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How to avoid the most dangerous cloud security threats

Cloud computing has revolutionized the way businesses and employees interact with data. It offers many benefits such as increased mobility, improved flexibility, and limitless scalability. But along with those benefits come security concerns that shouldn’t be ignored.

From the threat of data breaches to compromised credentials, your cloud security shouldn’t be that different than the network security procedures you already have in place. In fact, it should be part of your network protection measures. But there are some extra concerns and protections you need to understand.

We’ll discuss some of the top cloud security threats and best practices to keep your business safe.

cloud data

Data breaches

Data breaches are the most common fear businesses have when moving to the cloud. High-profile breaches like Equifax have taught us about the devastating, long-term effects of a data breach – both financially and on your reputation.

Risk of data breach is not unique to cloud computing, but it’s certainly a big concern. Because of the remote nature of cloud infrastructure, the endpoints and pathways your data travels can increase exponentially. Luckily, there are steps you can take to decrease your risk of a breach as well as improve your response.

“An incident response team can reduce the cost of a breach by as much as $14 per compromised record from the average per-capita cost of $148. Similarly, extensive use of encryption can cut the cost by $13 per capita.”

Security Intelligence

The numbers above demonstrate the vital importance of having a solid cybersecurity plan that includes multiple layers of security, such as proactive network monitoring, antivirus software, threat detection, data encryption, and firewalls. The most important element, though, is having a team you trust ready and able to respond to a threat the instant it is detected.

cloud security

Credential & access management

A major cause of data breaches and other issues is weak access management protocols. This includes problems from poor or compromised passwords to people having access to parts of your network they really don’t need for their work.

Your first step to combat this problem is to put some solid password best practices into place. Start with simple things like avoiding obvious passwords and not using the same password for every account, and add more robust measures like two-factor authentication wherever you need it. With two-factor authentication, users attempting to access your network are required to provide an additional method of identification such as a PIN or a temporary code via SMS or email.

Access control groups are another powerful way to protect your network. By segmenting your data into groups, you can identify the most at-risk data and limit network access to it. That way if one segment of your network is compromised, your entire network won’t be immediately exposed.

Ultimately, your network is only as secure as the people accessing it. Make sure your employees are trained well and often on cybersecurity best practices.

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Related: Five strategies to get employee buy-in for security awareness training

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BYOD devices

The cloud changes the way users are able to interact with data. As a result, many users may want to access work files and applications from their personal mobile devices. This can offer benefits like increased productivity, but it can also open your network up to cyber threats.

“Reliance on smartphones in the enterprise space has skyrocketed in recent years, but it comes at a price. Zimperium estimates that some 60% of enterprise endpoints are mobile devices. In most companies, this means that 60% of endpoints accessing the enterprise have no visibility on them, making them ripe targets.”

Security Boulevard

It’s important to make sure you have a clear bring your own device (BYOD) policy in place and that the policy is communicated to your employees. You don’t necessarily have to ban all external devices because, as mentioned before, they can offer benefits like improved productivity. Your BYOD policy should cover not just what type of devices are and are not allowed but also how those devices are allowed to connect to your network.

Employee training on security best practices can help make this even more effective. Make sure your employees understand the importance of keeping their devices updated and locked, as well as being aware of when and how they are accessing data in the cloud. Accessing it from your office network is one thing, but accessing it from an unsecured public WiFi connection could open your network up to a host of problems.

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Related: The future of BYOD: Statistics, predictions and best practices to prep for the future

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In conclusion

As mentioned above, most of these security threats are not just limited to cloud services. To keep your data secure, you need a multi-layered cybersecurity plan that protects your data in-house as well as in the cloud. From cloud to cybersecurity, make sure you’re working with a trusted IT partner who not only is a cybersecurity expert but also works to understand the way your business operates. Your cloud security solution should never be one-size-fits-all but rather customized to address your unique needs.