Cloud ComputingCyberSecurity

Overcoming Cloud Security Issues with Cyber Resilience

Any organization that is on its way to the cloud may have security concerns that are expected to come as a package deal. In fact, security is often stated as one of the main reasons that companies hesitate to even consider cloud implementation.

Cybersecurity Ventures stated in their 2020 statistics report, a company is hit with a cyber attack every 11 seconds and in the next ten years it’s predicted to grow fivefold.

With this in mind, an organization should start out with a cyber security resilience plan to have all the bases covered before any valuable or sensitive data leaves the premises of the company, be it physically or virtually.

You can’t know for sure what will be the breaking point, so in an organization security should be everyone’s concern.

As they say, you have to hope for the best and prepare for the worst – build a system that would allow you to not only hold off the attack but also continue working once the guard is down. This is what cyber resilience is about.

What is Cyber Resilience?

So, what is cyber resilience and where exactly does it fall in your cloud security strategy?

Cyber security resilience is what helps the organization withstand cyber attacks and disruptions. It enables business continuity, as you are able to recover from attacks faster, helps eliminate threats and reduce the frequency of attacks.

Frankly speaking, cyber resilience is what you do to mitigate the risks and minimize the impact of an oncoming cyber attack.

The components of the cyber resilience framework are defined as the following:

  • Identify the threat of an attack
  • Protect the system from a possible attack
  • Detect breaches
  • Respond to attack
  • Recover from attack
  • Adapt to changes brought about by attack

A properly executed cyber resilience strategy helps the organization:

  • Protect itself from cybercrimes and prevent economic losses in case of data breaches
  • Adhere to regulatory and legal compliance, better IT policies and operations
  • Improve brand reputation and preserve your business integrity
  • Maintain confidentiality
  • Improve work culture and internal processes

Cyber threats are very much real and fast approaching, and you have to be ready to take the hit. As already mentioned, the cloud can be a tempting goal for a hacker. Let’s look at some of the more common issues that are specific to cyber security in cloud computing.

Cloud Security Issues To Address With Cyber Resilience

Companies often overlook the step of securing your system when first shifting to the cloud. Once your system is up and running, you are exposing yourself to cybercriminals who won’t sit around and wait for you to get it together. Cloud-related cyber security challenges should be identified and addressed as soon as possible.

1. Dispersed Cloud Data Storage

In the cloud environment, data has significantly more freedom of movement which poses its own security risks in locating and protecting sensitive data. Your cloud service provider stores data on more than one server, often in different locations or even countries.

This can be problematic when dealing with different jurisdictions and meeting compliance requirements. You may run into trouble managing it across borders and locating it when needed.

Then, security requirements may also differ depending on the industry where you are operating as a business, whether it’s healthcare, finance, or gaming.

What can be done: 

  • Conduct a cloud readiness assessment before you select your cloud service provider and follow through with cloud adoption.
  • Address with your cloud service provider creating a cyber resilience strategy to secure the data and protect it from cybercriminals. 
  • Inquire about offers in terms of governance, network security and monitoring, access management, deployment of core controls, etc.

2. Remote Work and Security Concerns

Since the onset of Covid crisis, we’ve already made ourselves comfortable working in a completely remote mode or adopting a hybrid work model to spend our working hours between office and home. This is posing new risks for the security of your organization.

With remote work becoming the norm, hackers see new opportunities to infiltrate systems and spread malware. Remote workers have less protection from a possible attack as they are working on their own devices from WiFi networks that aren’t properly secured.

With less supervision and control over how dataflow and security measures are handled by each individual away from the office, it becomes harder to identify possible threats and take necessary precautions.

Furthermore, with the rise of hacktivism back, there are more and more instances of cybercrime going beyond only financial gain, with incentives to cause social or political turmoil, and harming a company’s reputation and image. Thus, an organization working in a remote or hybrid mode needs to be prepared and secured on all fronts.

What can be done: 

  • Make cyber security part of your culture. 
  • Introduce security awareness training for employees, helping them understand threats and identify vulnerabilities, and improve their defensive skills.
  • Check existing systems for security holes, system access rights for remote work (updated or revoked), perform regular data audit. 
  • Have your security protocols instated in case of a system breach. If you still haven’t done it, now is just the time to introduce multi-factor authentication, as well as identity and access management (IAM) to always keep in check who has access to what data. Encrypting valuable digital assets also minimizes the risks of unauthorized access and data theft.

3. Cloud and human error

This issue may not be exclusive to the cloud. However, with easy scalability, you can quickly find yourself managing more data than you can handle. This is where human error can cost you an arm and a leg.

What can be done: 

  • If you get to that point, consider automation with AI/ML. New technologies and automation tools can help you with threat hunting, SOAR (Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response), vulnerability management and assessment, user behaviour analytics, traffic monitoring, risk mitigation, and the list goes on. With automation, it’s easier to always be prepared for an attack.
  • Data back-up! This one is a no-brainer. Always backup your data to quickly restore the system and recover from an attack. Discuss possible options with your cloud service provider. In rare cases of a malware attack, companies not only end up losing all the data, but their equipment is rendered useless.

In conclusion

Any company can and will be hacked at some point in time. You can prepare and brace yourself for the worst-case scenario, and this is exactly where cyber resilience comes into play. It’s one thing to put up a “shield” in your security strategy.

Once it gets broken, you want to keep going with minimal risk and hindrance to your work, upholding the security of your clients’ and employees’ personal data, whatever malicious code or software they may come into contact with.

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