15 January 2020
By Justin Gibbs – firstname.lastname@example.org
The holiday season is just behind us, and while we look ahead to a new year, cloud and cybersecurity will be a key focus for today’s technology and security leaders.
The benefits of cloud computing for your business are clear. Cloud-based technology solutions – such as Microsoft Office 365 and Google G Suite – make it easier than ever before to foster collaboration and productivity in the workplace. Using the cloud for data storage, applications, and remote working can boost participation among workers, improve access to and organisation of a lot of information, and enable more creative conversations and idea sharing, all in real time. A survey from Frost & Sullivan also suggests that businesses that invest in the cloud experience a 400% return on investment. Perhaps the most important, yet somewhat uncelebrated benefit, is that as companies move from legacy systems to modernised solutions, the cloud can also improve your overall security.
Here, we look at some ways that the cloud can help combat today’s top security challenges and safeguard your business.
Built-In Security (Even for those BYOC Employees)
While cloud technologies will undoubtedly improve your business, they are not without risk in today’s environment. IT professionals like yourself may be uncomfortable placing your sensitive information in the hands of the third-party providers of cloud platforms. Collaboration tools, in general, may present a risk for malware infections, account hijacking, DDoS attacks, and data breaches. Human or user error can play a role as well, as can a malicious insider attack – in fact, 80% of security incidents involve privileged credentials. If things do go wrong, you may experience a loss of control, theft of intellectual property, diminished trust or reputation, compliance violations, or even revenue loss.
Even if you haven’t officially implemented cloud technologies in your business, your employees might already be doing so. In a “Bring-Your-Own-Cloud” or BYOC environment, your staff might already be utilising popular cloud technologies like Dropbox, Adobe Creative Cloud, or Evernote for work-related tasks with other employees, in an unplanned or unstructured way. While the original intention might have been positive – perhaps to save time or improve productivity – improper use or selecting the wrong cloud technologies can expose your business to risk. It’s no surprise, then, that two-thirds of IT professionals say security is their greatest concern when adopting a cloud platform.
The good news is that cloud technologies have made leaps and bounds to improve security and mitigate these risks. One study suggests that 90 percent of security problems in a business originate from enterprise scenarios, not cloud services. Today, use of the cloud can, in fact, improve the overall security of your company. Microsoft Office 365, for example, has powerful, built-in features that help you stay in control and protect your sensitive information. This includes Advanced Threat Protection to protect against ransomware and phishing attacks and enhanced features to maintain compliance and meet regulatory standards, including loss prevention tools for GDPR-related data.
Does your company share confidential or sensitive information like financial data, legal documents, patient, health, or customer information, or product information? Probably! Office 365 and other cloud services also offer online message encryption to protect the exchange of this information from inbox to inbox, including Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, and other email clients.
The question right now is: Are you taking advantage of all of these security controls?
Careful Monitoring and Protection
A key security benefit of cloud technologies is the ability to easily monitor resources, permissions, and access points. Meaning that cloud services can quickly – and accurately – alert you and your team to suspicious behaviour. Notably, this could help your team investigate and respond to critical alerts, which may otherwise go overlooked as it takes time and expertise to identify and respond to these warnings.
For example, Microsoft Azure’s Security Center provides prioritised lists of alerts when a threat is detected on your resources. Further, it provides the information you need to also do something about it and investigate the threat. This might include shutting off a part of a system or limiting access once a breach is identified. Given the fast-moving and sophisticated nature of cyberattacks, the Security Center constantly updates its alert algorithms so you can better respond to new exploits as they’re unleashed upon your business.
With the escalation in ransomware attacks, the cloud native protection available in the Microsoft stack can also protect your company from these types of events. We can guide and advise your business through the available security controls to reduce impact and prevent these, plus assist in adding procedures for Security Incidents.
Improved Security Posture
Last but not least, running programmes in the cloud will provide more access to data analytics, meaning better and timelier insights into your company’s overall security posture. This is especially important because security postures are not static. Rather, they will need to evolve over time as new threats emerge. Today’s top cloud solutions, when properly implemented and managed, provide the perfect window into your firm’s data security.
You can think of this as three key components. First, ongoing reporting from a cloud service will capture data about your technology operations. Second, companies like KA2 can create, deliver, and decipher these custom security insights for your team. The third component is actionable steps you can take to improve your security posture, immediately and for the future. For example, this might include enabling specific protections like multi-factor authentication.
This is exactly the reason we created Smarter Security Controls for the cloud-based technologies you have or desire to implement at your organisation. We provide you with best practices in security implementation as well as actionable insights around the management and security of collaboration software within your organisation. This will help you prevent exposure and minimise the risk of potential threats, detect high-risk and abnormal usage, and respond to threats to improve your overall security posture.
Smarter Security Controls
Cyber threats against your business will continue to evolve with time. To get the most out of your cloud technology, you require more than just a plug and play approach to this ever-evolving threat landscape. When it comes to implementing cloud solutions, it’s crucial to employ best practices to establish the most secure configuration posture.
Say, for example, your organisation uses the suite of cloud-based services from Microsoft Office 365. KA2’s Smarter Security Controls for Office 365 will take your business one step further with the right security framework, management, and reporting. This includes prescriptive guidance to establish a secure configuration, with recommendations for various tools like SharePoint, OneDrive, and Skype for secure permissions, data management and storage, email security, and mobile device management.
We also offer resources to ensure that your staff – your front line of defence – follow best practices in the cloud. One source suggests that 95 percent of cloud security failures are the customer’s fault.
In short, KA2’s Smarter Security Controls will ensure your cloud technologies are implemented using best practices and provide you with actionable insights into the management of your cloud services. So, in 2020, resolve to protect your business against increasingly sophisticated security threats using the power of cloud.
Learn more about KA2’s Smarter Security Controls please click here.
For further details on how KA2’s Smarter Security Controls can help protect your data and secure your organisation from an ever-evolving threat landscape, please get in touch with our expert Justin Gibbs, Head of Information Security at email@example.com.