As companies change to the cloud, they’re losing track of their assets. Laptops are being left at home, files are being stored in the cloud, and other devices are being shared between employees and frequently lost or forgotten. To guard against cyberattacks, companies need to have a plan that monitors all their assets—from laptops to cloud services—and puts protective measures to safeguard against attacks on those assets. The information here will help you learn how to create such a strategy so you can protect your organization from cyberattacks.
Companies Are Not Protecting Their Cloud Environments
In a recent survey, about half of companies are not monitoring their cloud environments. That’s troubling because it could lead to vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can take advantage of. Businesses need a cybersecurity strategy that includes regular technology reviews and audits to stay one step ahead of attackers. These security measures don’t just protect your business—they also keep consumer data safe from cyberattacks.
The vulnerabilities of a cloud environment
Despite its benefits, a cloud environment poses new challenges for information security teams. For example, it’s hard to monitor assets in a shared-nothing model and harder still when organizations forget what assets they own in a bring-your-device world. The best way to guard against cyber attacks is to take an enterprise-wide view of all your assets, from desktops and laptops to mobile devices and cloud services. A good cybersecurity strategy doesn’t just map out each asset’s vulnerabilities but also looks at how technology can be used proactively to make them safer.
You may already have some technology that enables you to track physical assets—now you need technology that will do the same thing with your cloud resources. To create a well-rounded security plan, look at how technologies work together to keep you safe from attack: What tools are available that let you identify threats? Can these tools provide data about where perils come from? How quickly can these tools update themselves? It’s not enough to know what’s available; ask questions about how well they work together or if one is better than another.
The last step is forming a detailed action plan around those answers. In addition to specifying who should be involved in which parts of any project, it defines exact steps toward achieving goals and priorities for action items.
Companies Moving to the Cloud Are Losing Track of Their Assets
It’s not just laptops and file servers that companies need to worry about. As businesses move their assets into a cloud environment, they face new and unique cybersecurity risks. The first step in building a cyber-protection strategy is finding out what you have. This includes assessing your IT environment and identifying all of your company’s assets, including any applications operating on public cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure. It also includes understanding how those assets are interconnected—for example, how an employee accessing information from a shared drive could impact your entire network.
Next, organizations should review each technology with tools like forensics platforms to find vulnerabilities in both hardware and software. For instance, when problems do arise (and they will), it will be easier to see where issues originated when data is centralized instead of spread across systems around different offices.
Finally, organizations should implement technologies that collect threat intelligence across each business unit so teams can stay up-to-date with potential attacks facing their specific department. Businesses should seek strategic alliances with other firms that use similar technologies for additional insights into potential weaknesses in their security approaches.
Staying up-to-date with technology trends helps keep companies nimble when responding to ever-changing business demands—but technology moves so quickly today it can be hard to know which solutions will work best for your organization.
Here are a few tips for staying with technology advancements:
- Ask questions in security forums and at technology conferences.
- Monitor industry groups and trade publications, which often share breaking news promptly.
- Monitor social media discussions that feature key thought leaders in your industry or profession, such as prominent bloggers or journalists who cover tech topics regularly.
- Read case studies from other organizations that have successfully implemented similar technologies to gain insights into potential implementation challenges you may face moving forward—and how other organizations in a similar situation overcame them. (The Complete Guide to IT Asset Management, 2017)
It’s Time To Strengthen Cloud Security
The migration to cloud environments has many companies rethinking their cybersecurity strategy. In a recent survey, 74% of IT professionals said that cyber-attacks in a cloud environment are a significant risk. To stay protected from cyber threats, your organization needs to monitor its technology infrastructure for vulnerabilities constantly. The first step is developing a strategic approach for doing so.
A technology review is an excellent place to start. In addition to devices and servers, it’s essential to look at any security-related software in use—from an antivirus solution on your laptops and desktops, a firewall for cloud-based applications, or a unified threat management system in your network. All of these technologies need regular updates, so checking in with them regularly is essential. Another critical component of a cybersecurity strategy is employee education. No matter how secure your technology infrastructure may be, employees who ignore basic security protocols can open up new attack vectors that can be exploited by hackers looking for ways into your network. Employee training should cover avoiding suspicious email attachments and being careful when opening files from unknown sources.
