At first appearance, cloud computing and cybersecurity appear to be diametrically opposed. The first needs off-site storage of your data, while the second demands the construction of virtual walls around it to secure your data at all costs. Cloud computing entails outsourcing and putting your confidence in a provider to keep your data and transactions secure. Cybersecurity entails having everything close to hand and relying on on-site personnel, processes, and standards to accomplish the job. Should these two methods be incompatible?
Quite the contrary: as more firms transfer their computers and data to the cloud, we’re seeing a type of symbiotic relationship form between the two seemingly disparate practices—out of necessity. We’re talking about cloud security, which is the business of guaranteeing cybersecurity when using cloud computing.
The Cloud Is the New Cybersecurity It wasn’t simple to travel to this location. Some IT administrators were skeptical that allowing data to be housed and secured on anything other than a physical mainframe computer that they could see and touch was a smart idea. It’s much more difficult to accept when the answer is a public cloud rather than a private cloud. However, as the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention, and only those businesses who shift to the cloud and reap the cost reductions will survive. This necessitates the use of cloud computing as a business strategy, which necessitates the use of cloud security as well.
With each passing year, the number of organizations shifting to the cloud grows—and the number of cyberattacks grows in lockstep. According to CIO, by 2018, 96 percent of companies were adopting cloud computing in some capacity. Simultaneously, cyberattacks were on the rise, with nearly twice as many ransomware assaults (160,000) in 2017 as the previous year (82,000). And those are simply the reported assaults; data breaches and denial-of-service attacks are not included. Obviously, as cloud computing becomes more common, cloud security must follow suit.
If you’re still trying to get your mind around the concept of cloud security and aren’t sure where your work as a cybersecurity professional stops and the vendor’s duty starts, we’ve compiled a list of five things you should know about cloud cybersecurity to assist you.
- The Organization Is Finally Responsible for said Information and Transaction Security.
Cloud suppliers understand the need for cyber-security, but in the end, if a client’s data is hacked, it is the business that must answer to that customer or pay the punishment. Similarly, if a company is the victim of a ransomware assault, the company must pay the hacker. This implies that just because you’re employing cloud computing doesn’t imply you can relax your vigilance. According to one source, incorrect access limits on storage resources and ignored or inadequately protected systems are two typical causes of data breaches in the cloud, both of which are the responsibility of the company, not the cloud vendor. You must continue to prioritize cybersecurity, ensuring that your workforce is well-trained and up to date on the newest risks and projections.
- Cloud vendors are working to improve security and make it easier for businesses to use their services.
Cloud companies have already invested significant efforts in the security of their own products. When the main participants include Amazon (Amazon Web Services), Microsoft (Azure), and Google (Google Cloud Platform), you can bet security has been a top priority, and some of the brightest minds have been entrusted with it—if for no other reason than self-interest. They have now shifted their focus to assisting their clients in improving their security as well. For example, as detailed in a Forbes article, Google provides a Cloud Security Command Center that works as a scanner to hunt for vulnerabilities, and both Amazon and Microsoft have developed apps and infrastructure to assist. If you’re unsure about how well you’re safeguarding access and data on your end, consult with your vendor.
- Cloud computing has the potential to improve security.
Cloud computing can sometimes provide a security solution. Small and medium-sized organizations are more vulnerable to cyberattacks such as ransomware because they lack or have not spent the resources necessary to improve their cybersecurity. Moving to the cloud may enhance their overall security because cloud suppliers offer some of the most comprehensive protection in the IT industry, as stated above. Indeed, some believe that transferring data to the cloud is safer than keeping it on-site, which can be difficult for some IT managers to accept given their natural desire to retain data where they have the greatest apparent control over it.
- With GDPR, cloud security becomes even more of a concern.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect in May of 2018. Although it only applies to inhabitants of the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA), it has far-reaching implications for organizations all over the world since people of these areas frequently transact with entities outside of these countries. Following the implementation of the GDPR, those companies and organizations must ensure that their data practices are compliant. Although legal counsel is the best approach to assure compliance, in general, this means that both the cloud vendor and the cloud client must adhere to data protection policies. Businesses that utilize a multi-cloud solution from more than one vendor must ensure that each solution complies. This might get a bit problematic, so it’s something to keep an eye on.
- The Internet of Things has already had an impact on cloud security (IoT).
Despite all the progress achieved in protecting cloud solutions, data centers, and network infrastructures, the Internet of Things is on the cusp of destroying much of that progress (IoT). With the proliferation of IoT devices comes the proliferation of security flaws, as these devices frequently lack the level of protection that they should have (yet). As a consequence, they provide a “backdoor” into your data and even cloud solutions, weakening existing cyber-security measures. According to one expert, the next few years will seem like a game of Whack-a-Mole as firms cope with these one-time security breaches.
There is no question that cloud computing is the future, and cybersecurity will tend to be critical—there is also no doubt about that. Put together, cloud security will be the next step in IT as the volume of data rises, as do the threats, and rules like GDPR make security enforceable as new IoT technologies destroy it. At this stage, it’s like a foggy jungle with no obvious way through it. So, to keep on top of your cloud security, stay informed, educate yourself or your team, and maintain a healthy degree of skepticism, or, as a military buddy likes to say, “Trust but verify.”