The cloud has revolutionized the way modern businesses operate. By moving to the cloud, companies can access data and applications from anywhere globally, scale their remote infrastructures in real-time, and take advantage of cloud-based analytics and machine learning tools.
Transitioning to cloud-based applications and solutions offers unparalleled flexibility for businesses, but it also comes with certain risks. When moving to the cloud, one of the biggest concerns for businesses is data security and data privacy, which are essential for companies to get right.
The Importance of Data Security and Privacy in Today’s Cloud Landscape
The cloud has become the go-to platform for businesses of all sizes. It is flexible, scalable, and cost-effective, making it the perfect solution for organizations looking to improve their IT infrastructure. However, with the cloud comes new security challenges.
Data security and privacy are top concerns for companies moving to the cloud. And rightfully so—the cloud is a shared environment, which means your data is stored on servers that are managed by other organizations. This creates risk if the servers are not properly secured.
To add to some of these concerns, recent high-profile data breaches have made headlines and spotlighted the importance of effective cloud security. In 2019, Capital One experienced a data breach in which a hacker was able to access the personal information of more than 100 million people’s credit card applications and accounts stored on cloud data servers.
This instance and many others prove how important it is for companies to maintain a robust cloud security strategy to successfully protect their data and that of their customers.
Best Practices for Securing Cloud Data Platforms
While there are risks associated with moving more data through the cloud, there are best practices businesses can follow to ensure their cloud data platforms meet their organization’s data security and privacy requirements.
Encrypting data at rest and in transit
One of the most important things companies can do to secure their cloud data is to encrypt it. This makes it much more difficult for hackers to access and steal data if they penetrate your cloud servers.
There are two main types of encryption: at-rest and in-transit. At-rest encryption refers to encrypting data that is stored on cloud servers. In-transit encryption protects data as it is being transmitted between different systems—for example, when you are sending an email or accessing a website.
Both at-rest and in-transit encryption are essential for securing cloud data. And while at-rest data is typically considered more secure because of its reduced attack surface, it is critical to ensure it’s adequately encrypted as it is targeted more by attackers.
Many different cloud encryption key management systems are available, so do your research and choose one that meets your organization’s specific needs.
Implementing identity and access management
Another best practice for securing cloud data is implementing an identity and access management (IAM) system. IAM is a process of managing users’ identities, roles, and permissions. It is designed to allow authorized users access to the data and resources they need while preventing unauthorized entry.
IAM can be used to control who has access to your cloud servers and data and what actions they can take. For example, you can use IAM to grant read-only access to specific files or folders for some users while allowing others to read, write, and delete files.
Using multi-factor authentication
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is an additional layer of security that can be added to cloud data platforms. MFA requires users to provide more than one piece of evidence (or factor) to verify their identity before being granted access to a system.
The most common type of MFA is two-factor authentication, which requires a user to provide a password and a one-time code generated by an app or sent via text message.
Adding MFA can help to further protect your cloud data by making it more difficult for hackers to gain access to your servers. Even if a user’s password is obtained, hackers would also need the one-time code making it less likely that your storage solutions could be compromised.
Establishing real-time monitoring and protection
Taking a proactive approach to cloud security is always best, and an effective way to do so is to establish real-time monitoring and protection. This means setting up alerts, so you are notified immediately if there is any suspicious activity on your cloud servers.
Most cloud data platforms have some form of built-in security monitoring that helps keep an eye on your servers and data, but many third-party cloud security tools can provide additional protection.
When deciding on the level of security monitoring and protection that is right for your organization, it is essential to consider the type of data you are storing in the cloud and the sensitivity of that data. For example, if you are storing financial or personal health information, you will need a higher level of security than what is needed to store basic contact information.
Either way, it is essential to have a form of monitoring and protection in place so you can quickly identify and respond to any potential threats before they evolve into business-wide security and compliance issues.
Balancing Cloud Flexibility and Adequate Security
Cloud data platforms offer flexibility, which is often one of the main reasons organizations choose to use them. However, this flexibility can also present some challenges when securing cloud data.
Organizations must strike a balance between providing adequate security for their cloud data and maintaining the flexibility they need to run their business.
The good news is that many different security measures can be taken to protect cloud data. With a proactive approach and by implementing the best security practices, organizations can keep their data safe while enjoying the benefits of using a cloud data platform.