How Secure is your Cloud?

Cloud-based solutions are increasing in demand globally. These solutions span from secure data storage to entire business processes. The allure of transferring IT from being a cost centre to a business engine have organisations flocking to avail of cloud potential.

Leveraging cloud capabilities allows system and infrastructure tasks to be completed in hours rather than weeks. This in turn allows staff to focus on more important aspects such as innovation and driving the business forward.

However, reduced costs and an abundance of features don’t come without drawbacks. Security has always been the primary concern. Since the introduction of cloud services, that concern is elevated.

So how secure is the cloud?

To answer this, let’s look at what the cloud offers in terms of security.

Users are most familiar with the security credentials around gaining access. Cloud vendors secure user data using other means; some of these include:

  • Advanced firewalls: These verify content integrity and can map known security threats vs. the standard firewall which only examines source and destination data.
  • Intrusion detection: Several layers of detection provided by cloud services can stop intruders should they pass the initial defence.
  • Encryption: All data is encrypted in the cloud. Should encrypted data be stolen, access will be denied without the encryption key.
  • Event logs: Cloud security analysts use these logs to help predict and prevent security breaches.
  • Physical security: Data centres are certified, meaning they provide 24-hour monitoring, advanced personal access and onsite security guards.

Next, let’s look at some of the security risks. Cloud services clearly offer many security measures to ensure your cloud is kept safe. To ensure your cloud security is complete, staff must be made aware of these security measures. As secure as the cloud is, negligent users can leave the door wide open.

Security breaches are rarely caused by inefficient cloud security but by the end user. Several factors are contributed to user security and can be reduced with employee training that focuses on:

  • Authentication: Weak credentials are the primary security vulnerability – no more password123. Utilizing security services such as multi-factor authentication will go a long way to reduce this vulnerability.
  • Awareness: Employees should be trained in security awareness; this should include how businesses are breached and how to respond to common attack approaches.
  • Phishing: A very common attack technique which can attempt to compromise a user’s credentials to gain access to business systems.

In conclusion, cloud security provides advanced security features–usually better than an on-premise solution. It is up to businesses to follow the cloud provider’s security guidelines and to correctly deploy their data into the cloud. Incorrect or negligent use could jeopardize even the most secure environments, which is why employee training is the first step to securing your cloud environment.

Aspira are Microsoft Gold Certified Partners offer secure access to the Azure Cloud services and the Office 365 and Teams environment. Contact info@aspira.ie with your questions on the cloud.

 

Author:  Allan Locke, Senior Systems Administrator, Aspira

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