Cloud computing is one of the most recent and fastest growing storage facility in the tech space. It involves the provision of the computing based services via the internet which includes but not limited to networking; software management, database management, data analytics, data storage, etc without active direct management by the users.
It is also a model used by organizations and business owners to host data and applications, and to develop new services. Adoption of cloud computing services has been growing rapidly over the past decade, and soon a tipping point will be reached.
With the use of cloud computing for application software, infrastructure software, business process services and system infrastructure, it is obvious that the traditional on-premises technology options will be overtaken within the next two or three years.
Following the recent development in workplaces, such as the enforced shift to hybrid working have generated further momentum behind cloud services; and as cloud offerings continue to grow, it’s likely that it’s adoption will continue to expand. This is because cloud computing has some obvious advantages.
Some key advantages of cloud computing
- The ability to scale services almost infinitely based on demand without the need to buy or maintain expensive hardware.
- It’s ability to take advantage of new applications without having teams of engineers on the payroll to deploy and manage them.
- Cloud applications improve collaboration by allowing groups of people to quickly and easily share information in the cloud via shared storage.
- The ability to store and back up data.
- Cloud computing allows users to easily access all cloud data via mobile devices.
- It also offers automatic software updates.
However, not withstanding the above and other numerous advantages, cloud computing also comes along with new challenges. And the biggest amongst these challenges is security.
It’s true that one of the key advantages of the cloud for businesses is the opportunity to turn their systems and data over to a cloud company with dedicated experts working to keep their systems secure. That’s certainly the case with software as a service (SaaS), which for many businesses has taken away the worries involved in maintaining software on their own servers.
That doesn’t mean that security should be neglected after moving to the cloud.
Reaping the full benefits of cloud computing means using more than one cloud company, with data and workloads moving between a company’s own data centre and the cloud, or between different clouds.
Here are some of the security tips to adopt on cloud computing
1. Don’t give every user 100% user access
It is of no doubt that cloud applications and services are convenient, providing users with a variety of tools they need to be productive, all in one place. Yet different users have different needs and most users don’t need high-level privileges especially when that access could easily be abused by an unauthorized user who has hacked or otherwise taken control of an account with admin rights.
Therefore, it is important that IT and information security teams to ensure that administrator right are only available for those who really need them – and that any account with administrator privileges is properly secured.
This will deny attackers access and prevent the abuse of high-level accounts, to create additional accounts they could use to secretly go about their business, for example. It’s also imperative that regular users do not have the power to escalate their own privileges or create new accounts.
2. Do not ignore software security updates
One of the most important things you can do to improve the cybersecurity of your network is to apply security updates on your software and devices as soon as possible. This is because, cyber criminals regularly look for a way to exploit known vulnerabilities in applications to breach networks and lay the foundation for cyberattacks.
And as a matter of fact, cloud software is not an exception. Vulnerabilities can be uncovered and they will receive security patches, which need to be applied. IT and security teams of an organization especially those running large storage and cloud based networks sometimes do think that security has been taken care of by cloud, hence ignoring security update and patches alert. It is a good practice to apply the security update whenever it comes.
3. Don’t leave cloud accounts porous without security controls
Cloud applications and services allow users to access files and data from anywhere, this on the other hand makes them a prime target for cyber criminals. Remembering passwords can be difficult, which is why many users use simple, common or re-used passwords.
While this approach reduces the chances of users being locked out of their accounts. It also creates an open door for hackers – particularly if breaching an email address or another corporate application that’s part of the cloud suite provides intruders with an opportunity to escalate their privileges and gain additional control over systems.
It is paramount that cloud accounts are properly secured, using a complex, unique password and that they are also equipped with multi-factor authentication, so even if the password is breached, leaked or guessed, there’s an additional barrier that helps to prevent the account being taken over and abused by attackers.
5. Do not totally rely on cloud for data storage – keep offline backups
One of the benefits of cloud software is that, in many cases, it is available at the touch of a button. Users can access data stored in the cloud, from anywhere they are and from whatever device they’re using.
But that doesn’t prove that data stored in the cloud is necessarily accessible 100% all the time. Systems can suffer from outages, technical issues and it’s also potentially possible for cyber criminals to tamper with data.
In a situation whereby the identity controls protecting cloud accounts are breached by cyber criminals, the data could be deleted or held hostage, a common tactic used by ransomware gangs, for example, is to delete backups stored in the cloud.
Despite how strong your cybersecurity controls may be, protecting cloud accounts is particularly important. Data should be backed up and stored offline because, if the worst happens, and data in the cloud is lost or inaccessible, there’s the possibility of recovering it back.
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Reading your article helped me a lot and I agree with you. But I still have some doubts, can you clarify for me? I’ll keep an eye out for your answers.