Public Cloud Security Demystified: Strategies for Ensuring Data Protection

img blog Strategies for Ensuring Data Protection

Public clouds are more vulnerable to data security risks than private clouds. This is in part due to the multi-tenant nature of public clouds, as well as how security is implemented in this set up. While cloud providers like Liberty Center One offer their own security measures, cloud security in the public cloud is a shared responsibility, requiring you to look after the security of your cloud-based systems and data. However, with the right approach to public cloud security, you can bolster your defenses and keep your data protected. 

This guide will unpack the concept of public cloud security and equip you with essential strategies to safeguard your business information.

What is public cloud security?

Public cloud security refers to the combination of policies and security tools that safeguard data and applications that businesses store in public cloud environments. Because businesses are responsible for protecting their data and applications in the public cloud, they need a combination of data security and risk management strategies specifically suited for the public cloud.

Public cloud security strategies

Here are some key strategies to strengthen the security of your data in the public cloud: 

Set strong password practices

Phishing attacks and brute force attempts are a constant reminder of the importance of strong, unique passwords for every account. Steer clear of weak passwords and resist the temptation to reuse them across platforms. Consider using a password manager, an application for storing and randomly generating complex, one-of-a-kind passwords.

Understand shared responsibility

Businesses can significantly improve their security by taking a proactive approach. This includes understanding the cloud provider’s security limitations, training employees, and utilizing cloud security tools. Additionally, by continuously monitoring activity and conducting security assessments, you can ensure that you’re doing your part to keep your data secure in the public cloud.

Assess your cloud provider’s security

Don’t assume that your provider is delivering top-notch security. Conduct thorough research and ask a provider detailed questions about their security measures, data encryption practices, disaster recovery plans, and compliance certifications. A provider’s answers will determine if you need to make adjustments to your security planning or possibly even partner with a different cloud provider.

Control access

To minimize the risk of compromised user accounts, implement the principle of least privilege, which ensures every user in your cloud environment has the minimal access required for their tasks. For example, someone in the marketing department should not have access to customers’ private information used in sales. User accounts with unlimited access and control can be disastrous in the wrong hands, leading to data breaches that may go unnoticed for extended periods.

Integrate zero trust principles

Zero trust security follows the conceit that no user or device is trustworthy without extensive verification. One way you can implement zero trust is by enabling multifactor authentication (MFA), which verifies user identity beyond simple usernames and passwords. This additional verification is usually a biometric scan or a one-time password sent to your mobile device. 

You could also implement adaptive MFA, which analyzes the context behind each access request to identify suspicious behavior such as repeated failed login attempts, unusual login times, user’s IP address, and more.  

Encrypt your data

Encryption scrambles your data so that no one without the decryption key can read it. Make sure you encrypt your data both at rest (in storage) and in transit (when moving between locations) to safeguard it from potential breaches and interception.

Prioritize endpoint security

Cybercriminals often target individual endpoint devices, which are any physical device that can connect to a network. Protecting such devices requires a layered defense that includes firewalls, anti-malware software, intrusion detection systems, and other endpoint security solutions.

Perform regular assessments and penetration testing

Schedule regular vulnerability assessments to scan your cloud environments for weaknesses. Complement this with penetration testing, which simulates real-world attacks to expose any potential security gaps in your public cloud defenses. This helps you identify and address vulnerabilities before a cyberattack targets them.

Utilize intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPS)

IDPS is a system that constantly monitors, analyzes, and responds to network traffic, offering proactive protection to ensure potential attacks are identified and stopped before they can cause any damage. Major cloud providers often offer their own IDPS and firewall services, providing an additional shield against cyberthreats. While these features may come at an extra cost, the investment can be worth it to businesses handling sensitive information. 

Check compliance requirements

Organizations that handle sensitive data such as Social Security numbers, banking data, and personal information are subject to strict data privacy regulations depending on their location and industry. Before partnering with a cloud provider, it’s critical to take stock of your specific compliance requirements to ensure the cloud service meets those requirements.  

Leverage security logs

Cloud security logs can be compared to having a security camera for your data. They keep track of everything happening in your systems, making it easy to see if anything suspicious is going on. Logs also help you figure out what happened during a security breach so you can prevent it from happening again. Plus, they can help you avoid future problems by showing misconfigured cloud settings or access controls.

Train your employees

Public cloud security relies heavily on a well-trained workforce, so it’s crucial to educate staff on the evolving risks associated with accessing public cloud services. These sessions should equip employees with the knowledge and best practices to minimize security risks while ensuring secure access to essential cloud resources. 

In addition to regular training, occasional security tests, such as simulated phishing attempts, help maintain a high level of employee awareness and preparedness against ever-changing cybersecurity threats.

Maintain secure configurations

Misconfigured cloud services can create vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. Review and customize your cloud service configurations to minimize these risks. This can include disabling unnecessary applications, limiting access points, and configuring user access controls appropriately.

By implementing these strategies and staying vigilant, you can establish a robust public cloud security posture that protects your valuable data and fosters a secure cloud environment for your business.

Get in touch with a Liberty Center One expert to learn more about public cloud security and how we can work together to safeguard your data in the cloud. Contact us today.