Cloud Computing is no doubt the next greatest standard in the world of computing. With an unimaginable amount of data hosted online in virtual servers, the biggest concern for businesses, is maintaining considerable levels of data security and privacy. The entire realm of Information Technology considers security breaches and data vulnerability as one of the most critical issues it faces.
With Cloud Computing, businesses entrust huge volumes of sensitive, critical and confidential data that could be hosted halfway across the globe. Any unauthorized exposure to such data can be catastrophic for the companies and so data security and privacy protection has always been a major area of research for cloud technology researchers and scientists.
In order to fully secure the system, network engineers cannot overlook a single security loophole. However, when it comes to security breaches, hackers and cybercriminals only need to find a single ambiguity or loose end in the security protocols. Exposure to harmful malware and ransomware can disable the security barriers enforced and corrupt important files and databases, rendering entire systems encrypted beyond repair. The very purpose of hosting important data, applications, software, and infrastructures online becomes ineffective if it is hacked, tampered with, or even destroyed.
Cloud technologies have always been a center of attraction for cyber criminals and hackers. The fact that the end users who subscribe to cloud technologies access virtual services over a public network that is the internet makes it even more vulnerable.
Just getting access to the user credentials can easily allow hackers to gain access to the otherwise secured servers of the cloud. Businesses and organizations need to understand and acknowledge the challenges of cloud computing before hosting critical data and deploying important software.
Ensuring Data Security and Privacy over Cloud Computing
Cloud Computing is a shared environment with no information to the end-user about who else is sharing the infrastructure. Concerns over the data and/or application hosted online can cause businesses to still be skeptical about migrating their systems online, in a publicly shared environment. How can businesses trust service providers to protect their valuable information from both external and even internal breaches? Here’s an outlook of the key measures adopted by service providers into maintaining data security and privacy over the cloud:
Applying controls to the traffic in a public network is the primary step for data protection in cloud hosting. In order to ensure that only authorized and legitimate traffic is granted access to the network is crucial. Cloud providers employ robust network architectures to monitor the access, connectivity and data transfer logs, application logs and software and hosted infrastructure logs.
Network connectivity is monitored across the hosted resources located in-house and across the internet to the end user’s premises. Also, network access control is employed to screen out any unauthorized connections to the client’s resources. In order to guarantee network security, service providers employ network layer control, route control, DDoS protection, traffic manager, robust firewall, and secure remote access as well as cross-premises connectivity and monitoring and threat detection.
Encrypting Hosted Data
The very foundation of network security and data protection is encryption. Cloud service providers support encryption across all forms of storage and network elements. They can also either manage the encryption keys themselves (AWS Key Management Service) or allow users full access to their encryption keys to ensure even more privacy. Microsoft Azure provides a secure Key Vault that allows users to create multiple secure vaults controlling access to any data stored in their cloud. This prevents accidental loss of data since all the keys are centralized in the vault.
Another aspect of data security and privacy is maintaining the authorization of access to client’s data and applications hosted in cloud environments. Cloud providers establish and maintain centralized access across their services to avoid unauthorized access. There are a number of approaches that protect data integrity such as multi-factor authentication of user credentials, hardware-based authentication i.e. text and email OTP, integrating extensive APIs to support access rights for the existing customers.
Cloud providers’ internal personnel are also denied access to user accounts as well as having a strict policy against having any user or administrative accounts the client’s services. Finally, all access attempts are also logged for auditing and maintaining integrity and all the authorized access attempts are only granted from secure and verified workstations.
Encrypting data and protecting access is only a part of the story. Even the most robust and secure network architectures can still be vulnerable to multiple cyber threats. Cloud service providers also have provisions to monitor the workload, applications and infrastructure generating alerts for any discrepancy or anomaly. They also review and update allthe baseline hardware and software configuration, upgrades and changes made.
In addition to that, service providers implement a security management process to look out for any unfortunate and unwanted incident; application failure, security threats, loss or alteration of customer’s data. Finally, advanced machine learning for anomaly detection and threat recognitions are constantly employed and upgraded to monitor logs and filters out malicious and/or unauthorized actions.
The end users are the most vulnerable targets and frequently attacked points. When user credentials are compromised, hackers can gain access to entire organization since these users are administrators in their local workstations. Using secured managed workstations, eliminates the risks and ensures endpoint protection. Security tasks handled by cloud providers are just as much the user’s responsibility to maintain by following network security protocols, complying to the security standards and using the access and authorization responsibly.
Maintaining data security and privacy for businesses should never be taken lightly. The best approach to avoiding security breaches and unauthorized access to confidential and sensitive data is to have your cloud services hosted by highly devoted and dependable service providers. Here at Fridell Solutions, we ensure complete data protection and privacy with our managed cloud solutions with state-of-the-art network security standards and protocols so you don’t have to worry about a thing. Give us a call or Contact us today!