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How secure use of the cloud can digitally transform your business

2nd June 2021

7 Min read

Companies that move towards digital transformation can innovate more quickly, scale efficiently and reduce risk by implementing cloud security best practices.

Businesses must keep up with growing customer expectations and the pace of innovation by adopting a digital-first business model. But for many businesses, digital transformation remains a huge challenge.

Company culture and technology must align for a digital-first business model to be effective. You need commitment from your team to learn new skills and processes and the IT infrastructure to enable change.

Adopting new technologies that will make your business agile and flexible will drive you along in your digital transformation. The most important factor, however, is security.

Keeping data secure when it’s used in transit and at rest is crucial to protect your assets, including your technology, information, customers, employees and reputation.

 

How important is the cloud in transforming your business?

Secure cloud computing is the key to making digital transformation possible. Moving your business’ IT environment to the cloud gives you the ability to adapt quickly to changing environments and customer needs.

The cloud provides a platform and processes that improve your business’ productivity, flexibility and agility.

The nature of the cloud is complex and there are many security considerations. As your business moves to digitally transform your operations, cloud security should be a priority to make sure risks are assessed and managed effectively.

Your business must implement sufficient security measures that protect your data and information in the cloud. Cloud security should be embedded from the very beginning in the development and migration process when configuring a new cloud environment.

This approach to the cloud puts your security first, accelerates your growth and makes the best use of the cloud for your business. Secure and effective use of the cloud can enable you to:

  • Make data-driven decisions in real time
  • Maintain trust and confidence in your cloud platform and processes
  • Build a culture of security and risk mitigation
  • Improve operational efficiency and productivity
  • Protect your assets in the cloud and keep data secure

 

What are the risks involved in cloud security?

As with any new technology, particularly where sensitive data is involved, there are risks to cloud computing that need to be identified and mitigated.

Effectively managing risks in the cloud and applying the appropriate security controls is crucial to preventing a data breach or loss from occurring.

Developing a security strategy will help you control your data and how to recover it should a breach or loss happen. Your security strategy should ensure that you can maintain business continuity, compliance and risk management.

Creating a cloud security strategy begins with identifying and evaluating the risks involved in the cloud and how it impacts your IT environment. Developing strong security measures that work hand in hand with your systems and operations will make sure protection is a benefit and not a hindrance to your business.

There are many security risks to the cloud that you must be aware of. You have to understand what these risks are and evaluate the impact of the risks should they occur. This way, you can implement adequate cloud security measures to overcome them.

The most common risks to be aware of are:

  • Lack of cloud expertise – More often than not, internal teams don’t have the knowledge to identify complex security weaknesses within cloud environments. Expertise should be outsourced to a high-quality third party where necessary to identify and address risks and security considerations.
  • Cloud misconfigurations – Gaps in your understanding of cloud security can lead to misconfigurations. Cloud environments are very complex and there are many opportunities for resources to be configured insecurely which may put your data at risk.
  • Non-compliance with data regulations – It’s crucial to identify the relevant data regulations you’re subject to depending on where your data is processed. Processing data internationally can involve challenges for compliance.

Sentrium Security can support your cloud security requirements. Our cloud testing services offer assurance for your organisation to ensure that your data in the cloud is protected.

How do you secure your data in the cloud?

To secure your cloud environment, you may need to use the platform security tools at your disposal, and configure the environment by following a secure design or specification. You must know who has access to your cloud and maintain a security management strategy across your cloud environment.

  1. Conduct cloud security testing
    Cloud security testing identifies weaknesses in the design and configuration of your resources, services and object policies that may enable untrusted parties to access your sensitive information.Regular security testing is essential to make sure that configurations applied to your cloud environment are best practice.
  2. Encrypt your data
    Encryption is a significant line of defence against malicious actors who want to gain access to your sensitive data. Cloud platforms provide many features that support encryption but it’s common for default settings to be less secure than recommended. You should review encryption settings across your cloud resources to make sure they’re configured correctly.
  3. Create strong passwords
    Strong passwords are an essential way to secure your user accounts and services in a cloud environment. You should create strong passwords for every account and service, and pay specific attention to those accounts that have high privileges or access to sensitive information. You should avoid using predictable passwords that may be associated with your business, configure password protection features and policies, use two-factor authentication and change all default passwords.
  4. Implement two-factor authentication (2FA)
    Two-factor authentication should be used on your cloud accounts to protect sensitive data. It ensures that anyone who signs in to your accounts must provide another level of authentication on top of a password to gain access.Not all accounts will automatically ask you to set up a second factor of authentication, but most cloud providers allow you to configure policies that ask users to add this control.
  5. Log and monitor cloud activity
    If you are storing a significant amount of data in the cloud, it is essential to have full visibility of your environment. All major cloud providers have logging and monitoring services that enable you to monitor all cloud activity, however these features often require configuration and some optimisation to provide you with valuable intelligence.You can use these services to identify issues that emerge such as an anomaly or pattern in user or resource behaviour that may require your attention. These services commonly provide detection of high-confidence security threats, which should actively be monitored. It is important to know what you need to do when security threats are identified. Make sure that you have an incident response plan to enable you to take action if necessary.

Cloud security should be an enabler for your digital transformation. It allows you to grow with confidence knowing that risks to your cloud environment are mitigated and that your assets and sensitive data are protected.

A strategic move to the cloud which embeds security controls throughout the development and deployment process will allow you to create and maintain a consistent level of digital security across your business.

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