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The strategies and procedures used to safeguard cloud computing environments from both global and local cyber-attacks are referred to as cloud security. Cloud computing, or the transmission of computer technology solutions via the internet, is quickly becoming a must-have for organizations and governments seeking to increase collaboration and creativity.

Cloud security and administration: To keep cloud data and services safe from current and future cyber security threats, guiding principles aimed at preventing unauthorized entrance are essential.

Global cybercrime damage is predicted to reach $10.5 trillion per year by 2025. Furthermore, as more organizations and corporations employ cloud computing, catastrophic cloud security flaws are possible, potentially causing much greater harm to firms.

Let’s consider an example: An API endpoint hosted in the cloud and exposed to the public Internet is a risk, the attacker who tries to access sensitive data using that API is the threat (along with any specific techniques they could try), and your organization’s challenge is effectively protecting public APIs while keeping them available for legitimate users or customers who need them.

A complete cloud security strategy addresses all three of the following aspects, so no cracks exist within the foundation. You can think of each as a different lens or angle with which to view cloud security, using online resources such as F5’s OWASP glossary can help to inform decisions on strategies taken and the overall approach for security frameworks. A solid strategy must mitigate risk (security controls), defend against threats (secure coding and deployment), and overcome challenges (implement cultural and technical solutions) for your business to use the cloud to grow securely.

You cannot completely eliminate risk; you can only manage it. Knowing common risks ahead of time will prepare you to deal with them within your environment. What are four cloud security risks?

1. Unmanaged Attack Surface

An attack surface is your environment’s total exposure. The adoption of micro services can lead to an explosion of publicly available workloads. Every workload adds to the attack surface. Without close management, you could expose your infrastructure in ways you don’t know until an attack occurs.

No one wants that late-night call.

Attack surface can also include subtle information leaks that lead to an attack. For example, CrowdStrike’s team of threat hunters found an attacker using sampled DNS request data gathered over public WiFi to work out the names of S3 buckets. CrowStrike stopped the attack before the attackers did any damage, but it’s a great illustration of risk’s ubiquitous nature. Even strong controls on the S3 buckets weren’t enough to completely hide their existence. As long as you use the public Internet or cloud, you’re automatically exposing an attack surface to the world.

Your business may need it to operate, but keep an eye on it.

2. Human Error

According to Gartner, through 2025, 99% of all cloud security failures will be due to some level of human error. Human error is a constant risk when building business applications. However, hosting resources on the public cloud magnifies the risk.

The cloud’s ease of use means that users could be using APIs you’re not aware of without proper controls and opening up holes in your perimeter. Manage human error by building strong controls to help people make the right decisions.

One final rule — don’t blame people for errors. Blame the process. Build processes and guardrails to help people do the right thing. Pointing fingers doesn’t help your business become more secure.

3. Misconfiguration

Cloud settings keep growing as providers add more services over time. Many companies are using more than one provider.

Providers have different default configurations, with each service having its distinct implementations and nuances. Until organizations become proficient at securing their various cloud services, adversaries will continue to exploit misconfigurations.

4. Data Breaches

A data breach occurs when sensitive information leaves your possession without your knowledge or permission. Data is worth more to attackers than anything else, making it the goal of most attacks. Cloud misconfiguration and lack of runtime protection can leave it wide open for thieves to steal.

The impact of data breaches depends on the type of data stolen. Thieves sell personally identifiable information (PII) and personal health information (PHI) on the dark web to those who want to steal identities or use the information in phishing emails.

Other sensitive information, such as internal documents or emails, could be used to damage a company’s reputation or sabotage its stock price. No matter the reason for stealing the data, breaches continue to be an imposing threat to companies using the cloud.

Read Also: Ethical Hacking: Testing The Security of Your Systems

Let’s look at some strategies that IT administrators may use to keep their companies safe from cloud security risks.

  1. Optimize End-to-End Security Surveillance

Even if deploying a powerful antivirus product and implementing tight internal security practices can assist a firm to avoid cyber-attacks and protection vulnerabilities, businesses must go above and beyond. 

Businesses and organizations should place a greater emphasis on end-to-end security monitoring by incorporating the following factors:

  • Cyber threat intelligence is quite strong.
  • A comprehensive security monitoring system.
  • A technology stack that can aid in the detection and containment of criminal activity.
  1. Educate your Workforce

The security dangers in most firms can be explained easily: uninformed staff. You may reduce risk and prevent cloud security problems by educating your personnel on basic defense practices:

  • Involve the whole organization

Workers are more willing to accept responsibility for their security responsibilities when they are actively involved in defending corporate assets. Include the whole team in security training and inform them of future best practices.

