cloud Environment Settings

    Besides reduced visibility, businesses often tend to face lesser control over their cloud computing environments when using the cloud. Similar to the visibility aspect, the settings can be enhanced more with the IaaS and PaaS-based solutions.

    • Lateral Spreading of Attacks

    Businesses also fear that if a cloud computing environment fails to have robust defence controls, it becomes easier for a cyber-attacker to spread the attack from one resource to another hosted on a cloud. This results in rapid lateral spreading & quick compromise across several databases and applications hosted on the cloud in breach-related events.

    Best Practices in Cloud Cyber Security

    Businesses should follow some of the best practices mentioned below for leveraging cloud computing in a secured way

    • Having a Strong User Access Control/Least Privilege

    Much like the traditional security software, the business admins must use strong user access control mechanisms for defining who all can and to what limit they have access to the data. Having restricted access will ensure that only authorized users have access to the data present in the cloud. Also, implementing the least privilege model ensures that only the authorized users can access the data they require for completing their due tasks.

    • Using SSH and Securely Store Keys

    With Secure Socket Shell (SSH) keys, one can establish secure server connections with private and public key pairs. As these keys are used for accessing sensitive data and perform critical tasks, it becomes compulsorily crucial for businesses to manage and securely store these SSH keys. Companies should implement cloud computing and ley management policies for monitoring how these keys will be created, managed, and removed when these keys reach their expiration.

    • Using Encryption in Cloud

    Having data encryption in the cloud assures businesses that their data moving in and out of the cloud remains encrypted and secured. When selecting a cloud service provider, companies must know their security needs when deploying cloud services. Today, most of the CSPs offer encryption services, and these encryption services, when combined with other security protocols, allow businesses to comply with regulatory policies like PCI DSS and GDPR.

    • Performing Routine Penetration Tests

    Performing cloud penetration tests helps in identifying security vulnerabilities present in the cloud infrastructure. In cloud computing, penetration testing often comes as a shared responsibility, i.e., both- the business organization and cloud service provider can perform pen tests for determining vulnerabilities in the cloud.

    • Using Multi-Factor Authentication

    Using multi-factor authentication (MFA) allows the companies to secure their data and their account data using several authentication methods like- OTP, biometrics, security questions, etc. When an MFA is used in a cloud computing setup, it restricts access to the data present in the cloud only to the authorized users and averts risks of lost, stolen, or even compromised login credentials.

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    Concluding Remarks

     

    Cloud computing comes with several benefits and challenges for its end-users. Maintaining cybersecurity in the cloud is a joint responsibility of the cloud service provider and the end-user. Misuse or lack of knowledge about the cloud environment can have quite severe implications, so one should make sure that strong cloud computing security policies are implemented to ensure that data present in the cloud remains secure at all times.

    Have You Chosen the Right Cloud Service for Migration?

    With the current digital era, it may feel like migration from legacy systems to the cloud is an effortless task, just similar to drag and drop, but it is not. After all, migration to the cloud is not just a task of uploading every single thing on the cloud! It demands accurate transfer of the complete data without any loss. Many organizations have experienced a failure during migration activities. You might succeed in the primary move, but you may sure-shot face some issues post-migration that will cost your organisation a lot. So, why is it so difficult? And why is it still so essential that you should migrate to the cloud? We will see ahead.

    From legacy systems to the cloud is an effortless task, just like drag and drop, but it is not. After all, migration to the cloud is not just a task of uploading every single thing on a cloud! It demands accurate and lossless transfer of all the data. Many organizations have experienced a failure during migration activities. You might succeed in the primary move, but you may sure-shot face some issues post-migration that will cost your organisation a lot. So, why is it so difficult? And why is it still so essential that you should migrate to the cloud? We will see ahead.

    The Masses Are Not Always Right

    Just because everyone is migrating to the cloud doesn’t mean you have to go with the flow. Your applications might not be suitable for the cloud, and they still are valued by your employees, partners, and customers. Apart from the application being any standard VoIP contact or phone service and cloud computing – you must have a full-fledged plan to work migration. Planning things can cause delays, and constantly changing demands pressure up the IT infrastructure. You need to be variable to these demands; else the below issues can multiply the risks of your legacy systems –

    • Aging Infrastructure

    • Scarcity Of Resources

    • Performance Issues

    • Security Risks

    • Corrupted Data

    • Maintenance Costs

    • Compliance Issues

    If you don’t address these issues, then your legacy systems will become obsolete in due time, and a vital change will have to be made to stay competitive and compliant with the law.

    You can take an example of Windows XP here! Windows XP quickly became popular after its launch in 2001, so much so that people were not ready to leave it even when the Vista version appeared in 2007! Moreover, when Microsoft ceased supporting XP in 2014, people still used it illicitly because of the experience it gave to them. So, relate your legacy infrastructure to XP. If people continue to use it, at one point or the other, they are going to face numerous problems.

    Even while migrating to the cloud, several issues can creep up in creating system compatibility, and even your users will need time to adjust. But, fear not! All you need is an appropriate cloud service provider that can help you provide precise solutions and help you in your digital transformation.

