Breaking down the basics of cloud security

Cloud technology is changing the way businesses operate. Now businesses have access to greater resources and capabilities than ever before at a fraction of the expense of similar services in the past.

But cloud infrastructure has a lot of moving parts, and that means there is a lot to consider when trying to keep your data safe and operations functional.

Here is an overview of the basics you can focus on to keep your data as secure as possible.

Access management

Access is everything when it comes to data.

If everything is open to everyone all the time, your network and its data are not secure – anyone can roll through and tamper with whatever they please. But if no one can access anything at all, then the data isn’t being utilized. You need to determine who can access what and establish a functional middle ground.

Condition-based access

Condition-based access is a common approach to assigning access according to meeting certain conditions before data can be accessed.

You can assign permissions to certain users, locations, devices, applications, or any combination of those and more. This way, you can reasonably assume that the data will only be accessed by those who need to use it when they need to see it.

For example, if an authorized user is successfully logging in to their secure account on public Wi-Fi, then they meet the condition that they know their password, so it’s likely to be the correct person. However, they do not meet the condition that they are on-site. This might mean that they don’t have access to more sensitive information since it’s harder to verify their identity or vouch for the security of the remote network that they are using. If they are on an unfamiliar device, maybe their access is even further restricted for the same reasons.

This model makes for more effective security without requiring methods that are more intrusive on your team’s day-to-day workflow. But implementing this effectively does require additional forethought and some technical know-how.

Further reading: How Microsoft implements these policies into Microsoft Azure[1] 

Time-sensitive access

No account should have indefinite access to sensitive files.

Accessibility should be something you consider periodically. Some organizations review access permissions every three months, while others have implemented tools that refresh which users and apps have access every 60 minutes per their condition-based access policies.

Keeping your access lists updated ensures that sensitive data is accessed less often and is, therefore, less vulnerable to tampering or contamination.

Limited access

Furthermore, avoid having one admin account with access to everything. If a breach occurs, that “all-access pass” could sink the entire network.

Splitting access to important information across a few admins is ideal so that they can also share the responsibility to dole out access based on need, using temporary permissions or credentials. With this approach, the information is still locked down unless it’s actively being used.

Furthermore, make sure to limit physical access, as well. Very few individuals should be allowed to enter the server room (if you have one), and you should make sure that your MSP has the same restrictions for its hardware.

The silver lining

By design, using cloud applications is generally more secure than hosting things on site. Besides having built-in security, most cloud services are run by organizations that devote a lot of time and resources specifically to making sure they are secure and running efficiently.

While there are other important aspects to include in a comprehensive cloud security approach, the best bang for your buck is access management. If you can control access to your data, your data will be much safer overall. An MSP experienced in cloud technology can be your guide to planning and implementing the right access management approach for a secure business network.


Pull quote