Everyone and their mother have gotten into the cloud revolution. And why wouldn’t they? There are so many benefits hidden in those silver linings. Working in the car during particularly bad traffic (maybe not if you’re the one at the wheel), cuddling up in your pjs with your favourite mug as the snow flitters outside of the window- those itchy, uncomfortable work pants you hate? You can kiss them goodbye! Reliable backups, flexible monthly costs, the ability to scale at will, easy management….

Unfortunately, as with all great things, there are a few problems that come along with cloud- namely security. And it’s a pretty significant issue. With each new SaaS, IaaS and PaaS that an organisation adopts, security isn’t always the priority. The problem with most cloud strategies is that they incorporate a hybrid cloud; private and public environments which often lack consistency in management interfaces, access controls and third-party tool support. Security in the cloud isn’t the same as security in the data centre- different rules apply when securing an infrastructure over one that doesn’t have any real physical control. Cloud security is designed to protect cloud environments from unauthorised use and access, hackers, malware and other attacks. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be a serious headache for you and your IT team. Being the generous blogger that I am, I’ve rounded up several tips on how you can integrate some best practices that you can implement in your cloud strategy.

Automate, automate, automate
If the cloud were a place, automation would be the cool kids on the block. It’s a critical security practice that helps avoid miscommunications, ensure consistency and manage turnover and organisational change. Start by building a work culture of templating configurations; virtual machines, firewall rules, permissions and users. Make sure to get in the habit of always cloning objects, workloads and settings to maintain consistency. Configure alerts to warn you of any possible security vulnerabilities, such as log-in attempts, traffic abnormality and system changes. Work smarter, not harder; adopt intrusion detection and prevention systems that do the hard work for you, so that they can proactively identify and prevent attacks.

Encrypt from end to end
It seems pretty obvious, but proper encryption should really be in place from one end of the network straight into the cloud. Every interaction with a server should happen over SSL transmission, it should terminate only within the cloud service provider network. Encryption should be enabled at rest and not just when data is being transmitted over the network.

Get the right tools
Obviously, the cloud isn’t a piece of tin that you can forget about in your data centre closet until something goes wrong. Everything in your cloud system should be tailored for the cloud. Every cloud implementation is developed with agility, resilience and speed, the very reasons that your organisation adopted cloud in the first place. Without the right roadmap and tools, you won’t be able to transition successfully. It’s important to begin your cloud journey by assuming that you’ll end up moving at least some of your workload to the public cloud, so keep ‘hybrid environment’ in your mind. With that, adopt management and security solutions that support hybrid cloud scenarios.

Know who has access
Robust access management policies are essential. With all the different cloud technology that’s added to the enterprise, IT teams can find it more and more difficult to oversee identity and access management. Organisations need to develop an onboarding system to clone and provision administrative rights based on role ad tenant access. By enforcing least privilege, restrict access and harden cloud resources. All of your organisation’s facets of computing in the cloud should use access control lists to ensure that you know exactly who can access what. By ensuring that privileges are role-based, your end users know exactly what they can and can’t access, and what privileged access you do bestow is audited and recorded via session monitoring.

Backup to recover in record time
We know, we know, backup is important. We only talk about it all the time. And we want to, we really do. We have every intention to, but whenever we do something always goes awry. Well, no more! Backup and recovery is crucial to a good cloud strategy, especially when it comes to integrating security. They are the only thing keeping you afloat in the case of ransomware or misconfigurations that could potentially permanently damage your cloud infrastructure and impact your performance. It gets a bit tricky, since each cloud service has its own native functionality which causes significant headaches when backing up across multiple cloud environments. While having separate backup for each cloud is pretty good, best practise would be to adopt a backup and recovery solution that supports your entire cloud environment.

Your cloud strategy can really seem like an uphill climb. We know that. And when it comes to integrating security into all that, well, it can seem impossible. Here at Cetus and instrato, we’re experts in cloud and we’re experts in security. Make sure to have a chat with one of our specialists, no matter where you are on your cloud journey, to see how we can make cloud security a breeze.

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