Cloud is a technology revolution that has brought the world closer. Undoubtedly, the cloud uproar is fueled by its feasibility—Although a welcome move in today’s fast-paced world, cloud has also opened new doors of threat, which leave us questioning how secure is cloud really. With a reach that goes far and beyond the traditional physical infrastructure, apprehension towards its adoption is not unfounded unless managed wisely. Scaling applications in no time, making solutions more cost-efficient than ever, and at the same time negating the complexities of physical infrastructure.
Although a welcome move in today’s fast-paced world, cloud has also opened new doors of threat. With a reach that goes far and beyond the traditional physical infrastructure, apprehension towards its adoption is not unfounded unless managed wisely.
According to a study by the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million—a staggering number which is reason enough to take cloud security more seriously than ever.
In the Identity and Access Management space, there is rapid adoption of cloud-based solutions, which brings a sigh of relief to all the hard implementation hours with complexity. Identity Governance and Administration in itself provides organizations with a secure hold on all their cloud instances. But for those of you who think there are ‘clouds’ looming over making your user identities vulnerable, here is a comprehensive read to keep your data protected.
We’ve listed a few common user concerns as well as actual loopholes with Cloud:
- Sensitive data is now beyond the traditional security perimeter due to widespread cloud adoption. Its roots go deep into various locations and devices—making it vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
- Failure to comply with regulatory mandates is a constant audit struggle, which can only be solved by association with a service provider who is equipped with appropriate certifications.
- Organizations moving towards a cloud-first environment fear lack of control over their IT services as the cloud provider is accountable for data storage, encryption, and can potentially monitor user accesses associated with it. This makes the fear of cloud service significant.
- Dearth, in technical skill, to manage the cloud services as well as aspects of data migration increases reliance on traditional technology.
- Often, data breaches occur due to poorly managed internal accounts or employee oversight, like sharing sensitive information in public platforms that allow hackers to take advantage of their credentials. Improper security settings that provide unauthorized access for misuse of information is another common occurrence.
- APIs serve as an external door to the application and are at constant risk of being violated. Unless secure coding methods are practiced with the right authentication, authorization, and encryption, along with a security-first approach, APIs can easily make your cloud services vulnerable to attacks.
- Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), where a network element is overburdened with excess traffic, eventually causing the system to lapse and open an entry point for cybercrime, further multiplying the effect into the network.
However, when the right compliance measures are in place, cloud service is the most viable option for today’s technology-first business solutions. After all, technology is what one makes of it, and to have a fulfilling, secure cloud service, organizations must carefully choose their provider by considering certain important aspects and following best practices.
Cloud security best practices:
1. Start with a due diligence checklist
Organizations must devise a plan for their cloud services with detailed attention to their resources, policies, and goals. They must delve into obtaining valuable insights into their asset vulnerabilities and possible risks associated with them all the while devising their plan.
2. Set Secure internal policies
Internal policies are imperative to understand the authorization of access and data. It is vital to monitor the violations and actions to be taken as the need arises. Organizations must move beyond the human error-prone manual task of setting policies and automate them instead. This not only streamlines the process but is also cost and time-efficient.
3. Enable better visibility
The functionality of Identity Governance and Administration services is to ensure that the accesses within your organizations are governed in line with security and compliance. This ensures that there is enough visibility to all the accesses irrespective of the sensitivity of the data. You can monitor the accesses to this data with an efficient governance product through features such as effective dashboards, which give you a complete view of the access. Cross Identity’ Persona-based dashboards are an industry first, that in addition to determining who has access to what also delegates the responsibility of access monitoring to the concerned department heads for better attention to the reports.
4. Ensure Compliance with on-premise applications
Your cloud provider must enable you to integrate on-premise directory services and legacy applications as well seamlessly. You can achieve this with providers who use standards such as SAML compliant directories. (You can learn about SAML here)
5. Always opt for layers of authentication
In today’s world of zero-trust policies, single authentication is undoubtedly not enough. Multi-factor authentication is today’s need to empower users with the right access while maintaining security.
6. Cross-check policies of different applications that can potentially have a conflict of interest
The nature and enormity of an organization’s sensitive data depend on its size and whether it is a large organization with multiple sections and acquired companies. For such disorganized silos of data, providing necessary accesses pertaining to each role is a huge task. To decentralize your IAM operations, you can “sub-tenant” the administrative rights to the different sections or different companies and tailor them according to each requirement.
7. Secure access control with an agile solution
The access to various target applications must be thoroughly streamlined—this can be done by defining the groups of users in the organization based on their roles and enforcing role-based access control. Access certification also plays a significant role in this process wherein regular monitoring of the accesses is done to revoke or allow access as and when needed. This practice ensures that you can provide users with quick access that is relevant as per the predefined timeline.
8. Test the Cloud Identity Management service you want
With the advancement of IAM into cloud, organizations can enable themselves with a trial to truly try and understand the provider they want to be associated with and further make an informed decision.
Viewing cloud adoptions, mainly IAM cloud adoptions as a business project rather than a mere technology project, provides the right momentum required to carry it out successfully. Security must be imbibed in the adoption process, which gives it the right perspective. The security team members must convey to the business the importance of a harmonious risk-free cloud service—which not only protects the organizations and users but also enables them with an efficient and safe work environment.
The roadmap for the cloud landscape within the organization must be a long-term self-sufficient strategy collaborated with the right cloud provider rather than a piecemeal approach, which nullifies the efforts of the security team given how even a single loophole is a start enough for cybercrimes.
The safety of data is within your reach, and it solely depends on the provider you choose. Choose to empower yourself with the right security, transparency, and invest the time it takes to customize it in line with the specialized requirements of your organization.