As businesses grow, they are likely to invest in multiple cloud solutions to promote growth while remaining accountable and accessible. Although cloud environments can be a boon to organizations who use them effectively, with them comes new risk.

A realistic approach to cybersecurity is to accept the fact that most businesses will eventually experience a data breach. The growing complexity of cloud environments, while beneficial to the businesses who use them, can substantially increase risk, especially when not properly implemented and maintained. Efforts should be placed on preventing a breach, but there should also be solid plans in place to mitigate the negative effects when a breach occurs.

Fortunately, there are several ways for business owners to mitigate the risks associated with cloud environments.

Train Your Employees. None of the following steps matter much if your end users aren’t educated on how to help the business protect its company, employee, and client data. Human error is the driving cause of 95% of cyber security breaches. Implement Security Awareness Training to keep your employees aware of potential attacks—and teach them what to do when they encounter vulnerabilities.

Be Critical of the Services You Use. When selecting third-party cloud services, business should be critical of their practices and the vulnerabilities they create. You must carefully consider the overall impact of granting access to your company and client data—and if any third-party services can make unauthorized changes or access proprietary information, as well as how any user credentials are being secured. Third-party risk assessments allow you to find suppliers that align with your goals and values—and keep your data safe.

Eliminate Shared Accounts. Even if it’s more convenient and cost-effective than requiring a unique account for each user, cloud services accounts should not be shared between users for any reason. As a way to maintain accountability and preserve both data auditability and integrity, each user on the platform should have their own account set with certain permissions. By providing access to the minimum set of users with a minimum set of rights and privileges in line with their job function requirements, you can help prevent breaches from occurring.

Use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). By combining a password with a second authentication component such as a one-time password generated by a personal PIN, an extra layer of security is added to cloud-hosted environments. Not only should you implement controls like multifactor authentication (MFA/DFA), email filters, hold data security training for your workforce, and encrypting your laptops, but you also need to verify those controls. Once your processes are in place, run periodic tests on select controls, to validate that they are working as intended.

Maintain Cyber Resilience. Cloud hosted environments are very fluid and allow easy implementation of changes, but with that fluidity can come an unexpected complexity. Constant shifts in the systems you use can have a compounding impact that brings additional risk to cloud management. The “set-and-forget” approach has not been appropriate for some time, and organizations should instead establish proactive controls and policies to reduce risk.

Have a Plan for Data Recovery. Data security should also encompass data recovery. If an incident occurs and your system crashes, you need to be able to easily restore all of your information. Outside of your own organization’s controls, you should also have potential vendors provide their backup protocols to ensure your cybersecurity aligns.

Because potential security risks can occur at a variety of levels, you need to set up security measures that provide multiple layers of defense against these risks. Make regular backups and test backup procedures to ensure critical data can be rapidly restored if the organization is impacted by ransomware or a destructive cyberattack. Additionally, make sure your backups are isolated from network connections.

Purchase Cyber Insurance. Any business that deals with sensitive information—including credit card numbers, medical information, and Social Security numbers—should have cyber insurance in order to protect customer information, industry relations, and business reputation.

We’re here to help

This year, ransomware continued its upward trend with an almost 13% increase–a rise as big as the last five years combined. Although large corporations tend to make the headlines, the threat is everywhere. In 2021, 28% of breaches targeted small businesses. And with the average ransomware at $70,000, a breach can be catastrophic for small businesses who end up as the targets of cybercriminals.

For cloud users, there are numerous tools that can automatically validate code, perform testing of new code, and identify potential problems in real-time. Those tools leverage automation so that interference with the creative process is kept to a minimum. This type of automation does not simply enhance the security of the cloud environment, but also its resiliency and uptime.

To find out more about how to reduce cloud risk with Xamin, reach out to us today.