Small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) are increasingly relying on cloud computing for a range of business operations. While the cloud can be a cost saver and boon for productivity, it also comes with many security risks.
That’s not to say the cloud isn’t secure, though. Cloud providers do a lot to keep their environments as safe as possible – but the cloud works on a shared responsibility model. This means that cloud providers are responsible for ensuring the underlying cloud infrastructure is secure, while the client is responsible for keeping the data in the environment protected.
Think of it this way. When you rent a car, the car rental company needs to make sure the car you drive is safe to use. It’s up to you, though, to drive the vehicle safely. Unfortunately, many SMBs don’t realize that they have responsibilities for cloud security – and that their actions could lead to data breaches.
In line with this, Gartner predicts that – by 2025 – 99% of cloud security breaches will be the customers’ fault. The good news is that many of these potential breaches are preventable. With a little bit of knowledge about how the cloud works and the top security risks, you can ensure your cloud environment stays secure.
Let’s dive into the four main areas of cloud security you should address.
Cloud misconfigurations are one of the biggest security threats. Essentially, a misconfiguration occurs when one of your users doesn’t implement the correct security controls for a platform, file, or resource. If permissions aren’t set correctly, your cloud environment could be left exposed to the wider internet, where hackers could find and manipulate it.
Common examples of cloud misconfigurations include a lack of encryption, no password restrictions and a lack of access restrictions. It’s very easy for cloud misconfigurations to occur. Cloud environments are often set up with default access privileges, which you need to change to create a secure environment.
To address the issue of configurations, you should assess the cloud services you’re using and look at the permissions and controls you have in place. You should also reset all passwords and implement multi-factor authentication to reduce the likelihood of unexpected access.
2. Stolen credentials
Account hijacking occurs when a cybercriminal can leverage your employee’s login details and password to access your company cloud services. Because the attacker masquerades as a legitimate user, it is hard to detect them. With these credentials, attackers will typically steal sensitive data, trick other users, or launch malware.
We’re in the age of phishing attacks and data breaches, so compromised credentials are extremely common. However, SMBs don’t need to be powerless against this threat. Through user training, identity and access management protocols, good password policies and multi-factor authentication, you can ensure that hackers will find it very difficult to break into one of your employees’ accounts.
3. Human error
We’ve all accidentally sent an email to the wrong person. In the age of the cloud, we’re seeing more and more data breaches that occur due to employees sharing links, cloud files, and other data with the wrong party.
One of the great things about the cloud is how easy it makes it to collaborate and communicate with other people – but this can also be its security downfall if sensitive data is shared with the wrong recipient. To that end, staff education and access controls are essential to protect against human error.
4. Lack of visibility
It’s impossible to protect company data unless you know where it is adequately. For many SMBs, though, the cloud is an opaque force. Business leaders don’t know what apps their employees are using, how they are using them, and where sensitive data is headed.
This phenomenon is commonly called ‘shadow I.T.’. Because many cloud apps are so easy to use, employees may download and use these applications they wish – without the business knowing. This means that sensitive data could be living in unknown places or being shared with unknown sources, which is a huge security risk.
To combat this threat, SMBs need to be proactive. You need to educate your people on your cloud-usage policies and encourage dialogue about new cloud services. If an employee wants to use a new cloud service, they can be allowed to – but you’ll need to vet the app first.
Bolster your cloud security efforts
For many SMBs, safeguarding data in the cloud can seem an overwhelming undertaking. But it doesn’t have to be this way. By outsourcing your I.T. security, you can rely on qualified experts to look after cloud security for you, so you can go back to doing what you do best: growing your business.
Keep Your Business Protected With Help From Texas I.T. Pros
Texas I.T. Pros can help your Denton or Wise County business to improve your cloud cybersecurity posture.
Reach out to us if your company is having difficulty with cybersecurity. Call 940-239-6500 or reach out online.