Cloud computing has become a staple in modern business due to its many benefits. Services are more flexible as you can access them when you want and scale them up or down to meet the needs of your business. Outsourced services can save money, while remote project management gives greater accessibility. Since backups and storage are off-site, excellent disaster recovery is another bonus. There are a range of environmental benefits too.
Remote desktop sharing software gives endless flexibility because of its ability to take control of devices in other locations. However, by its nature, this brings a host of security threats to businesses that it’s vital to protect against.
You could even argue that cloud computing poses more of a risk to businesses than traditional computing. Because the attack surface (the number of vulnerabilities, pathways, and methods of attack that cloud-based software has) is much greater and physical access is unnecessary, a person with malicious intent can be based anywhere in the world.
By implementing a range of safeguards and protocols to protect against theft or accidental/malicious damage, you can minimize the risk to your business.
What Are the Risks of Cloud Computing?
Security threats to businesses using cloud computing can include human error as well as malicious attacks. Human error can occur where the appropriate fail-safes are not in place, and people are able to access APIs without the correct restrictions in place. In addition, poor training and understanding of the systems can pose a threat.
Malicious cyberattacks are deliberate attempts to steal, destroy or access or expose data illegally. Examples include identity theft, phishing, malware, and IoT-based attacks.
IoT (the Internet of Things) refers to much more than just business computing. It’s the incorporation of smart devices such as cameras, appliances, sensors, and cars across a vast network. Secure remote access IoT is vital for any company using smart devices. IoT-based attacks can happen to both individuals and organizations.
What Are the Benefits of Cloud Security Management?
When done well, cloud security management limits the threats and vulnerabilities of using remote servers. It is a multi-pronged method of protecting data stored in the cloud.
It gives you the ability to control and audit your business operations remotely. Using a cloud-based dashboard, you can control your data environment and keep an audit trail of activity, meaning you can identify weaknesses and potential threats in the form of access attempts.
What to Look for in Cloud Service Providers
First and foremost, when choosing the right cloud service for your company, it’s paramount that you research their security measures and identify any potential vulnerabilities.
You should ensure any provider meets compliance with an industry standard as a minimum. The cloud hosting company has a responsibility to ensure their systems are safe, and as a client, it’s your job to check them out and monitor what they offer against their SLAs (service level agreements).
If you operate globally, that means checking providers comply with regulations in other countries and industries, such as the UK (GDPR for data protection) and the USA (HIPPA for healthcare providers and PCI-DSS for financial services).
The same should be applied to other online services, such as website security. With the increase in companies turning to alternative domains such as .io domains for their various benefits, check the relevant security and certifications are in place.
Although the services are cloud-based, the company's servers will be in a physical location, so it’s wise to check the physical security of where they’re based.
What Other Types of Data Security Should a Business Consider?
No software will ever be 100% safe from threat because as software security advances, so do the means to gain access. However, using a multi-layered approach can really help. Here we look at several security measures you can implement in your cloud computing strategy that will offer maximum protection and give you peace of mind.
When information is shared remotely, the data has to pass from one device to another, and during this time, it can become vulnerable. Secure remote desktop access with encryption is essential for any company with remote workers to secure data from hackers. Encryption is a mathematical algorithm, or code for ease of explanation, that protects data from view while it’s passing between devices, meaning that hackers who gain access cannot read the data without the encryption key.
There are different types of encryption, which offer different levels of protection by way of bit codes. IT security managers will need to determine the one most appropriate for the nature of the data being shared and its level of sensitivity.
2. Manage your end-user devices and access levels
If data is protected by encryption when traveling from one end device to another, it’s vital that it is also well protected on the devices it’s moving between. This includes office-based PCs, tablets, laptops, and your business phone system—which is also vulnerable without the correct security measures.
Access management is essential as threats are not always external. Company employees may knowingly or unknowingly undertake malicious activities for a variety of reasons. So you should implement access levels and personalized permissions so data is only accessible to those who need to see it.
In addition, software security settings should be correctly initiated to provide the best security for your company. Relying on default settings may not be enough to meet the needs of your business. Also, utilizing a dedicated server for sensitive data storage can provide an added layer of security and control.
3. Perform security audits
It’s important to analyze your cloud-based products and services regularly, looking for areas of weakness and any security loopholes that may arise. Software patches and updates can be used to rectify problems once they’ve been identified.
4. Ensure you have good network security
Any network used to access cloud-based resources must also be protected since threats are not always cloud-based. Measures such as firewalls, antivirus protection, and threat detection software should form part of the security of any network.
5. Security breach response
As mentioned above, there is no guarantee that attacks won’t happen. You can reduce the risk significantly by implementing and monitoring security systems, but what if an attack does happen?
Effective planning means that breaches would be identified and contained quickly, and normal business can resume as soon as possible. Once your plan is in place, it should be tested as regularly as you would something as serious as a fire-evacuation policy.
6. Consider a security management tool
Large companies can employ tens, hundreds, or even thousands of cloud-based services. This can make the task of monitoring security and applying relevant settings etc., impossible. You can look at employing specific security management tools like the best identity theft protection software or more comprehensive tools that take care of every aspect. A comprehensive security management tool can provide the facility to manage all cloud-based products from one place.
Making the Most of Cloud Computing with Effective Cloud Security Management
By taking a multi-actioned approach to security management, your business will enjoy all the benefits of cloud-based services with minimal risk. Cloud security management plays a crucial role in mitigating the security threats associated with remote desktop sharing and ensuring the protection of sensitive business data stored in the cloud. What’s more, you can audit your business operations remotely, monitoring risks and threats to data security.
With the increase in remote work, the number of users and endpoints expands too. This could mean a growth in the use of personal devices, which can often be weak links in the security chain. Cloud security management enables IT security managers to control what devices can access their cloud-based services. Access rights and permissions can be controlled and changed remotely to reduce any posed risks.
If a client’s data is stolen or exposed and you haven't taken effective security measures, you may be in breach of the law. It’s, therefore, vital that you protect your client’s data at all costs. Doing this well will also ensure clients trust your company.
Specific business-to-client portals with bank-grade security can be used to provide a secure interface covering all aspects of business, from client integration to sales management, staff meetings, and much more, saving time and money while offering a high level of protection.
Be Proactive About Cloud Security
To make the most of cloud computing with security management, now is the time to assess any security vulnerabilities that may be present. Whether you’re considering moving towards cloud-based computing or are already a user, it’s essential to identify areas of weakness regularly. This could be something as simple as spotting staff training needs to identifying the wrong level of encryption.
Once you know what to improve and measures have been taken, stay up-to-date with legislation, software updates, and cybersecurity developments in the criminal world. As AI technology progresses, the risk of an attack increases. So it’s important to stay ahead of the game and monitor security measures regularly to identify new threats and protect your organization.
As well as stringent security measures, you must plan for the worst case and have a protocol to follow should security fail.
As much as protecting business systems and data is important, you have a duty to protect your clients’ data. Any breaches of client data could incur a hefty fine. If your data is protected and any breaches are contained, then you avoid costly problems in the future.
As they say, prevention is better than cure!