    Now, let us look at the challenges of migrating legacy applications to the cloud and what points you need to check before deciding to migrate.

    The Challenges of Legacy System Migration to Cloud

    Just migrating your legacy system to the cloud won’t make it magically perform fantastically with compliance and security. You need to find a proper hosting partner that offers you high-end technology, skilled people who carry out smooth processes, and continuous monitoring of your resources.

    The hosting partner you are looking for should have the following things for the benefit of your company –

    • A wide array of experience in architecture and deployment
    • Superior engineering skills
    • The application expertise
    • Accurate consulting capabilities

    The first thing you need to do is a full-scale tune-up of the complete system by which it will become acquiescent to the cloud. Think of this as a broken engine desperately needing maintenance and repair. You can’t just fit the old engine into a new car body and expect it to run just fine. You will have to fine-tune it, and in some cases, also re-construct the engine’s foundation to get the expected results.

    Besides, the transformation and migration process also involves the below-given aspects 

    • Understanding customer’s pain points
    • Finding broken elements and blind spots
    • Using time-tested design patterns to tweak and tune the engine
    • Surrounding your applications with robust, secure infrastructure
    • Implementing high availability strategies to eliminate problems

    These aspects ensure that the migration process happens smoothly. The consultative and proactive attitude towards the migration process with a comprehensive understanding of the applications will result in a clean, boosted, and sharp working engine, i.e., your legacy system's infrastructure. The goal should be to create enough flexibility so that your applications can provide the expected service. If you also think that your legacy system needs migration to the cloud or have some doubts about what you could and could not migrate to the cloud, please contact us. ESDS is happy to help you.

    Why cloud needs a new approach to cybersecurity                    

    How secure is your cloud environment? If you’ve outsourced to a managed service provider (MSP) and you’re referring us to its SLA for an answer, we suggest you think again. Cloud-based data and applications might be hosted remotely, but responsibility for security doesn’t stop at the data centre’s front gate.

    In reducing complexity, costs and the burden of local support, cloud is rightly becoming today’s predominant business platform, but CIOs who believe that outsourcing the infrastructure means they’re also outsourcing responsibility for corporate cybersecurity are doing their employers – and themselves – a real disservice.

    Security starts at home

    The weak point in any security chain is more often than not human. Recycled passwords, social engineering attacks and a failure to implement 2FA/MFA are more likely threats than remotely installed malware or any kind of physical attack. CIOs looking to secure their cloud data should turn their attention first towards their users, rather than their supplier.

    Research by Microsoft, which counters more than 300 million fraudulent sign-in attempts on its cloud services every day, reveals that 99.9% of attacks can be countered through the single act of deploying multi-factor authentication, requiring a physical check or confirmation code in addition to a password on every account.

    It’s reasonable to believe the results would be similar for non-Microsoft cloud services, and MFA –which is reasonably easy to use, even for the less digitally savvy – can simultaneously mitigate the risk of data loss when a device is stolen, compromised or left in the back of a taxi.

    Secure by Design

    Security needs to be baked in at every level and reassessed any time the business needs require an infrastructure change. Likewise, it is vital that organisations looking to partner with an unknown MSP verify that it has taken adequate measures to provide real-time analysis of their systems and potential threats through deployed security information and event management (SIEM).

    With SIEM detecting threats from both inside and outside the organisation, monitoring behaviour and ensuring MSPs and their client remain in compliance with common security standards, administrators can detect issues before they become problems. Moreover, by establishing rules-based responses, systems can actively participate in their own protection, shutting down endpoint services or blocking access to hostile IPs at the point of detection while simultaneously ensuring business as usual for authorised users.

    Using cloud services developed by a provider like Microsoft, rather than on-site or locally managed but remotely hosted infrastructure owned by the customer, ensures not only that organisations benefit from the latest intelligence sooner – and more timely updates to their core infrastructure – but that CIOs have the capacity they require to manage owned assets and track where their data rests. Securing CRM data at the server level but leaving staff laptops unprotected could, after all, give would-be attackers easy access to business-critical assets.

    Fibre optic cables emitting blue light

    Security portability

    Loyalty is no longer a given, either from staff to their employer, when their increasingly portable skill sets make them ripe to be poached, or from your own organisation to its suppliers.

    Cloud offers easy terms, short contracts and platform-agnostic data formats, all of which makes it easy to switch suppliers. CIOs are duty bound to ensure that an organisation’s security measures are at least as portable as its data if the business is to remain agile.

    Security, in itself, should never be a reason to stick with a current supplier if it’s no longer the best fit. Likewise, moving from one provider to another shouldn’t pose a security risk unless the provisions thus-far implemented are bespoke – which, by definition, makes them more complex to administer and prone to fail.

    There’s a sweet spot in every set-up that lets businesses develop services across diverse platforms without exposing their data to risk. It’s the CIO’s job to find it, ideally in partnership with their cloud provider. Security is no longer a service to be bolted on at the periphery; it’s an infrastructure keystone, just like the storage and connectivity that facilitates cloud computing.

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