With cloud adoption nearly at 100% for most companies, data has moved largely from on-premises systems to cloud-based environments. Likewise, the software that many companies rely on (QuickBooks Online, Salesforce, Microsoft 365, etc.) is also largely based in the cloud.
Working in the cloud has brought a lot of benefits to companies of all sizes, including the ability to run their office from anywhere and more easily access shared files. It’s also meant cost-savings for most organizations because they can pay for tools as they need them rather than making a large upfront investment in software to be installed on all computers.
While the cloud offers many advantages, it also brings a new area of vulnerability that many SMBs in Idaho and beyond have not yet addressed. While large cloud providers provide security on their end, ensuring data and servers are protected, it’s up to the user to ensure that accounts aren’t getting compromised and security settings in cloud tools are configured correctly.
It seems many SMBs aren’t aware of their shared responsibility for cloud security.
Cloud attacks have skyrocketed since the pandemic began, and credential compromise is now the #1 cause of data breaches globally. Over the last 18 months, 79% of companies have experienced at least one cloud data breach, with 43% having 10 or more during that period.
Cloud accounts can be subject to compromise in several ways:
- Ransomware infection that makes data unreadable
- Privileged credential compromise that gives a criminal access to data, company information, security settings, and more
- Deletion and theft of sensitive data
- Use of business email for sending phishing emails
- And more
To build a strong cloud security environment and reduce your risk of a breach it takes putting four key pillars into place.
Pillars of Cloud Security
Like any other part of your cybersecurity strategy, your cloud security needs to take a layered approach. Each of these pillars works together to bolster your defenses in several potential areas of vulnerability.
Pillar 1: Application Security
The first pillar is the security within your cloud application. Cloud accounts will come with a variety of different security settings you can use for things like detecting malware to ensure sensitive files can’t be copied or shared.
But many small businesses won’t explore these settings or get help from an IT professional to configure them. The defaults are often not strong enough for good cloud protection.
It’s estimated that 41% of cloud data breaches are caused by misconfiguration of security settings.
For Pillar 1, you should get help from someone like Connect2Geek to properly configure your application security to keep your accounts and data protected.
Pillar 2: Access/Password Security
Cybercriminals are going after user passwords in a big way right now, which is why compromised passwords have risen to become the top data breach cause.
It’s vital to put access security protections in place that not only enforce the use of strong passwords but also implement proven strategies like multi-factor authentication (MFA).
MFA blocks 99.9% of these password compromise incidents because the hacker won’t have the device that is needed to receive the MFA code.
Pillar 3: Endpoint Security
Another method of entry into your business cloud accounts is through a device that is already logged into that account. Many mobile app logins will be persistent, meaning they keep you logged in.
All someone needs to do is access the device and they can access company accounts and the data they hold without needing a password.
Your endpoint security will include both physical security and digital security. You should put tactics in place, such as:
- Screen locks
- Apps that can find/lock/wipe devices remotely
- Mobile anti-malware and antivirus
- Endpoint device management
- Safe network practices, such as using a VPN when on a public network
- Automated updates
An all-in-one solution you can use to manage, monitor, and secure your endpoints is an endpoint device manager. Apps like Microsoft Intune (part of M365 Business Premium) help you keep endpoints secure whether they are company-owned or employee-owned.
Pillar 4: Monitoring & Compliance
The last pillar of cloud security is monitoring and compliance. You need to keep traffic and access to your cloud accounts monitored so any anomalies can be identified.
An anomaly may be someone logging in and downloading a large number of files in the middle of the night, for example.
You should also ensure that the cloud tools being used by your company to manage and store business data meet your own compliance needs. While the apps you know about may meet them, what about the ones you don’t?
Employees often start using apps on their own if not instructed otherwise. Seek out any uses of this “shadow IT” so you can evaluate whether it should be added to your environment, or your data removed from the tool and the account closed.
Get Help Reducing Your Risk of a Cloud Account Breach
Connect2Geek can help your Treasure Valley business put the four pillars of good cloud security in place to keep your company better protected from a costly breach.
Schedule your free consultation to learn more today! Call 208-468-4323 or reach out online.