Improve Cloud Security With These Tools and Protocols
The growth of cloud computing has completely changed how we work. Zoom, Microsoft 365 – the whole array of collaboration tools that have become part of daily life over the past couple of years – are all cloud-based applications that many of us wouldn’t want to do without.
But security in a cloud environment can create challenges.
In many ways, the move to the cloud has created an open invitation to cybercriminals. All they need to do is get hold of your login credentials, and they’re in – relatively simple phishing emails or brute-force cyberattacks are all it takes.
This provides the attacker with genuine credentials, making it even more challenging to detect unauthorized access to your systems – especially now that many of us are working flexible hours and may access systems at any hour of the day or night.
Scarier still, once inside, cybercriminals can spend weeks, even months, digging around in your network before they launch an attack. So, you must have the right security tools and protocols in place when using cloud services. Here are a few to consider:
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Multi-factor authentication requires a second-stage, single-use password to make the login process more secure. This second password is usually sent to a smartphone or generated via a secure USB key so that only the intended person can use it.
The other good thing about MFA is that the second stage notification can be an extra security alert. If you receive a text with a single-use password, but you haven’t attempted to log in to the application, you’ll know that someone is trying to access your account. That allows you to take action to make sure they’re not successful.
This means that your data is encoded the moment it leaves your device and stays in the cloud until you use it again, or share it with a privileged co-worker, for example. When it stays encrypted for the duration, this is called end-to-end encryption. It stops cybercriminals from hijacking your data once it leaves your device or network. It also means that, should your cloud provider suffer a breach, any stolen data will be useless without a decryption key – which only you have.
Many cloud platforms will provide this service as part of your package. But it’s good practice to make 100% sure instead of assuming it’s being done.
Manage your user accounts
Some team members, especially in IT, may have high-level admin accounts with full access to your entire system. As you may imagine, unauthorized access to this could be highly detrimental.
Ensure employees who don’t need admin access don’t have it. The more people with higher access, the greater the opportunity for cybercriminals to gain entry to your cloud services.
Install the update
As with all applications, cloud services receive regular software updates to keep them working and patch any new vulnerabilities. These patches must be applied immediately to prevent cybercriminals from taking advantage of and entering your network.
Alerts are often issued about newly discovered vulnerabilities, and it’s important that you follow the alert’s advice and apply any new updates.
Zero trust supports the ‘least privilege’ principle – meaning that people are only given access to the things they need to perform their job, and nothing more.
Zero trust principles extend deep into how chunks of data speak to each other in the cloud. So, if you work with a lot of personal or business-critical information, you should seek expert guidance on keeping it secure.
You still need to back up
No network is impossible to breach. Your cloud security strategy – and indeed your entire security strategy – should always include storing offline data backups. So, if something happens that leaves your cloud services unavailable (like your provider suffering a major disaster of its own), your business wouldn’t be disrupted.
It also means that in the event of a ransomware attack, you still have all your data to work with. You still have to worry about where stolen data could end up, but you can at least continue working.
There’s a lot to think about regarding the security of your cloud services. Some of these protections will already be offered by your cloud service provider, but if you’re unsure, it’s worth checking your setup to understand if you could be at risk.
If you find that your cloud services aren’t as secure as you’d like, or don’t know where to start, contact Yeo & Yeo Technology. We’re here to help.
Information used in this article was provided by our partners at MSP Marketing Edge.