The 4 pillars of cloud security: What your business needs to know

The 4 pillars of cloud security: What your business needs to know

The benefits of the cloud are undeniable — increased flexibility, scalability and cost savings — but without proper security protocols in place, these advantages can be quickly outweighed by the risks associated with data breaches and other cyberattacks.

Fortunately, there are four key areas that your business can focus on to ensure that its cloud infrastructure remains secure. By learning more about these essential facets of cloud security, you can gain a better understanding of the best practices and strategies that you should adopt to protect your data.

Identity security

The easiest way for cybercriminals to breach your cloud infrastructure is through the use of stolen or guessed user credentials. Once they gain access to your cloud environment using a compromised user account, they can freely move around in the system and potentially copy or damage data.

While cloud providers such as Amazon and Microsoft implement advanced authentication processes to protect user identities, you should still take additional measures to bolster your security. Here are some key tools and strategies for securing user identities and preventing unauthorized access:

  • Multifactor authentication (MFA) – Implementing MFA adds an extra layer of security to your cloud environment by requiring users to provide two or more pieces of evidence to verify their identity.
  • Context-based authentication – With context-based authentication, users are only granted access to your cloud environment if they meet certain criteria, such as logging in from a certain device or location.
  • Single sign-on (SSO) – SSO services provide access to multiple integrated applications and systems with a single set of credentials, so users won’t have to remember and manage multiple login details.
  • Password manager – A password manager helps users generate and keep track of complex passwords, and it can also detect if their credentials have been compromised.
  • User access control – By limiting user access to only the data and resources that are necessary for them to perform their functions, you can reduce your potential attack surface and lower the risk of malicious activity within your cloud environment.

Network security

When you access the cloud to store or share data, you’re essentially creating a direct connection from your local network to your cloud environment. As such, your cloud infrastructure is only as secure as the network that it’s connected to, whether it's your office network or a public Wi-Fi hotspot.

To ensure that your cloud data remains safe, consider implementing the following network security measures:

  • Firewall – A firewall acts as a barrier between your local network and the internet, blocking potentially malicious traffic from entering your system.
  • Virtual private network (VPN) – A VPN encrypts the data sent from your local network to the cloud, making it unreadable to anyone who attempts to intercept it.
  • Intrusion detection system – An intrusion detection system monitors your local network for suspicious activity and sends alerts when it detects anything out of the ordinary.
  • Data encryption – Encrypting your data before sending it to the cloud ensures that even if a hacker breaches your system, they won’t be able to make sense of the data.

Device security

In addition to securing your user accounts and local network, you must take steps to protect the devices used to access the cloud. These include laptops, smartphones, and other connected devices that may be used to gain unauthorized access to your cloud environment.

Some of the most essential tools and strategies for device security include:

  • Software updates – Installing the latest security patches and software updates keeps your devices safe from known vulnerabilities.
  • Antivirus or anti-malware programs – These programs detect and remove malicious software from your devices.
  • Mobile device management (MDM) – MDM solutions allow you to remotely control and secure connected devices, enabling you to limit access to certain data or features or to wipe these devices clean in the event of a security breach.

Cloud security configuration

Finally, it’s important to ensure that your cloud environment is properly configured to maximize security. This includes setting up proper access controls, implementing encryption protocols, and regularly monitoring for suspicious activity. Default cloud configurations can be an easy target for attackers, so it’s important to customize your setup based on the specific needs and requirements of your organization.

Working with a managed IT services provider (MSP) can enable you to configure your cloud environment for optimal security. MSPs are experienced in setting up secure cloud environments and can provide expertise on the latest best practices and regulations. Additionally, they can monitor your cloud environment around the clock to ensure that it remains safe and secure.

Kortek Solutions can be your trusted MSP partner. Schedule a consultation with us today to learn more about how we can help you secure your cloud infrastructure.