Considerations which are mostly overlooked when it comes to Cloud Security

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Cloud Security is often ignored or overlooked by big or small companies. The reason, most businesses measure cloud offerings based on the metrics such as convenience, flexibility, performance, and reliability; ignoring the security factor to the core. But, technically speaking, Cloud Security occupies a special place in the world where regulatory or compliance obligations are plenty.

Tony Scott, United States Chief Information Officer, recently agreed in a press conference that cloud providers can play a vital role when it comes to security than any one company or organization. Scott advised not to take security for granted to all businesses operating in the US and around the world. He also added that companies must take due diligence before moving to the cloud by focusing more on the most overlooked cloud security considerations listed below.

Start identifying Shadow IT and nip them from the root- Let us understand this concept with an example. Suppose an individual or an employee implements cloud services without the knowledge of the CIO or IT admin. Then all such implementations usually involve consumer grade technology and services, as opposed to what the administration is offering on a central note and that too of enterprise grade.

In corporate environments where competitive employment markets drive technology adoption, Shadow IT strategies and implementations are observed in plenty. And that’s due to the fact that Team managers take help of such IT strategies either to increase the personal productivity of an individual or the team.

So, in such business environments, IT must offer alternatives that meet user needs while maintaining the business imperatives around compliance standards, security schemes, and privacy contents.

Ensure that the cloud provider meets security obligation of the company and the entire industry- Let’s understand this point with an example- Businesses holding data of Californian residents should comply with the laws formulated by SANS institute, a center for internet security “Critical Security Controls”. But cloud providers which offer services to entities operating in California do not have a valid certification with these controls.

Therefore, businesses should first review the legal standards prevailing in their region when it comes to cloud adoption and then start evolving as per those standards. They must have a detailed and hard lined focus on this issue and then ask providers to accept new standards while offering them related services.

Go for a cloud security provider which goes with a holistic approach to data practices. Often, we see a common practice of cloud providers who promote the security features prevailing in their data centers. But they say nothing about the security practices and controls applicable to other aspects of business operations. Especially, if the provider is offering other services such as software, infrastructure or other cloud services, divulging the details of data security must and should be their prime focus. The provider’s systems must consider all vulnerabilities related to data at rest and in motion and must come up with a solution even for attacks such as daisy chain.

Enterprises must maintain good cyber security policies and practices for all types of data. Moreover, the IT staff must take the lead to ensure that the corporate users do not adopt a false sense of security.

For companies having global operations, the location of storing data attains prime importance. Hence, the companies must ensure that their SLA with their cloud provider includes facts and strategies related to server location, impact jurisdiction, and possession in case of a cyber attack, custody and control issues in case of litigation. Also, unintended data transfers can also attract attention from data protection authorities( seen in the case of Germany which accused Facebook). So, a track record of this data will also be needed.

Cyber insurance which covers the enterprise should also include cloud-based operations into the threat radar and must include the cloud disruptions of any sort in the policy. Also, the renewal or expansion of the cyber coverage must include Cloud Security operations failure into their policy coverage guidelines.

On a final note, companies which usually overlook the above-said issues will simply be putting their businesses at a greater risk of the compromise resulting in liability.

And if properly vetted, the security benefits offered by cloud-based systems remain unparalleled.

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Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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