  • Make a strategy

Set up a response plan in case staff suspect they’ve been hacked. Create a paper that outlines the actions to follow in a variety of circumstances so that users are always prepared.

  1. Reporting and Responses to Incidents Can Be Automated

Companies must have computerized tools that can autonomously recognize and resolve issues. The root-cause analysis must also be completely integrated with the protection monitoring program. 

This one will help to expedite incident investigation and reaction. It’s worth noting that concentrating on end-to-end security and surveillance ought to go synonymously with automating incident detection and response. To speed up the incident response, remember to improve visibility and effectiveness.

  1. Create a Data Backup Strategy

The likelihood of irreversible data loss is increasing as the cloud matures. Make sure you have a safe backup of your data in case something goes wrong. This is more about protecting your company than your personal information, but it gives you the same peace of mind.

For further safety, IT administrators should divide applications in the cloud across many locations and follow best practices in daily regular backups, offsite storage, and incident management.

  1. Everything is in One Location

An effective cyber security strategy for protecting the cloud is to combine all of your cloud detection and mitigation capabilities. It’s important to keep in mind that cloud security is not just trickier and more difficult than on-premises security, but it’s much more complicated. 

You have a lot of boundary lines with cloud security, including your cloud computing technology, personnel, data management, and other cloud-based apps.

Despite the fact that each cloud provider has its own intelligence services, there are plenty of third-party vendors offering cloud security solutions to complement cloud-based solutions. More solutions might complicate the cloud network security overall.

  1. Who has Access to this Data?

Sure, wherever your data is kept is crucial, but it’s not nearly as vital as who has access to it. To mitigate risk, set up access restrictions. Even for external identities, link credentials to back-end repositories.

Take preventative precautions to ensure that your data is safe, and go a step further with a smartphone authentication mechanism, which allows you to monitor users and allocate door access from nearly everywhere. Integrate single sign-on (SSO) identification facilities instead of using multiple passwords.

  1. Keep up with the Most Recent Attacks

The Mitre ATT&CK framework is a valuable tool for tracking risks in businesses. Organizations can also acquire remedial advice and new information about how attackers work. 

Threat intelligence streams can help keep businesses up to date on new risks. Another option to keep updated is to join security organizations such as ISACA or follow well-known cybersecurity groups on social media.

  1. Encryption is Key

Cloud encryption is essential for security. It lets data and text be altered using encryption techniques before being uploaded to a cloud storage service.

Inquire about your company’s data management practices. You may encrypt at the network’s edge to safeguard your data before something reaches your company, guaranteeing that data transit in the cloud is secure.

Keep the keys that encrypt and decrypt your content once it has been encrypted. Maintaining some of these implies that all customer information must involve the proprietor, even if the data is captured with a third-party source.

  1. Choose your Passwords Carefully

Because you’ll be encrypting data using passwords, you should use a strong password. According to many studies, the majority of the world’s most common passwords can be broken in less than a second.

Furthermore, despite the fact that passwords including at least eight characters, a number, and mixed capital and lowercase alphanumeric symbols were once thought to be secure, they may now be quickly cracked thanks to advances in technology and software. IT administrators should develop unique, creative passwords that are difficult 

  1. Keep Testing

Consider yourself a criminal while putting security measures in place for your cloud. Penetration testing, an IT security strategy aimed to detect and resolve vulnerabilities as well as limit cloud security risks, is one of the effective ways to accomplish this.

Here are a few things to remember:

  • Because a penetration test seems to be a genuine assault, notify your cloud provider before starting.
  • Examine your flaws and make a list of what needs to be tested, such as servers and apps.

Recall that malicious insiders are just as likely as perceived attacks as you continue to develop your cloud penetration testing strategy.

Companies Based on Cloud Technologies

Cloud computing is being used by businesses of all sizes and industries for a variety of purposes, including data backup, disaster recovery, email, virtual desktops, software development and testing, big data analytics, and customer-facing web apps. Healthcare organizations, for example, are using the cloud to develop more personalized treatments for patients.

We can look at the list of top organizations that have excelled with cloud computing to study and learn from their experiences. Financial services organizations are utilizing the cloud to aid in real-time fraud detection and prevention. Video game makers are also utilizing the cloud to give online games to millions of players all over the world.

Even if your organization lacks technical personnel to manage Cloud computing, managed-to-host services like Kinsta leverages the power of Google Cloud computing to provide outstanding services tailored to the size of your business. This not only gives non-tech companies more flexibility, but it also allows them to expand digitally. Understanding cloud foundations will help you advance your cloud computing career by providing you with a solid understanding of the principles of this cutting-edge sector.

