Security In The Cloud
How can you be completely confident that the information you are storing or have already stored in the cloud is safe? The answer to this is — you can’t. However, you can adopt certain protective measures that will surely help find the answer. In this article, I have listed some approaches that can be followed to secure your data, access and network in the cloud.
Secure access control to your data in the cloud
Access control is usually made up of two parts:
1) Authentication: At this phase, only those users are given authority who they claim to be. This verification is possible through password checking.
2) Authorization: It gives access to no matter what authenticated user is authorised to. The first and foremost step is to achieve security in the cloud by knowing who’s accessing what. All people working inside your organisation i.e., database administrators and employees will obtain an advanced stage of scrutiny; receive training on firmly managing data; and come up with a stronger access control.
Also, limit the data access control according to the user context. Through this, you can achieve the change in level of accessing data in the cloud depending upon where the user is and what device is he/she been using.
Take a risk-based approach to secure assets: A “risk-based” approach to secure assets means adopting pro-active measures by interconnecting otherwise silo-based security and IT tools, continuously monitoring and assessing the data. In turn, the organisation can achieve a closed-loop and automated remediation process that is based on risk. Risk-based approach comes up with three major elements: continuous compliance, continuous (security) monitoring, and closed-loop, risk-based remediation.
It involves reconciliation of assets along with automation of data classification, alignment of technical controls, automation of compliance testing, deployment of assessment surveys, and automation of data consolidation. When any organisation conducts continuous compliance, it helps in reducing overlap by leveraging a common control framework, increases accuracy in data collection and data analysis, and reduces redundant as well as manual, labour-intensive efforts by up to 75 per cent.
- Continuous (security) monitoring:
It comes up with an increased frequency of data assessments particularly on a weekly basis and requires security data automation by aggregating and normalising data from a variety of sources such as SIEM, asset management, threat feeds, and vulnerability scanners. In turn, organisations can reduce costs by unifying solutions, streamlining processes, creating situational awareness to expose exploits and threats in a time-bound manner, and gathering historic trend data for the predictive security.
- Closed-loop, risk-based remediation:
A closed-loop, risk-based remediation process involves asset classification to define business criticality, continuous scoring to enable risk-based prioritisation, and closed-loop tracking and measurement. This process results in dramatically increase in operational efficiency, improves collaboration between businesses, security, and IT operations, and enables organisations to measure security efforts and make them tangible.
All these approaches identify databases by means of extremely sensitive or valuable data, and take care by providing extra protection, encryption and monitoring around them. Implementing these approaches within your organisation, you will be capable of protecting all essential systems as well as assets from the attack. You can even authorise the access to infrastructure and data.
Extend security to the device:
Shoulder-to-shoulder with access limitation, your data calls for the variable levels of protection. Organisations holding sensitive data should be protected by making use of encryption along with the additional monitoring. Encryption can provide you relief from the interference problems caused by illegal users. In the same manner, personal devices that are used for accessing cloud data should bring forth the corporate data isolation. These devices should make full use of Patch Management Software that keep programs up-to-date and scan all mobile applications from any kind of vulnerabilities.
Add intelligence to network protection:
Network protection devices should have the ability to deliver additional control analytics and have an insight control through which the check can be made on which users are accessing what content and applications. This will serve as a helping hand in assembling the intelligence that is required to see patterns even in the chaos.
Adding intelligence to network mitigates the risks with real-time situation awareness of network activity and critical transparency to allay fears of potential customers. You can protect network by hardening network security to restrict data leakage or data theft. You can also audit trails of all network transaction — communication and content — related to a customer’s account, assuming compliance to regulation and standards.
Establish ability to see through the cloud:
Security devices, like those used for verifying users IDs and passwords, for acquiring security data to create audit trail are needed for monitoring compliance and forensic investigation. The basic idea behind all is to find out essential and meaningful signals regarding a possible attack or security risk in the briny deep sea of data points.
Adding a security intelligence layer i.e., layer of advanced analytics helps in bringing about all of security data together. This helps in providing a real-time visibility into both the data centre as well as the cloud infrastructure.
Along with the above mentioned approaches, there are many others that a business can take into consideration in order to strengthen their data protection policy. Regular evaluation of your business security policies will ensure you are not leaving an “open door” for hackers to enter. Security plays a vital role in cloud deployments. By following these approaches, an organisation can be managed more efficiently, for these will completely protect data as well as devices in the cloud.
By Sudhi Seshachala