The ubiquity of cloud computing and storage has been a major boon for businesses around the world. From increased process efficiency and cost savings to workplace flexibility, the cloud has delivered a completely new paradigm for how work gets done.
Few organizations are not using the cloud in one way or another. Sharing a document internally using Google Docs? You’re using the cloud. However, even with all of the game-changing advantages cloud can offer, the technology also offers hackers a new way into organizations. That is, unless the proper precautions are taken.
The major public cloud providers—Amazon (AWS), Google (Google Drive), Apple (iCloud), and Microsoft (Azure and OneDrive)—have invested a great deal in keeping their platforms secure. For this reason, the major risks of cloud computing relate to user behaviors. If your organization doesn’t have solid IT policies in place that include requirements and best practices for secure cloud usage, it’s likely that a hack will eventually occur.
And, once a good policy is established, it’s important to train and retrain employees on those policies. When the cloud is being fully leveraged by an organization, that means several systems are all integrated together. In other words, an intrusion into one system could lead to intrusions everywhere.
When the convenience and flexibility of the cloud is taken for granted, it is likely that users will be careless. If the right precautions are not taken, this can lead to unauthorized access.
Take phishing, for example. If a user doesn’t know what to look out for or how to respond when an attempt is noticed, the likelihood of a successful attack goes up dramatically. Suppose a phishing email entices a user to enter their login credentials. If an employee falls into this trap, hackers could gain widespread access to systems.
Cloud Security Best Practices
Because many cloud security risks are behavior based, it’s actually relatively easy to at least understand how to keep systems secure. It doesn’t require technical expertise to follow best practices and clear policy once the right training is put in place.
1. Limit Personal and Professional Cloud Mixing
The more users mix their personal cloud services with your corporate systems, the more likely it is that a breach will occur. Are users routinely using their work GSuite account for personal purposes? If so, outlining that this practice is unauthorized can go a long way toward mitigating risk.
2. Use Permissions
Most cloud platforms allow organizations to segment access or services on an as-needed basis. Administrators need more global access or ability to make changes than a graphic designer, for example. Though putting permission-based controls in place can’t defend from breaches outright, they can limit the damage. If a hacker gets login credentials somehow, there’s only so far they can get.
3. Two-Factor Authentication
When a user is able to login using only their username and password, they are using a single “factor.” A password, pin, or pattern can be thought of as “something you know.” Introducing other factors to the login process substantially increases security. Commonly, two-factor authentication includes “something you know” but also “something you have.” Generally, this means that a user may enter their password, but the service will send a code (something they now have) to their device. Entering this code grants access.
In case you are curious, the third factor type is “something you are,” which would include biometrics of some kind (fingerprint, facial scan, etc.)
4. Get Secure
This list of strategies may seem overwhelming if you aren’t currently using any of them. But, security doesn’t have to be a chore.
Connect with ACIS IT Solutions today and we’ll get you started toward the path of cybersecurity.