The popularity of cloud services has soared in recent years, as ever more companies move towards a remote or hybrid workplace model. While cloud computing comes with many benefits, it can also create new vulnerabilities that might give criminals access to your sensitive data.

If your company is using cloud technology, you need to make sure that your data is secure. Keep reading to learn what threats affect cloud services and what you can do to keep your cloud safe.

Why You Should Secure Your Cloud Infrastructure

A strong security plan for your cloud is a crucial part of your overall risk management program. Securing your cloud infrastructure will result in streamlined procedures, more customer confidence, and peace of mind for you and your board members.

There are many factors to take into account when developing your cloud security program, as well as cloud-specific security issues that you need to consider.

Cloud Models. To secure your cloud data properly, you’ll need to determine which model of cloud infrastructure will work best for your organization.

There are three different types of cloud: private clouds, which are fully in-house; public clouds, provided by a third party; and hybrid clouds, which are a combination of public and private.

Clouds are also available in different models: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). Each variation comes with its own set of network security concerns, and you should know exactly what to expect before you enter an agreement with a cloud provider.

Shared Ownership of Risk. One of the benefits of using a cloud service is the possibility of shared risk in the event of a breach. This does not mean, however, that you can pass all responsibility for risk onto your provider. It’s important to understand what data protection your cloud service provides, and what security controls you’ll need to handle in-house.

Compliance and Regulatory Requirements. If your company operates in an industry like banking or medicine, with heavy regulatory compliance obligations, then any cloud service you employ must be compliant as well. Compliance is not necessarily guaranteed, and you’ll want to make sure the company you select is able to meet your industry’s requirements.

Cloud computing environments can create new security risks that you may not have considered previously. Your staff will need individual logins and passwords for cloud access, which creates points of vulnerability — particularly if your employees are using weak or duplicate passwords.

Massive files of stolen passwords and logins are often available online, and if your employees’ personal accounts are breached they may turn out to be a professional risk as well.

Your staff members pose another risk: that they themselves can be the origin of data breaches. Insider threats are frequently overlooked, and perhaps that’s understandable: you want to believe that your team members are competent and trustworthy. Unpleasant as the thought may be, however, it’s important to consider insider threats when creating a secure cloud environment.

Cloud platforms often support connectivity with third-party apps, such as project management software or Google Suite. Integrating these programs with your cloud is efficient and convenient, but it can also create more points of entry for hackers.

If your company will be using these application programming interfaces (APIs), your cybersecurity and risk management efforts should take them into account.

Cloud Security Best Practices & Solutions

Your first step should be to understand what security your service provider has in place. You’ll need to know in advance about the security responsibilities of each party, and what protections your provider has in place to ward off cyberattacks.

Don’t rely on your cloud service provider’s security measures alone; consider adding firewalls and other controls and test your system on a regular basis.

Next, determine which members of your staff need access to your company’s data centers, and at what level. Access control on a need-to-know basis can minimize entry points and also lets you track any potential inside breaches back to the source.

Educating your staff about data security practices is also crucial; inform your employees about your security policies and the importance of secure passwords, multi-factor authentication, and endpoint protection.

Finally, you might want to encrypt your more sensitive data. The more personal your data is, the more valuable it is to thieves and the more of a target your organization becomes.

Data encryption adds another layer of security in case other controls fail, which will give you and your customers peace of mind. Sensitive information that is critical to your business operations should also be backed up in case of data loss.

ZenGRC Is Crucial to Your Cloud Security Plan

As your company grows, maintaining a clear view of your entire security landscape can be challenging. Cloud storage, vendors, contractors, and other third parties expand your scope and come with new security threats. Tracking these concerns using outdated methods is increasingly impossible, and companies need to look towards new security solutions for modern risks.

ZenGRC is a unified GRC solution that allows you to view your full risk management program at a glance — including your cloud. Automation and integration with platforms such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) allow you to communicate clearly and easily with your entire team, giving you the clarity you need to scale your security alongside your company.

Schedule a demo today to learn more about how ZenGRC can help you build a cybersecurity program that works for you.