Flashback to a few years ago, and the cloud was a major business buzzword – and like all major buzzwords, its true meaning was shrouded in high levels of obscurity. What was it? What did it do? What did it really mean? The confusion level was high enough to merit being satirized in an entire feature film, and, naturally, mocked in countless YouTube videos.
Today, thankfully, there isn’t the same level of obscurity around the cloud that there once was. Most businesses are familiar with the cloud, and nearly all businesses are using cloud services in some capacity. The concept of the cloud has slowly moved from myth to practicality.
Accordingly, questions around the cloud have moved from the philosophical to the tactical. What can each cloud provider offer? How will my network function on the cloud? How will my apps run?
For our purposes as a managed services provider, let’s focus here, on cloud security – because in 2018, cybersecurity has never been more important.
The cloud has become increasingly ubiquitous as a means of serving business needs. Does that mean that the cloud is becoming more secure? Or less?
The answer, as it often does, varies based on context. From manufacturers looking to run network systems in the cloud, to medical providers looking for HIPAA cloud hosting, all businesses require different cloud solutions – and different levels of cloud security. But, there are common threads.
Let’s take a look at a few of the major security challenges for the cloud in 2018, along with a few of the best practices for cloud security. The goal is to help you gauge the answer to two crucial questions:
To answer the general question of cloud security in 2022, let’s hone in on what are arguably the top security challenges for the cloud this year.
Data breaches are devastating.
Look at Equifax last year to see the proof – 143 million US consumers had their personal data compromised, and the company’s value fell precipitously in the aftermath. The effects will likely be felt for years to come.
And the truth is that data breaches will only continue.
The cloud is not unique in its vulnerability to data breaches (on-premise servers can be breached, as well), but data breaches are consistently ranked as a top concern among cloud customers – for good reason.
If you’re using the cloud, you don’t have physical control over the location of the servers your virtual data is located on. Somebody else is responsible for that. And often, a third party manages cybersecurity on cloud servers, as well. If you’re using the cloud to host HIPAA data, for example, it’s worth considering your comfort level with that fact. Ceding that control can be a good or bad thing – but it’s worth considering.
Access management is another major security concern for businesses using cloud services. Who can access data? What permissions do users have? How can you tell who’s accessed which files?
Using the cloud can make access management a bit more complex, because, again, the link between users and a physical location is much more tenuous. The cloud can be accessed from anywhere, often on any device, which can make tracking and managing its use more complicated.
Insecure access management can increase the risk of insider threats to a network – users with valid login credentials who decide to use their access maliciously. It may seem unlikely, but insider threats cause damage more often than many would like to admit. This is a real security issue for businesses to consider as they use the cloud.
Finally, insecure APIs can pose a real security risk to businesses using cloud services.
Using the cloud almost always means interacting with an API (application programming interface) to manage and utilize data. These are public-facing gateways that allow access to data stored on the cloud – and, if left insecure (usually be mistake or neglect), APIs can provide access to malicious actors.
Best practices in API design and implementation are meant to negate this risk, but the truth is that, when using cloud services, this is a security factor that mandates consideration.
While we haven’t yet witnessed mass exploitation of these vulnerabilities, Spectre and Meltdown are still worth mentioning here. Cloud servers, like others, are vulnerable to these flaws, and in 2022 it will be important to monitor how this plays out across the cybersecurity landscape.
There’s no denying that there are potential security issues to consider when using the cloud in 2018. But best practices in cloud cybersecurity are just as important to consider when comprehensively assessing how secure systems can be.
To ensure your cloud systems are secure, choosing these best practices for implementation is essential. These can read like a list of counterpoints to common security challenges:
Here’s the bottom line: with relevant factors accounted for, the cloud can be a secure option for any business in 2022.
In 2022, the cloud is no longer a mystery – and your security on it shouldn’t be a mystery, either. The key is in proactively considering security factors to minimize risk before an attack happens. With proper steps taken, the cloud can be a secure option for your business.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult for many organizations to be proactive in security when so much bandwidth is spent making sure that systems are functioning at a basic level.
True cloud security means being proactive. And with a partner, you don’t have to leave cloud security to chance.
At Swift Systems, we understand the stress that comes with cheap IT solutions. We’ve watched businesses like yours make the switch to the cloud without proper support, only to be crippled by unexpected downtime thanks to subpar IT.
It shouldn’t be that way. Whether you choose to use the cloud or not, you deserve IT you can count on, every time.
Get in touch with us to find out how our managed services can keep your systems secure – on the cloud, or on-premise. Whether you’re looking to maintain manufacturing uptime, or looking to find HIPAA cloud hosting you can count on, you can trust your mission-critical systems to us.
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