1. General Electric

General Electric (GE) began its digital transformation in 2014, but it chose Amazon Web Services (AWS) as its preferred provider three years later, relying on the service to host more than 2,000 cloud-based apps and services.

“Adopting a cloud-first strategy with AWS is helping our IT teams get out of the business of building and running data centers and refocus our resources on innovation as we undergo one of the largest and most important transformations in GE’s history,” said Chris Drumgoole, Chief Technology Officer and Corporate Vice President of General Electric.

GE experimented with the notion of developing its own industrial cloud a few years before switching to AWS but decided against it. It chose to concentrate on other areas of its company while entrusting cloud infrastructure to AWS.

2. Apple

When Apple developed Siri, a computer that imitates a human being and assists users by asking inquiries, it revolutionized the entire mobile phone technology. Although Siri’s voice is remarkable, the way she operates is much more so. The cloud receives and processes user inquiries before it responds to them.

Users may also utilize the cloud to exchange data, apps, and upgrades without having to make any physical modifications to their hardware or software. In fact, the majority of people are familiar with Apple’s cloud program, iCloud.

3. eBay

People who use eBay want it to operate well and to display listings for practically anything they can think of. People may miss out on opportunities to put in winning bids for the goods they desire most if the site fails at a critical time. As a result, when eBay decided to relocate its marketplace of over a billion listings, it recognized the endeavor as a major project.

It did, however, complete the transfer to Google’s cloud platform in five months with the aid of a team of engineers. That achievement was completed in such a short amount of time that eBay was six months ahead of plan. Furthermore, eBay may consider utilizing Google’s services in a variety of locations across the world, including those that are outside of North America.

In 2018, eBay began experimenting with machine learning techniques to aid in picture identification on Google’s cloud platform. With Google’s aid, a machine learning assignment that took eBay’s in-house systems 40 days to complete took only four days.

4. Netflix

From its beginnings as a DVD rental business, this streaming service has gone a long way. It commands the attention of millions of people who are eager to watch one of its hundreds of critically acclaimed programs, films, or documentaries.

Netflix needed to find a method to store all of its data due to its large user base, and a typical in-house data center was rapidly becoming too inefficient. They required scalability in their infrastructure.

Netflix claims that its 117.58 million global customers view 140 million hours of video each day. Simply said, the typical Netflix customer spends 1 hour and 11 minutes each day on the site or 71 minutes per day. What’s so amazing about Netflix is how they were able to move all of that data at a time when cloud computing was still a relatively new technology.

5. Kroger

While some companies, such as GE, find AWS to be useful, others shun it all together in favor of other prominent platforms. One of them is Kroger, the grocery store chain. It distributes cloud fees between Amazon and Microsoft, with millions of dollars going to each provider, according to reports. Thousands of projects are kept on the cloud by the firm, including active products and those still in the testing and development stages.

It provided approximately the same amount to each cloud provider in 2017, but officials expected to continue weighing the cost-value ratio to determine whether to give one of the two businesses a preference. Kroger also has its own private cloud, which it uses for specific purposes.

Then, in early 2019, Kroger announced a collaboration with Microsoft to transform grocery shopping by integrating the most cutting-edge digital technology into a physical test store. The Microsoft Azure cloud platform will assist Kroger in moving forward with a data-driven approach to grocery shopping that considers customer demands, in part by utilizing artificial intelligence technology (AI).

6. Fitbit

Fitbit is one of the most popular smartwatch manufacturers, but the company has been struggling due to increased market rivalry. However, stock market forecasts imply that 2019 might be a watershed moment for the company. They highlight 2018’s late advances, which may set the tone for 2019. Fitbit representatives understand that one approach to re-energize the brand is to make it more appealing to a wider audience.

One of the ways it’s doing so is through collaboration with Google For Healthcare, the company’s health-focused cloud division. It allows users to share their health data with healthcare professionals, allowing the company to compete with Apple, which already has a comparable function.

It’s impossible to pinpoint the specific cause for Fitbit’s recent advances, although cloud-based health data innovation might have played a role. Doctors and patients alike value convenience, which may be found in the cloud. Those who wish to share their documents in this manner have access to dedicated storage space.

The data is then seen by providers using a different interface. They may also use the cloud platform to monitor patients remotely and plan visits.

7. Capital One

Capital One is unique in that it opted to employ a public cloud rather than a private cloud.

During the first several years of its migration, the firm had a private cloud plan, but it fell short of its goal. When a company decides to go to the cloud, it keeps certain infrastructure in its own data centers. Capital One, on the other hand, took the decision to transfer its complete infrastructure to AWS.

