Business Acumen: Cloud Security


Cloud security, also known as cloud computing security, is a collection of security measures designed to protect cloud-based infrastructure, applications, and data. These measures ensure user and device authentication, data and resource access control, and privacy protection.

Every week, a news story breaks about a significant data breach involving a massive corporation. Unfortunately, in many instances, an enormous amount of information is stolen due to a relatively small gap in security. For many buyers, maintaining a proactive approach to database security is critical.

1. Protecting Data Is Protecting Assets

First and foremost, there is no such thing as a minor database breach. Threat actors can wreak havoc on a database, whether insider threats or external threats that gain access to your network.

In an increasingly digital world, the value of data will only continue to increase. Data enables many systems that today’s businesses rely on, such as personalized digital experiences and just-in-time inventory and logistics systems. Valuable data lost or compromised can have wide-ranging effects on our customers.

Internally, information security is essential in ensuring your database’s reliability. If our customer’s databases experience data loss or disruptions, the value of that information diminishes greatly.

2. Having fewer errors increases the security of data

Automating and securing databases go hand in hand. Our customers can quickly identify and mitigate security threats using machine learning technology and automated detection. When they do that, they are less likely to get false positives and more likely to be able to stop cyberattacks in time with faster insights and more accurate monitoring.

3. Improve relationships with customers

The concept of data privacy extends far beyond the simple act of ticking boxes. It’s not easy for consumers to decide what information to share and with whom. In today’s world, if consumers do not trust our customers with their data, there’s a good chance they won’t spend their money on our customer’s business, period.

Lost or compromised customer data is a public relations nightmare. A data breach erodes customer trust in the organization, even if the organization is not a digital-first, cloud-native business.

Ensure Data Security for the Brand

While we live in a data-driven age, the customer still reigns supreme. Gaining customer trust back is difficult if our customers have lost it. Data breaches caused by companies will never cause consumers to do business with them again, according to Secure Link.

Our customers need to be confident in their sensitive data’s safety. The loss of trust from a breach can cause customers to run to competitors, while gaining trust can make them loyal to our customers.

Advanced Challenges

Some of the advanced cloud security challenges and the multiple layers of risk faced by today’s cloud-oriented organizations include:

Increased Attack Surface

The public cloud environment has become a large and beautiful attack surface for hackers who exploit poorly secured cloud ingress ports to access and disrupt workloads and data in the cloud. Malware, Zero-Day, Account Takeover, and many other malicious threats have become day-to-day reality.

Lack of Visibility and Tracking

In the IaaS model, the cloud providers have complete control over the infrastructure layer and do not expose it to their customers. The lack of visibility and control is further extended in the PaaS and SaaS cloud models. Cloud customers often cannot effectively identify and quantify their cloud assets or visualize their cloud environments.

Ever-Changing Workloads

Cloud assets are provisioned and decommissioned dynamically—at scale and velocity. Traditional security tools cannot enforce protection policies in a flexible and dynamic environment with their ever-changing and ephemeral workloads.

DevOps, DevSecOps, and Automation

Organizations that have embraced the highly automated DevOps CI/CD culture must ensure that appropriate security controls are identified and embedded in code and templates early in the development cycle. Security-related changes implemented after a workload has been deployed in production can undermine the organization’s security posture and lengthen the time to market.

Granular Privilege and Key Management

Often cloud user roles are configured very loosely, granting extensive privileges beyond what is intended or required. One typical example is giving database delete or write permissions to untrained users or users who have no business need to delete or add database assets. At the application level, improperly configured keys and privileges expose sessions to security risks.

Complex Environments

Managing security consistently in the hybrid and multi-cloud environments favored by enterprises these days requires methods and tools that work seamlessly across public cloud providers, private cloud providers, and on-premise deployments—including branch office edge protection for geographically distributed organizations.

Cloud Compliance and Governance

All the leading cloud providers have aligned themselves with the most well-known accreditation programs, such as PCI 3.2, NIST 800-53, HIPAA, and GDPR. However, customers are responsible for ensuring that their workload and data processes comply. Given the poor visibility and dynamics of the cloud environment, the compliance audit process becomes close to mission impossible unless tools are used to achieve continuous compliance checks and issue real-time alerts about misconfigurations.

Top 5 Cyber-Security Risks Faced by Companies

1) Phishing Attacks

The most significant, damaging, and widespread threat businesses face is phishing attacks. Phishing accounts for 90% of all breaches that organizations face. They’ve grown 65% over the last year and account for over $12 billion in business losses. Phishing attacks occur when an attacker pretends to be a trusted contact and entices a user to click a malicious link, download a malicious file, or give them access to sensitive information, account details, or credentials.

