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Cloud security benefits: Protecting revenue and operations

By 2032, the global cloud services industry, valued at $454 billion, will surpass $2 trillion—demonstrating the rapid growth driven by businesses embarking on their cloud transformation journey.

There are many potential cloud security benefits, including improved safety. The Cloud is already more secure than data centers found on-site, but vulnerabilities exist just as with any technology. This means organizations still need to invest in cloud security.

Protecting networks allows companies to defend against the effects of a data breach. It utilizes a variety of technologies, frameworks, tools, and more to protect all aspects of this developing technology, from public to multi-cloud environments.

The need for network protection

When compared to the cost of a data breach, companies are better served investing in adequate network protection. Organizations lose an average of $5,600 every minute a network is down due to fines, company reputation damage, paid ransoms, and more.

Instead of suffering these costs, organizations can pay a monthly subscription or fee to gain access to more than simple cybersecurity protection. From improved tools to new processes such as managed backup and disaster recovery that keep businesses running following an attack, cloud security benefits businesses by ensuring they can keep moving forward no matter what.

Also read: Seven core strategies for cloud disaster recovery solutions

What underlines a network’s defense?

Both the cloud service provider (CSP) and the organization are responsible for implementing protective measures. This is known as the shared responsibility model. While it lessens the burden on either party when safeguarding systems, there is a potential for confusion around who oversees what responsibility.

This is because each CSP will be slightly different, with talents and services better suited to certain aspects of an organization. On the organization’s side, differences arise from the type of network model chosen (such as the organization overseeing network defense in an Infrastructure as a Service [IaaS] model).

Typically, the CSP is responsible for securing data, identities, physical networks, virtual machine monitors (VMM), servers, and storage. Meanwhile, the organization is in charge of keeping up security for any virtual networks, user data, employees, operating systems, applications, and operations.

How cloud security benefits an organization

Protective measures help organizations achieve the following:

  • Better visibility.
  • Great cost-efficiency and lower costs.
  • Backups and recovery in case of an emergency.
  • Data compliance.
  • Incident detection and reaction.
  • Data encryption.

Cloud security benefits an organization beyond simply protecting its network model. It reduces the administrative burden through lower costs and the ability to shift spending from capital expenditure to operating expenses (CapEx to OpEx). Insights into the network allow organizations to monitor their user activity, track information, and identify data assets. Thanks to backup and recovery processes, IT teams no longer have to worry about manually restoring backups or finding solutions to problems. Innovations such as AI and security analytics help quickly address security incidents. Finally, every employee can work more securely thanks to data encryption, reducing one of the major drawbacks of moving away from an on-premises network solution.

How should network security be implemented?

The most important step is to define the responsibilities of the organization and the CSP. If roles are unclear, vulnerabilities will follow due to subpar implementation of network protections. Organizations must also be aware that they’ll have less control over data and applications as they’ll be hosted by third parties instead.

This also means that if protective measures are not implemented correctly, the result could be data visibility issues or other challenges. Companies could find it difficult to find their data, applications, or assets, leading to inefficiencies and frustration.

Finally, organizations should be aware that while the Cloud delivers massive potential for increased efficiency and cost reductions, it is a tempting target for hackers. The appropriate protective measures ensure cybercriminals struggle to gain access. If a bad actor does gain access, organizations and their CSPs need to be aware of changes to compliance regulations, as regulators are constantly updating data compliance rules (such as how quickly a data breach needs to be reported).

What frameworks guide organizations?

Organizations and CSPs must follow network protection guidelines from organizations such as the CIA, the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The CIA triad provides guidance on data confidentiality, data integrity, and data availability:

  • Only users with relevant permissions should be able to access sensitive data.
  • Data should be accessible at all times to authorized users.
  • All data should be as accurate as possible and protected against external tampering.

The purpose of the CIA triad NIST’s Five Pillars of Cybersecurity (Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover) is to give organizations the means to assess their own data security.

The six pillars of cloud security

Our framework is based on zero trust principles, which aim to treat everyone or anything outside a network with suspicion.

Under zero trust, every action, guest user, or any activity that interacts with a network must be investigated and authorized. This approach encompasses many securities best practices, such as segmenting data according to user permissions, fortification of firewalls and other safeguards, and more.

The six pillars of cloud security include:

  1. Security assessments.
  2. Cloud monitoring and management.
  3. Managed backup.
  4. Disaster recovery.
  5. Patch management.
  6. Cloud security posture management.

Read more: Improving enterprise security with zero trust principles

Essential tools and practices

Companies should ensure they are supported by the right tools and practices to maximize their results.

Threat detection is often a company’s first line of defense. Technology is advancing rapidly, and IT teams should employ AI-powered detection and management tools that identify a bad actor before any negative repercussions occur. This technology should be supported by next-generation firewalls that act as a barrier to entry at the network’s edge.

However, even with the best safeguards, data breaches are increasingly inevitable for companies. Companies should prepare for the worst by investing in data loss prevention (DLP) solutions, as well as segmenting information so authorized users only have access to sections of a network that are relevant to them. Disaster recovery and backup protocols support these practices, all combining to reduce the damage of a data breach and help companies get back up and running as quickly as possible.

Companies should also invest in cloud security posture management (CSPM) and identity and access management (IAM). These will ensure data is restricted to verified users through tools like multi-factor authentication (MFA), while automation monitors for misconfigurations and improves visibility. Companies can also employ a cloud access security broker (CASB), which provides additional network security controls.

Finally, all activity must be underpinned by regular testing for vulnerabilities and or potential exploits.

Also read: The fundamentals of SASE and zero trust security

The right security partner

This blog demonstrates the wealth of features and tools available to companies along their network protection journey. With this complexity comes the potential for misconfigurations and inefficiencies.

The key to realizing the full range of cloud security benefits is to partner with an experienced vendor like OnX Canada. We work closely with organizations to understand their unique goals and challenges, provide guidance, supply technologies or services, and offer backup solutions. IT teams are supported by expert training, while our relationships with CSPs and security providers ensure a robust cyber defense while limiting downtime following a breach.

Contact OnX today.