A “cybersecurity blueprint” for the cloud: Let’s not rain data!

Cloud computing has altered our lives in numerous ways – whether we notice it or not. Cloud computing is the backbone of many solutions that we use daily. Be it for solutions that tell us the shortest roads to our destinations, online gaming platforms, social media networks, and even music and video streaming solutions. It also continues to transform businesses, be it conglomerates or start-ups, to bring new capabilities to the market faster, innovate more quickly, and scale more efficiently. 

Why the Cloud?

Cloud computing is a technology model that disrupts how traditional information technology infrastructure and services work. It offers its users greater efficiency, resilience, agility, and scalability. Cloud is based on 5 main pillars that unlock the highest potential for its users: 

  • Shared resources: Cloud computing is a set of data centers operated and managed by a third party (i.e., the cloud provider), where it provides a shared pool of IT resources such as networks, servers, storage, services, and applications.
  • On-demand scaling: the shared resources are offered and provisioned to the customers based on needs. This means cloud users can scale their infrastructure or service capacity rapidly with minimal effort, in accordance with their business or personal needs (e.g., specific peak seasons to accommodate increased demands). Unlike traditional IT setups, this will save massive time spent on procuring and configuring additional resources and services.
  • Self-provisioning: cloud is designed to be simple and seamless for its users. Users can provide additional resources or services seamlessly without needing to be involved or wait for the cloud provider.
  • Pay-per-use: cloud strives for efficiency and optimization. As such, it measures every resource the customer uses and only charges per consumption.
  • Ubiquity: users can access their resources and services anytime, from anywhere. But users will need to configure their cloud securely! This brings us to the next section… 

Cloud and Cybersecurity come hand in hand 

Migrating to the cloud has changed how customers and businesses store and access their data. Gone are the days when everything had to be stored and managed only from one place. With advancements in cloud service delivery offerings, cloud users can adopt the cloud in various models that better suit their business needs and organization’s risk profile. The main models are private cloud, public cloud, and hybrid cloud. You may visit this page to see how our strategic partner, Google Cloud, defines these models. 

As more and more organizations move to the cloud, understanding the cyber risk landscape is very crucial to ensure you limit any potential exposure. In fact, cybersecurity has become a competitive edge among cloud providers in the market, where they continue to invest in cybersecurity capabilities and solutions on the cloud to increase robustness and resilience.   

As we are in the annual cybersecurity awareness month, it’s never a greater time to share with you what we will call a “cybersecurity blueprint” for the cloud:

  • Always remember that cybersecurity for the cloud is a “shared responsibility model.” You need to understand which security responsibilities will be delegated to the cloud provider and which will remain with your organization’s users and security team. Refer to our illustration at the end of this blog for a quick guide!
  • Utilize the tools available on the cloud to provide logical isolation among critical resources and services.
  • Classify your data before hosting on the cloud, and enable data protection tools and features to provide an additional security layer to your sensitive data (e.g., data leakage prevention, external encryption key manager)
  • Manage identities and authorizations carefully for regular and privileged cloud users to maintain good hygiene. 
  • Utilize cloud tools or external solutions to securely store and manage encryption keys, passwords, certificates, and other sensitive information.
  • Always harden and review any default settings and configurations of the cloud resources to ensure it complies with your organization’s policies or applicable regulatory requirements.
  • Enable two-factor authentication for accessing cloud services. 
  • Periodically scan and monitor the workload on the cloud to uncover any weaknesses, vulnerabilities, or mis-configurations.
  • Configure and set security alerts on the cloud platform and services to ensure timely notification and automated action, where applicable, on suspicious activities.

Stay abreast of how you can keep your organization secure when using the Cloud by utilizing the free resources offered through Google Cloud Security Best-Practices Center. Do you have any relevant inquiries? Our cybersecurity team will be happy to assist you at contact@cntxt.com