Cloud security fundamentals checklist

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More and more small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are now subscribing to cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform, and for good reason. For one, using the cloud eliminates the need for businesses to invest in their own physical server infrastructure, leading to significant cost savings related to hardware purchases and maintenance, among others. It also offers SMBs the flexibility to scale their IT resources up or down as needed. 

While taking advantage of cloud services has plenty of benefits, it also introduces new cybersecurity risks. This means you need to take steps to improve your business’s cloud security. 

What is cloud security?

Cloud security refers to the collection of tools and processes used to protect data stored in the cloud from unauthorized access, modification, deletion, or leakage. Its goal is to ensure that only authorized users can access stored data and prevent cyberthreats, such as malware, hacking attempts, and data breaches. 

How can SMBs improve cloud security?

To bolster cloud security, you must tick off the following items on this checklist: 

    Cloud security is a shared responsibility between subscribers and cloud service providers (CSPs), so you need to choose your provider wisely. Reliable CSPs use a combination of various security measures, such as: 

    • Firewall – monitors and allows or blocks incoming and outgoing network traffic based on a set of security rules
    • Encryption – converts plain-text information into an unreadable code that can only be deciphered with a decryption key
    • Round-the-clock threat monitoring – involves 24/7 monitoring of network activity and user behavior to spot and block potential threats 
    • Incident response – assesses, investigates, and identifies the underlying cause of potential security issues or suspicious activities
    • Disaster recovery – allows quick recovery of cloud data and applications to prevent or limit downtime and data loss in the event of a disaster

    Applying encryption at the file level creates a solid foundation for cloud security. That’s why, aside from using your CSP’s encryption services, you should also encrypt your files before uploading them to the cloud.

    Provide employees access only to the data, apps, and other resources they need to do their job. For instance, an office administrator doesn’t need access to the sales team’s documents. With access restrictions in place, a cybercriminal that manages to compromise the office administrator’s account will be able to access only the resources available to that employee. This minimizes the risk of data leaks or unauthorized access.

    Passwords are often the first line of defense against cybercriminals, so they need to be robust enough to withstand attempts to guess them. To create a strong password, the National Institute of Standards and Technology recommends generating passphrases. A passphrase is a combination of random, common words that make a nonsensical phrase, which is easy to remember for the user but difficult for hackers to guess. It’s best to use passphrase generators to create a strong passphrase.

    Moreover, you should enable multifactor authentication (MFA) as an added layer of security. With MFA, users need to provide more than one proof of their identity (e.g., a password and a one-time code) to gain access to their accounts. So even if a cybercriminal steals a user’s login credentials, they still need to fulfill the other authentication requirements before they can access that user’s account.

    Having an AUP is essential in maintaining security across your company, no matter where users are accessing the cloud from. The AUP should include information about proper user behavior, such as refraining from downloading suspicious software and using only approved devices to access the cloud. It should also discuss the consequences of breaching the policy, such as suspension or termination of access.

    Implementing these steps will help keep your cloud data safe and secure. To ensure proper implementation, turn to the IT security experts of SpectrumWise. Schedule a FREE consultation with us today.


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