Reading about the cloud in 2023 has an almost nostalgic feeling to it, a bit like watching that HBO special for the 20th anniversary of the Harry Potter series. You suddenly realize how long it’s been since the whole conversation about cloud computing started.
The cloud has become such a common IT tool that today it is difficult to find an industry (or even a company) that does not use it to some extent. The chances are very high that you yourself are using it frequently.
So, we will not waste your time with generic information explaining the benefits and challenges of the cloud. Instead, we’ll get down to the nitty-gritty and discuss what’s really important — cloud data security.
First things first: What is cloud security?
Cloud data security could be explained as what organizations do to protect their cloud-based systems and applications — and the data they store in the cloud — against cyber threats.
You could also say that it is a set of strategies, procedures, and tools that, when properly applied, can help companies prevent unwanted data exposure or IT infrastructure damage caused by various internal or external factors.
Both explanations are correct. In fact, they complement each other and together provide more context — although they don’t give the whole picture.
Treating it more like a concept, we could say that cloud security is a complex and constantly evolving field in IT that requires attention from all organizations that have either fully or partially based their IT environment on the cloud. So, with that in mind, the question you may be asking yourself right now is…
Why is cloud security so important?
If we had to answer that in one sentence, it would probably be this: cloud security plays an essential role in ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of sensitive data stored in the cloud. But this only scratches the surface. So, allow us to elaborate a bit because there’s more to this matter than meets the eye.
Each year, more and more organizations start their digital transformation journeys and integrate cloud-based tools and services into their IT infrastructures. All of those companies — no matter if they are small businesses or large-scale enterprises — cannot afford to take any risks regarding the security of their digital assets.
This is why cloud security is one of the aspects that these companies must address if they decide to run even a tiny part of their activities in the cloud — or to keep their data inside one. If they don’t, they risk not only data loss or disruption of their business operations but also financial and reputational damage. They must be aware of the fact that keeping digital assets in the cloud doesn’t mean that they are unreachable to hackers.
This is to say that organizations should make every effort to ensure that their cloud cybersecurity is at the highest level at all times — after all, the success of their business endeavors depends on that.
Main risks associated with cloud security
Security issues in cloud computing often revolve around the potential for unauthorized access — but not only that. Below, you will find descriptions of some of the biggest threats that today’s companies must be aware of while developing their cloud security strategy. Whether a company will be able to address and manage these threats depends not only on the actions they take but also on its awareness of the emerging trends and disruptive forces shaping its industry.
Whenever an organization starts storing sensitive information in the cloud, it instantly becomes a target for cybercriminals — and they will try to find their way in. A successful breach could result in the exposure of the company’s confidential data including its financial records, customers’ personal information, or even intellectual property.
In its “Cost of a data breach” report, IBM reveals that the global average cost of a data breach across all sectors in 2023 is almost $4.5 million — which is an amount that has increased by almost 15% over the last three years. This fact alone shows that companies cannot waste time, and they should introduce robust authentication mechanisms, encryption protocols, and access controls as soon as possible to protect themselves against this threat.
Insider threats and privilege abuse:
It should be no surprise to anyone that employees with access to company data sometimes misuse their privileges or can be coerced into revealing sensitive information. This can lead to similar or even the same issues that arise due to data breaches.
Hackers will use every vulnerability in security controls or protocols to gain unauthorized access to your systems and applications — and that is why companies must work on developing sound cybersecurity policies that, first, their employees will adhere to, and second, will help them mitigate the damage if one of their employees (whether intentionally or not) causes a potential cybersecurity threat.
Insufficient compliance with legal requirements:
Cloud service providers often operate on a global scale, helping customers from different parts of the world where different sets of data protection laws and regulations apply. It’s no rocket science to point out that complying with these diverse legal requirements can be a challenge for both cloud providers and their customers.
Non-compliance with the standards may lead to serious financial or reputational losses. Thus, businesses must carefully navigate the regulatory landscape and choose cloud providers that meet the relevant criteria.
Best practices in cloud security
Before we discuss any cloud security best practices, we would like to point out that cloud security as a whole is a continuous process and, therefore, you should stay informed about the latest security trends and practices so that you can protect your cloud environment more effectively. In other words, do not think of the following examples as the only elements you should pay attention to when creating a cloud security strategy. Instead, treat them as a starting point.
Encrypt your data: One of the foundational pillars of cloud security is encryption, which is the process of using combinations of sophisticated algorithms to make sure that no unauthorized party can access your data — whether at rest or in transit. Some cloud service providers offer built-in encryption features, which you can leverage to keep your data secure at all times. If they are not available to you from the get-go, consider using third-party encryption tools to protect your sensitive information.
Implement and use identity and access management (IAM) tools: To manage user access and permissions effectively, you must implement a strong IAM strategy. For example, by following the principle of least privilege, you can ensure that only authorized users with specific roles can access your systems, applications, and data. In other words, you can use IAM tools to provide the right people with access to the right resources — and only them. This will help you protect sensitive information from being compromised.
Carry out audits regularly and monitor all cloud activities: You can stay ahead of potential security risks if you conduct frequent security audits. That way, you will be able to identify cybersecurity areas that require improvement and take necessary measures to address them before any security breach occurs. If you pay close attention to what’s going on in your network, you’ll be able to detect and respond to any anomalies or potential threats before they cause damage.
Find out what your provider does to ensure cloud security: When teaming up with a cloud service provider, you should take the time to understand their shared responsibility model and all the security features they offer. In other words, you should get familiar with your provider’s security practices and security to, first, double-check if their approach aligns with your organization’s specific security requirements, and second, to ensure that your sensitive data and applications are adequately protected in the cloud environment.
Backup your data: You can enhance your organization’s cybersecurity by consistently backing up your business data in a highly secure location and rigorously testing the recovery process. If you take this proactive approach, you will be able to, in the unfortunate event of a security breach or data loss, quickly and seamlessly restore crucial data and applications. Not to mention that it will help you minimize downtime, safeguard your reputation, and ensure business continuity.
How does NordLocker fit into the context of cloud security?
To adequately answer this question, we need to start with a brief explanation of what NordLocker is, namely an end-to-end encrypted cloud storage platform that allows you to securely store, manage, and share your business data with company members and partners.
NordLocker was designed to help companies — no matter the size, location, and nature of their business — protect their digital assets in a highly secure, state-of-the-art cloud environment to which only they have access. Therefore, it is more than fair to say that NordLocker was created with cloud security in mind.
Thanks to its wide range of features — from end-to-end encryption, through multi-factor authentication (MFA), to zero-knowledge architecture (and everything in between) — NordLocker covers all the cybersecurity practices we discussed in this article to help its users create a much safer online business environment. It can help you do that as well.
That’s why we encourage you to go to NordLocker and learn more about the platform and get a 14-day free trial. That way, you will be able to see for yourself if NordLocker is the right fit for your business and if what we’re saying is true.
Enjoy the ride!
About Version 2
Version 2 is one of the most dynamic IT companies in Asia. The company develops and distributes IT products for Internet and IP-based networks, including communication systems, Internet software, security, network, and media products. Through an extensive network of channels, point of sales, resellers, and partnership companies, Version 2 offers quality products and services which are highly acclaimed in the market. Its customers cover a wide spectrum which include Global 1000 enterprises, regional listed companies, public utilities, Government, a vast number of successful SMEs, and consumers in various Asian cities.
NordPass is developed by Nord Security, a company leading the global market of cybersecurity products.
The web has become a chaotic space where safety and trust have been compromised by cybercrime and data protection issues. Therefore, our team has a global mission to shape a more trusted and peaceful online future for people everywhere.