Because cloud services are easy to use and bring with them obvious business benefits, they’re likely to continue growing in popularity among businesses of all sizes. It’s crucial for companies, however, to build security into their cloud services from day one. That means putting tools like multifactor authentication into place right away and checking out cloud-based security solutions that can further bolster your network defenses. As new technologies become available, you should make sure your organization stays abreast of them so you can incorporate them as part of your cybersecurity strategy.
Strengthen Logical Security, Too
Cloud environments can make it easier for attackers to control systems and access confidential information—from emails and documents to customer details and passwords. A solid logical security system monitors all assets (and all aspects of those assets) and catches any anomalies that could signal a problem. It also offers real-time reporting tools that organizations can use when investigating attacks or breaches since it’s usually impossible to know exactly when something happened or who did it without outside help.
As organizations adopt cloud solutions, it’s even more critical to maintain a robust logical security system. Cloud services can make your life easier in many ways—but they also put your organization at risk for cyberattacks. Many cloud services aren’t physically located within your data center but are instead hosted on remote servers. This means you don’t have complete control over them—and if an attacker manages to gain access to one of these servers, your entire business could be compromised. Luckily, there are steps you can take today to reduce risks and safeguard your data from attacks.
To strengthen your logical security, you need a layered approach that incorporates traditional IT systems and cloud services. For example, by using two-factor authentication for all of your cloud services, attackers won’t be able to obtain access even if they happen to hack into one of your accounts. This gives you access to more information that can help you pinpoint an attack faster, investigate it more thoroughly and prevent it from happening again. You can also use real-time reporting tools that monitor connections between cloud services and other systems, as well as logins and any changes made during those sessions. All of these features give you better visibility into what’s happening across your network at any given time—so if an attack does occur, you’ll know about it immediately.
One of your biggest cyberattack threats comes from employees who click on phishing links or download malicious attachments. Make sure you educate your workforce about what these emails look like so they know not to click on them, even if they seem legitimate. Keeping antivirus software up-to-date is another way you can prevent malware and other attacks. Some solutions combine multiple security features into one product, which can simplify things for you. This includes systems that monitor data in motion (such as when it’s being accessed), data at rest (when it’s stored), and data in use (when it’s open). It may be tempting to keep away from securing your cloud services until an attack occurs—but doing so only puts your organization at greater risk of a breach.
When you’re securing your data, make sure you think beyond traditional security methods. Don’t rely solely on hardware solutions or firewalls—they won’t be enough if a cyberattack does occur. Instead, look for a logical security system that monitors all assets and flags any anomalies that could signal a problem before it gets out of hand. These systems will give you real-time reporting tools to track everything from changes in data usage patterns to login locations and access credentials. This combination of monitoring and reporting tools can help pinpoint attacks so you can investigate them thoroughly—and take steps to ensure they don’t happen again in the future.
Don’t Forget Physical Security
A cloud environment is only as strong as its weakest link. Many companies don’t correctly audit their physical security, but that’s just as important. Physical security may sound less sexy than technology, but it can be crucial for securing your cloud environment against cyberattacks. Don’t forget physical security! A great way to stay current on what you own is by performing technology audits. Technology audits are an essential component of protecting your assets in a cloud environment; they help you identify who has access and how secure those assets are.
Every company should perform technology audits at least once a year, but it’s imperative in a cloud environment. In addition to auditing your resources, you should also understand all of your cloud service agreements. Additionally, know what they mean by how much control you have over your data. It’s critical that you know which applications exist in your cloud environment—and even better if you can identify who’s using them and when. That way, if something goes wrong or a breach is detected, you’ll be able to respond immediately instead of chasing down information from different departments or trying to figure out who was behind an attack or breach that happened weeks earlier.
If you follow these steps, you can help ensure that your organization can keep up with an increasingly digital world. And remember, no matter what, there are no cybersecurity silver bullets that guarantee safety. There are only precautions that give you a better chance of preventing an attack. Remember, staying up-to-date on developments in technology and constantly monitoring all your assets—both virtual and physical—are crucial for securing your cloud environment against cyberattacks.