Although Capital One utilizes other CSPs, AWS is its primary supplier. They transferred their services and apps to the cloud, but when the last few data centers are shut down, they anticipate saving money on operations.

8. HotelTonight

People value the ability to plan their trips in ways that suit their hectic schedules. HotelTonight is a website and app that helps them locate affordable lodging quickly.

More cloud-related roles, such as platform engineers and data engineers, are presently available. Furthermore, storing information in the cloud should make it easier for HotelTonight to handle its hotel-related data.

Users are constantly informed of new material, such as limited-time deals. A loyalty program is also offered by the firm. Keeping data on the cloud has advantages, such as allowing the firm to give more space alternatives on its website or adding new services to its audience.

9. Meals On Wheels? Greenville, Co., SC Branch

Meals on Wheels is a non-profit organization that provides healthy meals delivered to the homes of the elderly and disabled. The organization’s Greenville County chapter in South Carolina understood that shifting to the cloud would result in more simplified communications among its volunteers, as well as other advantages.

When the company moved its financial management system to the cloud and began utilizing Microsoft 365 for internal requirements, it saved over $500,000. That Meals On Wheels organization covers a 500-square-mile region with the aid of 2,000 volunteers. Paid staff employees may communicate with volunteers on the road using a number of techniques, allowing them to provide timely updates as needed.

It’s also feasible to develop customized messaging for certain purposes, such as fundraising. As a result, instead of trying to document everything with paper and pencils, people may provide or receive insights using technological methods.

10. Pinterest

Pinterest is a prominent social networking site that has gained popularity in recent years. They’ve been using the cloud since the very beginning.

The cloud can adapt to traffic levels and stay up with the site traffic as Pinterest increases in popularity. Pinterest, which is currently valued at over $12 billion, was one of the earliest cloud computing triumphs.

As you can see, when employed correctly, the cloud can perform some incredible things. As the cloud becomes more popular, businesses large and small will continue to migrate to it in order to develop and scale their operations.

Cloud Service Provider (CSP) Security

A cloud service provider, or CSP, is an IT company that provides on-demand, scalable computing resources like computing power, data storage, or applications over the internet. Typically, cloud-based service models are defined as IaaS (infrastructure as a service), PaaS (platform as a service), or SaaS (software as a service).

CSPs offer a variety of services, but typically they fall under three types of cloud service providers:  

IaaS providers

IaaS solutions provide access to IT infrastructure components that you would normally have in your data center, eliminating the need to procure, configure, or manage your own. This includes resources like computing, networks, storage, data management, virtualization, and operating systems. While the IaaS model increases flexibility, lowers costs, and speeds up times to market, customers are still responsible for managing and maintaining their own applications and responding to issues. 

PaaS providers

PaaS solutions build off IaaS, providing tools and services to create and deploy applications. PaaS incorporates operating systems, middleware, and runtime environments into the application stack and also manages any hardware or other assets related to the underlying infrastructure. 

SaaS providers 

SaaS solutions are perhaps the most familiar and make up the fastest-growing services in the cloud market. CSPs deliver ready-to-use applications and are responsible for maintaining and managing everything, from hardware and maintenance to development, scaling, and delivery. For example, you probably use many of the SaaS productivity applications in Google Workspace every day, such as Gmail, Calendar, Docs, and Drive. 

While these are the most common categories, they do not fully describe all of the types of services currently offered by CSPs. Many top cloud service providers are continuously developing new cloud-based services around emerging technologies like containerization, edge computing, machine learning, and Kubernetes. 

Types of cloud service providers can also be categorized based on whether they deliver services via public cloud infrastructure or use private, hybrid, or multi-cloud deployment models. 

The CSP market includes cloud providers of all shapes and sizes. The big three—Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services (AWS)—are considered the established leaders. However, there are a host of other smaller or niche players that offer cloud services as well, including IBM, Alibaba, Oracle, Red Hat, DigitalOcean, and Rackspace. 

Increasingly, companies are choosing to mix and match cloud services from different CSPs for different requirements rather than choosing one provider for everything. In most cases, choosing to work with multiple cloud providers helps businesses select the best cloud capabilities for their unique use cases. For instance, different providers may specialize in certain areas like data analytics and AI services or offer better support for legacy environments or broader computing options. 

CSPs that follow an open approach to the cloud give their customers the freedom to combine the services and providers that best fit their needs, allowing them to move workloads to and from on-premises and between cloud providers at any time.

For cloud security, a cloud native application protection platform (CNAPP) is critical, said Hevesi. This category was defined by Gartner and involves integrating and centralizing all security functions into a single user interface. 

