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7 Ways to Optimise Cloud Security 

by Nathan Zachary

Cloud security comprises policies, controls, technologies, and procedures that safeguard an organisation’s cloud-based systems and applications. But this process has remained one of the most significant concerns for businesses since the inception of the Cloud. 

As per the 2021 AWS Cloud Security Report by CloudPassage, some of the top cloud security threats to organisations are: 

  • Misconfigurations of the cloud platforms,  
  • Insecure APIs and  
  • Exfiltration of sensitive data 

Additionally, 95% of respondents in a survey confirmed their public cloud security concerns. And such concerns are justified considering that 79% of surveyed companies in IDC’s 2021 State of Cloud Security Report confirmed cloud security breaches in the last 18 months. 

CISA, or Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, has further put down that hackers use brute force logins and phishing campaigns to exploit the weakness of a company’s cloud security processes. They deploy emails with scamming links to capture the login credentials of cloud service accounts.

7 Ways to optimise Cloud Security

Using a collection of cloud solutions is no longer enough. Instead, organisations should focus more on monitoring, ensuring, and enhancing cloud security. 

Here are the seven most effective ways to optimise your AWS cloud security: 

1) Have MFA or Multi-Factor Authentication in Place

Gone is the time when the username and password combinations were enough to protect cloud accounts from scammers and hackers. Once they have these credentials, your online applications and business data are gone! They can easily log into all your cloud services and applications essential for business operation. 

A good rule of thumb here is to protect all your cloud services and applications with MFA or Multi-Factor Authentication. It further ensures that no unauthorised or unauthentic personnel log into your cloud and access sensitive data on your premises. 

It is among the most affordable and effective ways to optimise cloud security. You will now be considered negligent if you do not use MFA as part of your IAAS strategy. 

2) Know the Shared Responsibility Model Thoroughly 

Organisations with a private data center are solely responsible for all the security problems. However, this is not the case in the public Cloud, where security problems are a user’s concern. The cloud provider also takes responsibility for certain aspects of IT security. This is called the shared responsibility model by security and cloud professionals. 

Popular PaaS and IaaS service providers offer documents entailing the specific responsibilities of concerned parties as per different kinds of deployments. So, if you are using the services of a particular cloud service provider, ensure to go through the company’s policies regarding sharing security responsibilities. Ensure you clearly understand who will handle the different facets of cloud security. It will optimise or improve the efficiency of your cloud security by preventing misunderstanding and miscommunication. 

3) Have IAM Solutions in Place 

All employees within your organisation do not require access to all information, files, and applications in the cloud infrastructure. You can have an Identity and Access Management solution in place to ensure each employee can view only those data and applications necessary for them or their job. 

This access control will prevent hackers from accessing sensitive data in the Cloud. At the same time, it will also prevent employees from editing information they are not authorised to access. 

IAM solutions should be defined and enforced on the least privilege and role basis. Getting IAM solutions capable of working in hybrid environments like cloud deployments and private data centres is also essential. It will simplify authentication for the end users and even make it more convenient for the security personnel to ensure they are enforcing policies across all the IT environments consistently. 

4) Use Automated Intruder Detection Services to Monitor User Activities 

Monitoring and analysing end-user activities can help you identify irregularities or deviations in the typical usage pattern. Such abnormalities indicate a significant cloud security breach that must be caught immediately to stop the hackers in their tracks. It will also allow you to solve the cloud security issue before it causes mayhem. 

Different automated solutions that offer 24/7 networking management and monitoring can help you out with this/. Initially, you can satiate your cloud security requirements with these and then move on to the more advanced solutions like: 

  • Endpoint Detection and Response 
  • Vulnerability Scanning and Remediation 
  • Intrusion Detection & Response 

5) Have a Systematic De-Provisioning Procedure in Place for Ex-Employees 

It is vital to ensure that the ex-employees of your company do not have further access to your cloud systems, data, storage intellectual properties, and customer information. It is among the most critical cloud security responsibilities, but unfortunately, it keeps getting postponed after an employee has left. 

Since the ex-employees of your concern will likely be able to access your cloud platforms and applications, you must have a systematic de-provisioning procedure. It will ensure all access rights for the departing employees of your organisation are duly revoked. 

6) Have CASB or Cloud Security Policies in Place 

If your organisation’s internal cloud security personnel does not possess cloud expertise or your existing security system does not support cloud applications and services, it’s time to get some outside help. 

CASBs or Cloud Access Security Brokers are specifically-designed tools that enforce cloud security policies within an organisation. As per experts, these solutions make sense for companies using several cloud computing services from different vendors. The best thing about CASBs is they are good at monitoring unauthorised access and apps.

7) Secure All Endpoints 

Only because you are using cloud security solutions does not mean you need not have solid endpoint security. Ensure complete endpoint security with a defence-in-depth plan that includes anti-malware, firewalls, access control, and intrusion detection. You can also use different automation tools to avoid endpoint security complications. 

EPP or Endpoint Protection Platforms and EDR or Endpoint Detection and Response tools are the best solutions in this field. They come with traditional endpoint security potentials with constant automated and monitoring responses. EPP and EDR tools address security requirements like patch management, VPNs, insider threat prevention, and endpoint encryption. 

The Bottom Line 

Cloud security can offer you the best benefits provided you take the proper precautions and optimise it in a way that works smoother and more efficiently. Following the best practices in choosing, installing, managing, and provisioning different cloud security solutions can help you safeguard your sensitive company data. 

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