Many organizations have moved some, or even all, of their data to the cloud. This has a large array of benefits for businesses, but an aspect that many may not consider when transitioning to the cloud is cloud security. Read on to learn from Arctic Wolf’s Senior Systems Engineer Tim Smoot, who has decades of experience in the cybersecurity industry, about how to properly secure your cloud solutions.

Problem – Perceptions of Cloud Security

The thought process a lot of folks have, Smoot explained, is that when they move to the cloud they are handing all responsibility, including security, off to the cloud provider. While there are managed services providers and other organizations that do parts of that, the same responsibilities of an on-premises data center are still relevant when moving to the cloud. Your organization is still responsible for creating and maintaining security infrastructure for your cloud solutions. 

Another misperception to consider, Smoot says, is that cloud is supposed to be easy to deploy, so cloud servers are not set up to be the most secure by default. Amazon, Azure, and other third parties have their own networks secure and meet regulatory requirements, but the security of your assets in the cloud is still your responsibility, Smoot explains. This is important to understand and consider when migrating to the cloud.

“Your organization is responsible for creating and maintaining security infrastructure for your cloud solutions.” – Tim Smoot, Senior Systems Engineer at Arctic Wolf

How to Properly Secure Your Cloud

Secure the cloud while you’re migrating to it, Smoot says, as this will be the easiest time to do it – when you’re already moving a lot of data around. 

Public versus private cloud is an important factor in securing your cloud solutions – for example, Smoot explains, Amazon has a huge public cloud to store data, which seems great, but it is more or less open to the public, so you need to make sure you remove the “public” aspect of it and lock it down, and make it private to your organization. 

All of the same things you would expect to do when moving data should be done when moving to the cloud, such as encrypting information, and limiting access to those that need it. Typically, Smoot says, cloud migration is not taken advantage of by hackers; it is the aftermath of not properly securing cloud solutions where they can take advantage of vulnerabilities and infiltrate your environment. This includes improper setup if you add solutions or storage in the cloud down the line.

The most essential things to keep in mind, according to Smoot, are planning and visibility. Oftentimes organizations are moving to a hybrid model of on-prem and cloud storage, and so the visibility into these elements becomes even more complicated than it was with just on-prem. This means it is more necessary than ever to have someone dedicated to the visibility within on-prem and cloud solutions, especially since cloud solutions are constantly evolving and are easy to set up. If your cloud is not observed constantly, whether by your internal team or a solution like SOC-as-a-Service, little vulnerabilities can be missed that then turn into much bigger problems. One example Smoot gives is end users logging in = with remote work, and how the cloud works in general, if you have the right username and password, it doesn’t matter where the user logs in from, they will still get in. However, if you have someone who constantly monitors your cloud, you will know if an end user is logging in from an unusual location, and can verify to see if that username and password is compromised. Planning a comprehensive security strategy that includes your cloud security, and has someone monitoring your cloud, is the best way to stay protected.

 

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