Data Security With Cloud Compliance: Meeting Regulations & Standards

Businesses from all industries are aware of the benefits of cloud computing. Some organizations are just getting started with migration as part of digital transformation initiatives, while others are implementing sophisticated multi-cloud, hybrid strategies. However, data security in cloud computing is one of the most challenging deployment concerns at any level due to the unique risks that come with the technology.

The cloud compromises the conventional network perimeter that guided cybersecurity efforts in the past. As a result, a distinct strategy is needed for data security in cloud computing, one that takes into account both the complexity of the data compliance,  governance, and security structures as well as the dangers.

The Shifting Business Environment and Its Effects on Cloud Security

The top investment businesses implementing digital transformation initiatives want to make over the next three years is bolstering cybersecurity defenses. A paradigm shift in cybersecurity is being brought about by the rising trend of remote and hybrid workplaces, which is altering investment priorities.

Cloud computing provides the underlying technology for this transition as organizations want to increase resilience, and people want the freedom to work from anywhere. Yet, the lack of built-in security safeguards in many cloud systems highlights the need for data security in cloud computing.

What Is Cloud Data Security?

Cloud data security involves adopting technological solutions, policies, and processes to safeguard cloud-based systems and apps and the data and user access that go with them. The fundamental tenets of information security and data governance apply to the cloud as well:

Confidentiality: Protecting the data from illegal access and disclosure is known as confidentiality.

Integrity: Preventing unauthorized changes to the data so that it may be trusted

Accessibility: Making sure the data is completely accessible and available when it’s needed.

Cloud data security must be taken into account at every stage of cloud computing and the data lifecycle, including during the development, deployment, and administration of the cloud environment.

Data Risks in Cloud

Cloud computing has revolutionized the way data is gathered, stored, and processed, but it has also introduced new risks to data security. As more organizations rely on the cloud, cyberattacks and data breaches have become the biggest threats to data protection. While cloud technology is subject to the same cybersecurity risks as on-premises solutions, it poses additional risks to data security.

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) with Security Flaws

Security flaws in APIs used for authentication and access are a common risk associated with the cloud. These flaws can be exploited by hackers to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data. Common issues include insufficient or improper input validation and insufficient authentication mechanisms. APIs can also be vulnerable to denial-of-service attacks (DoS), causing service disruptions and data loss.

Account Takeover or Account Hijacking

Account takeover or hijacking is a common threat in cloud computing, where hackers gain unauthorized access to user accounts and can steal or manipulate sensitive data. Hackers can gain access to cloud accounts due to weak or stolen passwords used by users. This is because users often use simple, easy-to-guess passwords or reuse the same password across multiple accounts. Once a hacker gains access to one account, they can potentially access other accounts that use the same password.

Insider Risks

Insider threats are a significant concern in cloud computing due to the lack of visibility into the cloud ecosystem. Cloud providers typically have a vast and complex infrastructure, which can make it challenging to monitor user activity and detect insider threats. Insider threats can occur when insiders, such as employees, contractors, or partners, intentionally or unintentionally access or disclose sensitive data.

Security Measures Protecting Data in Cloud Computing

Identity governance is the first step in securing data in the cloud. Across all of your on-premises and cloud platforms, workloads, and data access, you need a thorough, unified perspective. Identity management gives you the following:

Install Encryption

Encryption is an essential security measure for protecting sensitive and important data, including Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and intellectual property, both in transit and at rest. 

Third-party encryption solutions can offer additional layers of security and flexibility beyond what is provided by CSPs. For example, some third-party encryption solutions may offer more robust encryption algorithms or the ability to encrypt data before it is uploaded to the cloud. They can also provide granular access controls, enabling organizations to determine who can access specific data and under what circumstances.

Archive the Data

Backing up cloud data is critical for data protection and business continuity. The 3-2-1 rule is a best practice, involving having at least three copies of the data, stored in two different types of media, with one backup copy stored offsite. Businesses should have a local backup in addition to the cloud provider’s backup, providing an extra layer of protection in case the cloud provider’s backup fails or is inaccessible.

Put Identity and Access Management (IAM) into Practice

IAM (Identity and Access Management) is essential for securing cloud resources and data. IAM components in a cloud environment include identity governance, privileged access control, and access management, such as SSO or MFA. To ensure effective IAM in a cloud environment, organizations must include cloud resources in their IAM framework, create appropriate policies and procedures, and regularly review and audit IAM policies and procedures.

Control Your Password Rules

Poor password hygiene is a common cause of security events. Password management software can help users create, store and manage strong, unique passwords for each account, making it easier to follow safe password procedures. This can encourage better password hygiene and reduce the risk of password-related security incidents.

Use Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)

MFA (Multi-factor authentication) is a security mechanism that adds an extra layer of security beyond traditional password-based authentication. It reduces the chance of credentials being stolen and makes it more challenging for threat actors to gain unauthorized access to cloud accounts. 

MFA is particularly valuable in cloud environments, where many employees and contractors may access cloud accounts from various locations and devices. However, it is important to ensure that it is implemented correctly, easy to use, and integrated with existing security infrastructure and policies.

Summary

Your environment will get more complicated as you continue to utilize the cloud, particularly if you begin to rely on the hybrid multi-cloud. Data security in cloud computing is essential for reducing the dangers to your business and safeguarding not just your data but also your brand’s reputation.

Consider deploying solutions for controlling cloud access and entitlements to protect yourself from the always-changing cloud risks. For a thorough approach to identity management, incorporate these solutions into your entire IAM strategy as well.

A complete, identity-centered solution ensures that you constantly implement access control and employ governance more wisely, regardless of whether your data is on-premises or in the cloud. You will also profit from automation and other factors that increase identity efficiency and save expenses.

POOJA GAONKAR

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