For a Cloud customer there are primarily three questions you have to ask yourself:
– what cloud service I want;
– what security vulnerabilities does that cloud service have;
– and what can I do once I have chosen to limit those vulnerabilities.
A lot of vulnerabilities arise from a lack of knowledge. The Cloud service provider will connect their available network to you by way of a UI or API interface. So being informed will help you as a customer know how best to control your operation, and prevent loss or release of data.
A number of concerns arise when trying to secure your operations. Amongst the concerns one has to consider is what are you sharing on the Cloud service, how secure is the connection to the Cloud provider, and who has access to your operations and information. These questions can form the basis of an investigation into preventing future data failures from happening.
The most basic things you can do to prevent your information from being hacked is to use encrypted data; anything that goes over a network should be encrypted. Encryption is the lock on your information. Another important strategy is to use passwords, especially for any administrative duties, and change those passwords periodically. The problem is that in house employees will not want to memorize changing passwords, and passwords shouldn’t be in the cloud system itself. So a difficult balancing act becomes necessary and in order to juggle between protecting access to your Cloud data, and ease of use.
Another thing you can do to secure your system is to back everything up. In case of malicious or accidental removal, you will have that data stored elsewhere, and you most likely want to encrypt those backups for protection. Hackers can have a variety of reasons for attacking your Cloud provider or personal system, and some of those reasons involve removing your data from the web. So it is vital to create back-ups of important data.
Make use of the security updates your Cloud provider releases immediately; these security patches repair known flaws. If your provider has provided a patch, this means anyone who knows of the patch knows of the flaw in the system, and most likely some people knew of this flaw before you did. The key to good security is to be one-step ahead of everyone else, people trying to access your information are most likely going to go after the lowest hanging fruit.
According to the CSA, another important security concern to consider is the threat of malicious insiders. A malicious insider is someone who now has, or once had access, and now wishes to use that access in a way you don’t want. A malicious insider could be an ex-employee. One way to remedy circumstances is to have a fast turn over rate for security access when new employees are hired and old employees leave. You want to change access over from old employees to new ones immediately. Other measures you can take is to routinely track access to sensitive information. While I deplore over reaching efforts to snoop on employs, there is a balance that can be achieved by tracking access to particularly sensitive information and encryption keys or passwords.
The use of a Cloud service is fraught with new and old perils. While it is in many respects more secure handling your information yourself, its attractiveness as a target for an attack makes it vulnerable. So taking steps to ensure that you are able to limit security loopholes and working with your cloud provider is a good way to help ensure the security of sensitive information and data.