With so much sensitive information on the cloud, keeping your data safe and secure has never been more important. And, while many people think of the cloud as making it easier for unauthorised individuals to access your data, in truth cloud security protects critical business data from theft, cyber-attacks, data leakage and deletion.
What is cloud security? It’s the technology, policies and procedures that your business puts in place to keep your critical data safe from both internal and external threats while it’s being stored in the cloud. But it also does so much more! It helps your teams to work in new and innovative ways, collaborating seamlessly. It gives your people access to the information that they need, when they need it, without compromising your data security. It’s clear to see why so many businesses are choosing to move from their traditional systems to the cloud, when cloud security does so much.
But a number of businesses automatically assume that just by moving to the cloud, security is part of the package offered by the service provider. And this is partially true. But not entirely! While it is true that your service provider is responsible for providing security for their servers, some responsibilities lie with the business as well. This makes it essential for you to understand the responsibilities that you, as a business, must manage. Listed below are ten important cloud computing security best practices that you should put in place within your business. Understanding these will help you keep your systems even more secure, and ensure that your critical data remains uncompromised.
Ten Important Cloud Computing Security Practices
- Understand the shared responsibility model
As mentioned earlier, ensuring your data’s security is a joint effort between you and your cloud service provider. Neither of you is solely responsible for the security of your business data and systems. Both have unique responsibilities to carry out. Before choosing a cloud provider, make sure that you clearly understand where your responsibilities begin and end, and what security aspects you can expect your cloud provider to take care of.
- Conduct regular and rigorous vulnerability tests
Testing is not a one-time task. You must conduct regular and stringent vulnerability testing to ensure that your cloud landscape is secure. Continuous testing ensures that your security standards are intact, service level agreements (SLAs) are met, and that your systems are compliant with regulations like GDPR and the POPI act.
- Add protective layers with user-level data security
Maintaining control over who has access to your data is one of the critical factors to check before signing your cloud service agreement with your provider. Any good cloud service provider will help you to set user-specific access and permissions. If a user doesn’t have the necessary permission, they won’t be able to access your data, even if they are in another team within your company. This feature ensures that you, as a business, keep control over your internal and external security needs.
- Manage data centre access control
On top of ensuring that your users have access to the information that they need, and nothing else, you also need to manage access to your data centre. Having access control means that you have the authority to grant or deny users access to your data centre. You can also choose to give low-level or high-level security access. This way, users with low-level security access cannot access high-level data.
- Consider a virtual private cloud
Being possessive isn’t always a bad thing! When it comes to your cloud storage, wanting to maintain control and keep your data to your company is actually an ideal scenario. While many business choose to use public servers, sharing their cloud storage with multiple users, asking your cloud service provider for a private virtual cloud space is one of the cloud security best practices. In this private cloud environment, you can connect securely to your business data centre. It will not be as cost-effective as using a public server, but it would put your data security first.
- Train your users
While external cyber threats are dangerous, internal IT threats can cause just as much harm. The biggest security threat to businesses is often untrained or poorly-trained users. Security breaches caused by lack of training or knowledge are like open invitations to cybercriminals. Training your users is very important and should be a step you consciously complete while migrating to the cloud or enabling cloud security. Plus, just like testing your systems isn’t a one-time task, you should constantly be updating your staff’s training as new cyber threats emerge.
- Conduct frequent audits
Though cloud security can be automated to the point where it requires almost no human intervention, you still need to conduct periodic audits. Diligent auditing based on existing cloudy security standards is not only important for compliance, but also in making sure that your data is secure from both internal and external threats. With new cybercriminals coming up with new ways to penetrate security systems, ensuring that your technologies are updated and up to scratch, and that your staff are well trained, is essential.
- Secure your user endpoints
Remote working has become a way of life due to the pandemic-induced lockdown and safety measures. Several businesses have migrated to the cloud to ensure business continuity. Your users are accessing critical business data from their home offices around the world, at any time, from any device. This makes it crucial to revisit and update user endpoint access guidelines frequently. You need to ensure that firewalls are being regularly updated, and that effective anti-malware and anti-virus solutions are being installed on all of your employees’ machines. Plus you need efficient access management control to ensure that your data remains secure.
- Implement encryption
Data encryption should be a vital part of your cloud security plan. Making sure that the information in your cloud data centre is already encrypted, and that data that gets transferred is encrypted as well, is crucial. Data encryption is among the most critical features that you must check with your provider before signing any agreement. All your data, at any time, should be encrypted to ensure that if a security breach does occur, your information will remain secure and inaccessible.
- Choose a trusted provider
This goes without saying. Choose a reliable, reputable, and trustworthy cloud service provider who has the experience and skills required to handle your business’ cloud security requirements. Solid Systems is the perfect partner for reliable cloud security services
These are just some of the vital cloud computing security best practices that your business should be putting in place. When you partner with an experienced cloud security service provider like Solid Systems, you’ll be able to talk through these best practices, making sure that you know who will be putting which practices in place. We’re always happy to help you make the right choice for your business, so don’t hesitate to contact us today.