A cloud access security broker (CASB) is also critical, he said. Gartner defines these as enforcement points placed between users and providers “to combine and interject enterprise security policies as the cloud-based resources are accessed.” 

This method consolidates multiple types of security policy enforcement. Examples include authentication, single sign-on, authorization, credential mapping, device profiling, encryption, tokenization, logging, alerting, malware and detection. 

Ultimately, processes within an organization have to come into play, said Hevesi. This means understanding and changing them when needed. It could also involve training architects who understand risk assessment. 

Hevesi also advised that organizations establish a proof of concept with providers. “Don’t rely on vendor demos alone,” he said. 

Potential Risks Associated With The Cloud Environment

Cloud computing is growing in popularity and importance for businesses of all kinds. However, along with the benefits come hazards. Failure to assess potential dangers can have disastrous consequences, especially when it comes to losing private data or financial information. This blog article will discuss common cloud computing issues and how to keep your organization secure. At the same time, making use of the numerous advantages of cloud technology.

We’ll go through some of the most frequent cloud security problems and discuss how to avoid them.

1. Data Loss 

Cloud computing is prevalent, but it brings data loss risks. This can include cloud security threats such as malware and hacking, malicious insiders, and failed delivery of cloud services. To avoid these threats, business owners should ensure that cloud vendors use the latest technologies to secure client data.

Encryption tools should be used whenever possible. Cloud access controls should be in place to limit users’ access to sensitive information within the cloud environment. 

Business owners should also audit cloud service providers regularly to ensure they follow best practices in cloud security. Taking these steps will help reduce risk when it comes to data loss from cloud computing environments.

2. Service Outages

Cloud computing is a revolution for business, reducing costs and expanding reachable markets. However, cloud computing also has its pitfalls. One of the most significant risks of cloud computing is service outages that can take down networks and disrupt the user experience.

To combat these risks, cloud security platforms are available that can help detect and prevent threats before service outages occur. By utilizing cloud security platforms, companies will have the visibility needed to address issues proactively. They can also determine when an issue is too significant for their cloud infrastructure.

This increased visibility allows cloud providers to identify any vulnerabilities or threats that could lead to a service outage ahead of time. Ultimately, cloud security platforms have become essential in mitigating the risk of cloud service outages. It provides companies with the peace of mind that their cloud operations remain secure and reliable.

3. Vendor Lock-In

Organizations that move their operations to the cloud should be aware of the risks posed by vendor lock-in. This is a situation where a customer becomes so dependent on a single cloud provider that they cannot easily switch to another vendor if needed, often due to time constraints.

To avoid such issues, organizations must do in-depth research when selecting a provider and ensure that the terms of service are clearly understood. Establishing well-defined exit strategies with the chosen provider can also help prevent lock-in situations before they arise.

4. Lack of Control Over Cloud Computing Risks

Cloud computing is revolutionizing the business world with its convenient cloud storage and cloud-management services. But they come with certain security risks that can compromise data stored in cloud resources. The main risk is the lack of control of the cloud environment.

A cloud service provider may own a cloud server, so there is no physical access. Thus, you lack control over what’s happening inside it. To avoid this risk, cloud security scans should be regularly conducted to detect potential threats or vulnerabilities and take preventative measures.

Cloud providers should also provide secure encryption protocols for shared data and utilize different authentication methods to ensure that only legitimate users have access. Finally, businesses must continuously audit their cloud infrastructure to identify any changes or suspicious activities that may put data at risk.

5. Compliance and Governance

While cloud computing offers organizations an array of efficient and cost-effective solutions, careless use can lead to compliance and governance risks. In particular, where an organization’s data is concerned, the perils could be grave.

Organizations must ensure they are using a secure and robust cloud environment. At the same time, they maintain transparency regarding data management and utilize appropriate procedures to limit unauthorized access effectively.

Additionally, data should be backed up properly, monitored continuously, and updated regularly. This will allow the automatic detection of any suspicious activity or breach. Organizations can keep their sensitive data safe from malicious actors and protect themselves from compliance risks by being mindful of these requirements and leveraging best practices for privacy and security safeguards.

How Companies Can Prevent Cybersecurity Issues

Protecting your business from cyber threats is crucial. Scams, email attacks, and malicious software can cost a lot of time and money. They can also compromise your sensitive data and reputatio

  • 1. Learn the basic security measures
  • 2. Develop a cyber security policy
  • 3. Protect your customers
  • 4. Consider cyber security insurance
  • 5. Get updates on the latest risks
  • 6. Get cyber security advice

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