What is Cloud Security?

Cloud security is no singular entity—it’s an entire ecosystem of IT administrators, cloud processes and policies, and security solutions that protect the data and applications that live in the cloud. These security measures are put in place to not just protect the data, but also support regulatory compliance, ensure customers’ privacy, set authentication rules, and more. 

In this way, cloud security is fully customizable to meet the unique needs of a business. Not to mention, configuration and authentication rules can be altered and managed from one spot, so if a business has a reliable cloud security strategy in place, they don’t have to spend precious time on managing their cloud environment.

Because sensitive customer and business data is stored in the cloud—and because more organizations are moving to the cloud overall—introducing a cloud security strategy has become imperative. Throughout the years, security criminals have evolved, launching more sophisticated, harder-to-detect attacks on organizations. Regardless of an organization’s cloud of choice, attackers have wisened up to ensure they breach even the biggest companies’ clouds. 

What is Cloud Security?

Which Cloud Security Risks do Companies Face?

Without a proper cloud security strategy in place, companies are more likely than not to face serious security issues in their cloud computing architecture. The following items describe some of the most common security threats and risks companies may encounter. 

  1. Sensitive data loss: Much of the data that’s stored in the cloud is sensitive, private, or includes intellectual property. If a company’s cloud service is breached, cyber attackers can easily gain access to this data. But even without an attack, certain services can pose a risk if their terms and conditions claim ownership of the data uploaded to them.
  2. Loss of end user control: Without proper visibility and control, a company’s end users can unknowingly, or even willfully, put the organization at risk. Here’s an example: A salesperson who is about to resign from their current business decides to download a report of their customer contacts and upload that data to a personal cloud storage service. Once they’re hired by a competitor organization, they can leverage that data.
  3. Malware: Cloud services are prime targets for data exfiltration, or the process where a cyber attacker carries out an unauthorized data transfer from their computer. And unfortunately, these cyber criminals have come up with new, harder-to-detect data exfiltration methods, including both open and concealed methods.
  4. Contractual breaches: When business parties sign a contract, this often restricts how data is used and who has access to it. But if an employee moves restricted data into the cloud without authorization, the contract could be violating, leading to potential legal retaliation.
  5. Damaged reputation among customers: When your data is breached, inevitably, your customers are less likely to trust your organization. And without adequate trust, your organization may have to deal with revenue loss. Sadly, one of the most well-known card data breaches occurred with Target. When cyber attackers stole over 40 million customer credit and debit cards, one of the results was a loss of trust. Not to mention, a common result of lost customer trust is a phenomenon called “customer churn,” wherein customers decide to take their business elsewhere—even if they were happy, loyal consumers of the organization before the breach.
  6. Revenue loss: Ultimately, this is one of the most damaging consequences a company can and will face following a data breach. When a company’s customers lose trust in their ability to safeguard their sensitive financial information, their loyalties moves elsewhere, costing the breached company massive amounts of money. And not to mention, the average cost of a data breach is around $4 million, a fee many organizations simply can’t afford.

Why do Businesses need Cloud Security?

All cloud models are susceptible to threats, even on-premises architectures, which are traditionally known for being highly controllable, manageable, and secure. Unfortunately, as cyber criminals refine and strengthen their attacks, businesses must establish a robust, infallible cloud security strategy to protect against data theft, leakage, corruption, and deletion.

In the past, traditional, human IT security has been adequate enough to defend against security breaches. But nowadays, there’s little time or money to spend on round-the-clock human workers, and the tedium the work calls for inevitably leads to some lapses and gaps in the security protocol. Cloud security eliminates those concerns, delivering the functionality of traditional IT security and allowing businesses to harness the power of cloud computing while remaining secure and ensuring their privacy and compliance requirements are met.

The Benefits of Cloud Security

As more companies turn to the cloud, ensuring security measures are in place is non-negotiable. Because the consequences of a security breach are high, the value of a reliable cloud security plan is monumental. There are several reasons why an organization should choose cloud security:

Centralized security

Much like how the cloud can centralize all your applications and data, cloud security can centralize all your protective forces. Cloud-based networks contain numerous devices and endpoints, and they enhance traffic analysis and filtering. Businesses are less involved in the monitoring process, with automated cloud security services navigating possible threats without human intervention. Plus, since all protection policies are managed in one place, disaster recovery plans can also be implemented and actioned easily.

Reduced costs

By using a cloud-based storage and security solution, businesses can cut down—if not entirely eliminate—the amount of dedicated hardware they use. This can reduce your capital expenditure and reduce the amount of administrative overheads. Cloud security lets IT teams focus on more high-value projects rather than 24/7 security monitoring.

Reduced administration

One of the many joys of cloud security is its ability to eliminate manual security configurations and frequent security updates. In a traditional environment, these tasks are time-consuming and can drain a business’s resources. By moving to cloud computing, all security administration happens in one place and is fully managed without any oversight.

Reliability

Whereas an all-human cloud monitoring strategy may catch most of the threats that come your way, cloud security eliminates any chance of human error. Delivering ultimate dependability, the right cloud security measures ensure users can safely access data and applications from the cloud no matter where they are and no matter which device they’re using.

Cloud Security and the Multi-Cloud

While cloud security is beneficial to any cloud model, from private to public, it is especially beneficial for a multi-cloud environment. According to GigaOm, 92% of businesses have already moved to a hybrid or multi-cloud strategy thanks to its flexible, scalable nature.

While a multi-cloud environment isn’t, by default, more complex than other cloud operating system, it does require a fair amount of control and visibility through a “single pane of glass” to ensure it runs without common implementation failures. 

Cloud Security and the Multi-Cloud

However, maintaining complete visibility into a multi-cloud environment can be complex, often compelling many businesses to opt for cloud-dedicated specialists. And as complexity rises, so do the costs associated with maintaining the environment.

This lack of visibility can lead to unchecked security risks passing into the multi-cloud. Even with specialists on board, human error and increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks make ensuring round-the-clock security all but impossible. Implementing an automated cloud security measure is critical to ensure the safety of your multi-cloud system, all while minimizing the strain and costs associated with upkeeping a dedicated team of multi-cloud specialists. 

Related resources

Top 10 Cloud Security Trends for 2019

Save Your Cloud Data from Vengeful Ex-employees

Multi-Cloud Security for Dummies: Nutanix Special Edition

The Importance of Cloud Security and Compliance for Your Business

What are the Security Risks of Multi-Cloud Computing?

How Automation Improves Multi-Cloud Security & Compliance

Visibility is Key for Cloud Security and Cost Success

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