Basic Cloud Security Considerations for Businesses

With cloud computing’s promise of business flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness,it is no surprise that it is fast becoming a viable business alternative to traditional onsite infrastructure investment.However, as the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) has warned, security on the cloud must equal that of non-cloud services and infrastructure.

 The Top Three Threats to Cloud Computing:

  1. Data Breaches – The theft of sensitive information, especially personal and credit card data, is severely damaging. Not only are the company’s customers placed at risk, the company’s reputation will also suffer. Remember that people will typically be hesitant to do business with a company that cannot safeguard the data in their possession.
  1. Weak Identity, Credential and Access Management –With most of the preventive security concerns being under the responsibility of the cloud computing vendors, some companies mayprove to be a bitlax when it comes tocontrolling who has access to their services. Access management is ultimately, the responsibility of the company, and improper control can lead to data breaches.
  1. Insecure APIs – APIs (Application Programming Interface) are useful as they allow applications to communicate with the cloud. However, since these are public facing, ensuring that they are secure and not being used by malicious attackers will be an ongoing task both for the cloud service provider and cloud customer.

Mitigating Risks

  1. Monitoring Data Breaches – Malware, malicious attackers, and even rogue internal users can be detected through monitoring program and user activities in the cloud. Reliable network security platforms can help you detect suspicious behavior, in addition to triggering actionable security alerts.It is very important for you to use the right product for the cloud service that you will be implementing.
  1. Governance of Access Management – Well-documented and well-planned access roles, as well as procedures forthe assignment of these roles are your first defense against unauthorized access to your cloud service. You must ensure that your cloud service provider is able to support your role requirements from simple, view access to complex access rights management. Implementing single sign on, especially if your company has multiple cloud services, will help add another layer of access security.
  1. Secure APIs –before selecting a cloud service provider, ensure the security of their APIs. Ask for documentation and audit reports for security best practices. Ask if there were any penetration tests or vulnerability assessments done for the APIs and the results of the tests. Do they offer encryption keys for the authentication process of the APIs?If a third party will be creating applications for you, they must also be monitored and must follow security guidelines for creating applications that make use of the APIs.

Keep these security threats in mind while selecting cloud service providers and implementing comprehensive network security measures. These will help in ensuring your business’ successful move to cloud computing.

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Author: Kar

Dr. Kar works in the interface of digital transformation and data science for business management domains. Professionally a professor (IIT, IIM) and an alumni of XLRI, he has extensive experience in teaching, training, consultancy and research in reputed institutes. He is a Regular Contributor of Business Fundas and a blogging addict. Note: The articles authored in this blog are his personal views and does not reflect that of his affiliations.