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4 main cloud security challenges and how to combat them

6/8/2016 8:33:01 AM

Maintaining a secure cloud environment is critical, especially for enterprises that depend on the data stored in these virtual servers. With 95 percent of companies now using some form of cloud services, according to RightScale's early-2016 report, it's more important than ever that these services remain protected against the unthinkable.

How can organizations make sure their cloud deployments are as secure as possible while at the same time still taking full advantage of these virtual environments?

1. Data breaches

The importance of the cloud isn't lost on hackers. In the Cloud Security Alliance's list of 12 threats enterprises need to watch for in the cloud, data breaches made the top of the list, according to InfoWorld contributor Fahmida Y. Rashid. Cloud data breaches made huge news in 2015, with high-profile entities like health insurance organizations and the federal Office of Personnel Management serving as eye-openers to the importance of cloud and network security. The point is: Wherever your data is, malicious actors will try to get it.

Encrypting data and installing multi-factor authentication tools in your environments are only two of the available options for IT managers to secure their cloud deployments. It's also critical to make sure your cloud provider is on the same page – and partnering with a managed services company is one way to augment that network strength.

"Exploitable bugs in programs are more of an issue with multi-tenant computing."

2. Vulnerabilities

The Cloud Security Alliance voted system vulnerabilities as the number-four threat to cloud security. Exploitable bugs in programs are more of an issue with multi-tenant computing, and companies have to find ways to protect their systems even in these shared environments.

According to DZone, vulnerability management is one of the key components to a successful cloud security strategy. The good news is, this is one of the more easily manageable of cloud threats. The cost of mitigating system vulnerabilities is comparatively small when your total IT budget is taken into account.

3. Disaster recovery

One of the best uses of cloud-based tools is in disaster recovery, but this utilization of cloud environments also presents a couple of key challenges to enterprise IT managers. Namely, you have to parse out the key points of your DR strategy before anything adverse occurs.

Enterprises should look into DR-as-a-Service options, including those offered by MSPs like Apptix, for all of their DR needs. By investing in a recovery environment on a public cloud platform like Microsoft Azure, you can ensure your data is safe and in the hands of people who know how to manage it.

4. Inside agents

One of the most crucial cloud security threats to address is that of the insider – the disgruntled former employee, outside contractor or business partner could all be suspects in a cloud breach. The motivations are easy to figure out – it could be revenge or sabotage. But how do you prevent inside agents from tampering with your data?

"The CSA recommends that organizations control the encryption process and keys, segregating duties and minimizing access given to users," Rashid wrote. "Effective logging, monitoring, and auditing administrator activities are also critical."

Disgruntled employees could be a threat to  your cloud security.Disgruntled employees could be a threat to your cloud security.

Managed service security

Cloud security is becoming increasingly more important as cloud adoption continues to rise. Partnering with a managed service provider is one way for your company to ensure that your DR needs are met and that your cloud environments are safe from prying eyes and hands.

For more information about how managed services can ensure the security of your most critical data, get in touch with the cloud security experts at Apptix today.

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