If you are a CEO or an IT administrator, data security on a public cloud is no easy job, regardless of any platform. Even though the word ‘Private’ sounds more secure in comparison with the public, but a recent survey showed that enterprises prefer public cloud over private cloud storage.
Enterprises rely more on public clouds because these provide a scalable infrastructure for storage, applications, and data. Businesses are running more applications and data on public cloud environments than their own data centers.
Despite the fact, the public cloud offers scalability and immediacy; there is a growing adoption of cloud-based services. Still, persistent concerns remain around data security in the cloud. The 2014 study of Cloud Security Alliance found that 61% companies on public cloud see data security and protection as a board or executive level concern.
How can corporates mitigate these concerns and enjoy maximum benefits of the public clouds?
What are the weak areas where security is needed, and what bold steps must be taken?
Let’s take a look at the steps corporates should consider in achieving a secure public cloud environment.
Thoroughly Vet Cloud Vendors
Never assume a public cloud is a perfect place for any organization to migrate existing programs and data. Due diligence is essential for establishing a secure cloud. After that, you can assure compliance to some extent.
Not all public cloud providers are offering the same level of security; always choose one that is fit for your corporate. Start with public cloud services by comparing cloud provider’s data security system. A corporate should look for trusted public cloud partners to achieve cloud security success.
Be Serious About Passwords
Did you know that 90% of the passwords are easy to crack?
Professionals must be aware of the ways to use strong passwords to encrypt their public cloud account. A secure password is one that incorporates several characters along with upper and lower case letters, special symbols and numbers to deter hackers.
Choosing a password that is easy to remember is not taboo but making it easy to guess is a factor that you must avoid at all costs. While inventing your way of memorizing a password, do not forget the main point and that is a selection of mix words and letters.
Adding Security Layers to Shared Data
One of the biggest mistakes most of the corporates make while securing sensitive data is not adding additional or no security layers at all to data shared in the cloud. The skyrocketing adoption of cloud-based storage and file sharing system have, no doubt, created easiness for businesses to collaborate and share content.
The public cloud storage and sharing platforms lack security controls required to track how data is shared with whom and when.
Companies on their own can bug security and workflow holes by adding content controls, protection and in-depth analytics to data being shared. Content controls let corporates address security issues by limiting file viewing, adding watermarks, preventing unauthorized access to data, and other data leakage risks.
Data Classification Policy
By understanding what organizations need to protect data at each level and create a foolproof strategy for that, companies can secure data over the public clouds. The mistake often made by corporates is not adopting a data classification policy to classify data based on sensitivity.
Even for the data on public clouds, companies need to understand which data needs to be protected and what are the sensitivity levels associated with that data. It is crucial to classify data into restricted, confidential/private and public classification for creating a data protection policy.
Regularly Update Security Architecture
Whether it is a private cloud or public cloud environment, regular updates of security architecture are vital for getting maximum data security. It could be achieved in-house within the IT department or by third-party security providers. If in-house IT department is unable to update security architecture, consider hiring a managed security service provider (MSSP).
Align Internal Standards/Procedures With Cloud Providers
When a company hires the services of a cloud provider, data security becomes a shared responsibility. Although the company is now reliant on cloud service providers for applications and data security, still it must consistently evolve its internal data and network security system offerings with that of the cloud provider.
The enterprise must align its internal security policies with cloud service providers to evaluate and understand any gaps in security between in-house systems and the cloud environment. Implement procedures to ensure both, end users and administrators, are not creating cloud deployments without approval from the IT department.
Make Cloud Fit the Organization
The public cloud environment by default is not an all-in-one solution for all types of organizations. Every enterprise has a different set of requirements. For a transition to any cloud either public, private or hybrid, perform careful research, plan and execute regular reviews for a successful implementation. Selection of public cloud needs to be done thoughtfully.
Same Standards of Data Security
This non-technical element is often overlooked by top governance implementing authorization and data access policies. In most enterprises, executives are allowed more leniencies regarding BYOD, bring your own device, while in general, they enjoy more freedom outside the corporate firewall, which is a huge mistake.
That means comparatively executives need to be more diligent than other employees.
Public cloud security is paramount because without it, sensitive and regulated information, business continuity and company reputation remain at stake. Simple security measures are no longer adequate to protect corporate data in the cloud. As hackers are progressing increasingly, corporates also need to be proactive with advanced security measures.