Best practices in Cloud Security

Organisations continue to migrate to the cloud in order to enhance productivity, improve accessibility, and promote compliance standards. While the cloud is fundamentally changing how we work, communicate, and manage information, security is one of the areas holding people back. As one of the fundamental building blocks of a successful organisation, security issues can be a sticking point when it comes to making this important transition.

Despite the complexities and challenges involved with moving off-site, cloud-based services and applications can help to enable tighter security standards and controls. A cloud access security broker (CASB) can help you to manage your security strategies and settings, with CASB solutions combining managed security services with data protection and vulnerability management. Whether you’re involved with software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), or infrastructure as a service (IaaS), let’s take a look at the challenges and best practices in modern cloud security.

GA Systems cloud security

Challenges of cloud security

The cloud is all about accessibility, connectivity, and sharing. While this is all well and good when times are good, not everyone wants an open and transparent operation when a threat occurs. The benefits of the cloud when it comes to productivity are the same things that create challenges when it comes to security. In order to have the best of both worlds, it’s important to apply effective security controls that categorise and protect sensitive data within these new and dynamic environments.

Cloud computing is based on the delivery of multiple services in a remote location. Due to existing business practices, these services are generally designed to closely resemble existing software applications and network architecture. In many ways, cloud computing can be seen as a set of abstracted services which stand in for and extend conventional structures and applications. Effective security solutions need to be aware of the strengths and limitations of the cloud by combining a conventional on-premises approach with specific methods that directly address and manage this abstraction layer.

Cloud security best practices

There are many ways to enhance and manage security in the cloud, from enterprise firewalls and access protocols through to the development of a custom intrusion detection system. While the lack of infrastructure control in the cloud is often seen to compromise traditional security principles, the following practices can help you to migrate without unnecessary risk.

  • Planning and development – Every successful cloud migration is based on clear planning and long-term strategy. You need to decide between SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS implementations, compare CASB solutions, identify new risks from migration, and develop a long-term strategy based on the specific needs of your organisation.
  • Managing access – Having the ability to control access to specific applications and environments is crucial for any organisation. You can identify and authenticate users in many ways, with multi-factor authentication generally accepted as the most robust solution. Depending on the details of your cloud platform and managed security services, you may also wish to create access policies and assign user access rights for individual services and applications.
  • Protecting data – There are ways to control data other than access restrictions, including enterprise firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and other methods of vulnerability management. Cloud-based services often provide greater safety when it comes to user error, with continued access available to critical data when needed and backups automatically created when data is accidentally deleted.
  • Monitoring and integration – Cloud services enable real-time monitoring of critical applications, although the data collected may be different from that collected on-premises. It may be necessary to analyse the difference between your own monitoring and that provided by cloud-based resources in order to get an accurate picture of your overall security posture.