Cloud security is the protection of data stored online from theft, leakage, and deletion. Methods of providing cloud security include firewalls, penetration testing, obfuscation, tokenization, virtual private networks (VPN), and avoiding public internet connections. Major threats to cloud security include data breaches, data loss, account hijacking, service traffic hijacking, insecure application program interfaces (APIs), poor choice of cloud storage providers, and shared technology that can compromise cloud security. Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks are another threat to cloud security. These attacks shut down a service by overwhelming it with data so that users cannot access their accounts, such as bank accounts or email accounts.
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Breaking down Cloud Security
Cloud security is essential for the many users who are concerned about the safety of the data they store in the cloud. They believe their data is safer on their own local servers where they feel they have more control over the data. But data stored in the cloud may be more secure because cloud service providers have superior security measures, and their employees are security experts. On-premise data can be more vulnerable to security breaches, depending on the type of attack. Social engineering and malware can make any data storage system vulnerable, but on-site data may be more vulnerable since its guardians are less experienced in detecting security threats.
Cloud security is a key concern for cloud storage providers. They not only must satisfy their customers; they also must follow certain regulatory requirements for storing sensitive data such as credit card numbers and health information. Third-party audits of a cloud provider’s security systems and procedures help ensure that users’ data is safe.
Maintaining the security of data in the cloud extends beyond securing the cloud itself. Cloud users must protect access to the cloud that can be gained from data stored on mobile devices or carelessness with login credentials. Another cloud security issue is that data stored on a cloud-hosted in another country may be subject to different regulations and privacy measures.
When choosing a cloud provider, it is important to choose a company that tries to protect against malicious insiders through background checks and security clearances. Most people think outside hackers are the biggest threat to cloud security, but employees present just as large of a risk. These employees are not necessarily malicious insiders; they are often employees who unknowingly make mistakes such as using a personal smartphone to access sensitive company data without the security of the company’s own network.
Cloud security is a set of control-based safeguards and technology protection designed to protect resources stored online from leakage, theft, or data loss.
Protection encompasses cloud infrastructure, applications, and data from threats. Security applications operate as software in the cloud using a Software as a Service (SaaS) model.
Topics that fall under the umbrella of security in the cloud include:
- Data center security
- Access control
- Threat prevention
- Threat detection
- Threat mitigation
- Legal compliance
- Security policy
Cloud service providers use a combination of methods to protect your data.
Firewalls are a mainstay of cloud architecture. Firewalls protect the perimeter of your network security and your end-users. Firewalls also safeguard traffic between different apps stored in the cloud.
Access controls protect data by allowing you to set access lists for different assets. For instance, you might allow specific employees application access, while restricting others. A general rule is to provide employees’ access to only the tools they need to do their job. By maintaining strict access control, you can keep critical documents from malicious insiders or hackers with stolen credentials.
Cloud providers take steps to protect data that’s in transit. Data Security methods include virtual private networks, encryption, or masking. Virtual private networks (VPNs) allow remote employees to connect to corporate networks. VPNs accommodate tablets and smartphones for remote access.
Data masking encrypts identifiable information, such as names. This maintains data integrity by keeping important information private. With data masking, a medical company can share data without violating HIPAA laws, for example.
Threat intelligence spots security threats and ranks them in order of importance. This feature helps you protect mission-critical assets from threats.
Disaster recovery is key to security since it helps you recover data that are lost or stolen.
While not a security component per se, your cloud services provider may need to comply with data storage regulations. Some countries require that data must be stored within their country. If your country has this requirement, you need to verify that a cloud provider has data centers in your country.