Phishing attacks have grown much more sophisticated in recent years, with attackers becoming more convincing in pretending to be legitimate business contacts. There has also been a rise in Business Email Compromise, which involves terrible actors using phishing campaigns to steal business email account passwords from high-level executives and then using these accounts to request employee payments fraudulently.

Part of what makes phishing attacks so damaging is that they’re very difficult to combat. They use social engineering to target humans within a business rather than targeting technological weaknesses. However, there are technological defenses against phishing attacks.

Having a solid Email Security GatewayProofpoint EssentialsMimecast, in place can prevent phishing emails from reaching your employee’s inboxes. Cloud-based email security providers such as IRONSCALES can also be to secure your business from phishing attacks. These solutions allow users to report phishing emails and enable admins to delete them from all user inboxes.

Security Awareness Training is the final layer of security to protect emails from phishing attacks. These solutions allow you to protect your employees by testing and training them to spot phishing attacks and report them.

You can read verified user reviews of the top Email Security GatewaysCloud Email Security Solutions and Security Awareness Training Platforms at Expert Insights.

2) Malware Attacks

Malware is the second significant threat facing businesses. It encompasses a variety of cyber threats, such as trojans and viruses. Malware is a varied term for malicious code that hackers create to gain access to networks, steal data, or destroy computer data. Malware usually comes from malicious website downloads, spam emails, or connecting to other infected machines or devices.

These attacks are particularly damaging for businesses because they can cripple devices, which require expensive repairs or replacements to fix. They can also give attackers a back door to access data, which can put customers and employees at risk. Small businesses are more likely to employ people who use their own devices for work, as it helps to save time and cost. This, however, increases their likelihood of suffering from a malware attack, as personal devices are much more likely to be at risk from malicious downloads.

Businesses can prevent malware attacks by having strong technological defenses in place. Endpoint Protection solutions protect devices from malware downloads and give admins a central control panel to manage devices and ensure all users’ security is up to date. Web Security is also essential, stopping users from visiting malicious web pages and downloading malicious software.

3) Ransomware

Ransomware is one of the most common cyber-attacks, hitting thousands of businesses annually. These attacks have become more common, as they are one of the most lucrative forms of aggression. Ransomware involves encrypting company data so it cannot be used or accessed and forcing the company to pay a ransom to unlock the data. This leaves businesses with a tough choice – to pay the ransom and potentially lose vast sums of money or cripple their services with data loss.

Businesses are especially at risk from these types of attacks. Reports have shown about 70% of ransomware attacks target small businesses, with an average ransom demand of $116,000. Attackers know that smaller firms are much more likely to pay a ransom, as their data is often not backed-up, and they need to be up and running as soon as possible. The healthcare sector is particularly badly hit by this type of attack, as locking patient medical records and appointment times can damage a business to a point where it has no choice but to close unless a ransom has been paid.

To prevent these attacks, businesses must have robust Endpoint Protection across all business devices. These will help to stop ransomware attacks from being able to encrypt data effectively. Endpoint protection solution SentinelOne even provides a ‘ransomware rollback’ feature, allowing organizations to quickly detect and mitigate ransomware attacks.

Businesses should also consider having an effective cloud backup solution in place. These solutions back up company data securely in the cloud, helping to mitigate data loss. There are various methods of data backup available to organizations, so it’s essential to research the method that will work best for your organization. The benefit of implementing data backup and recovery is that IT teams can quickly recover their data without paying any ransoms or losing productivity during a ransomware attack. This is an essential step towards improved cyber-resilience.

4) Weak Passwords

Another significant threat facing small businesses is employees using weak or easily guessed passwords. Many companies use multiple cloud-based services that require different accounts. These services often can contain sensitive data and financial information. Using easily guessed passwords, or using the same passwords for multiple accounts, can cause this data to become compromised.

Businesses are often at risk of compromises from employees using weak passwords due to an overall lack of awareness about the damage they can cause. Around 20 enterprise professionals use easily guessed passwords or share passwords across accounts.

5) Insider Threats

The final major threat facing businesses is the insider threat. An insider threat is an organization’s risk caused by the actions of employees, former employees, business contractors, or associates. These actors can access critical data about your company, and they can cause harmful effects through greed or malice or simply through ignorance and carelessness. Verizon found that insider threats caused 25% of data breaches.

This growing problem can put employees and customers at risk or cause the company financial damage. Within small businesses, insider threats are growing as more employees have access to multiple accounts that hold more data. Research has found that 62% of employees have reported having access to accounts that they probably didn’t need to.

To block insider threats, businesses need to ensure that they have a strong culture of security awareness within their organization. This will help to stop insider threats caused by ignorance and help employees to spot early on when an attacker has compromised or is attempting to compromise company data.

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Updated on June 27, 2023

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