Login to your account

Username *
Password *
Remember Me

Create an account

Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required.
Name *
Username *
Password *
Verify password *
Email *
Verify email *
Captcha *
Reload Captcha

Back to Basics with Cloud Security

Written by  Sam Leach - Guest Contributor Jul 18, 2019

Organisations are doing some fancy footwork with security these days in order to simultaneously protect users yet empower them to perform various tasks online.

As application workloads and activities move to one or more cloud environments, organisations have also begun to ask what they should do to ensure proper cloud security.

The answer, it turns out, has much to do with going back to basics as it does with anticipating what’s coming next in cloud-based security.

Cloud Computing Security: Foundations and Challenges
amazon uk

What NOT to Do

When we advise clients to “go back to basics” for cloud security, we often look first at what they are doing now to secure their current IT environments. Such practices—whether good or bad—often extend to an organisation’s use of hybrid and public cloud services as well.

For starters, we recommend abolishing some common, but risky security habits:

  1. Stop the use of manual, static or stale credentials. In the age of software-defined infrastructures and dynamic cloud services, it’s time to move from manual and often-unchanging user access methods. This includes:
    • Stopping the use of static access keys that never expire.
    • Stopping the use of access keys embedded in software code during application development or testing. These pose a risk if they remain in production code or in the event the code is subsequently uploaded to an open source repository, such as GitHub.
    • Stopping the assignment of permissions that you forget to revoke when the need for access ends. Instead of assigning permissions that may last months or years, adopt a security posture that assigns permissions that last minutes or hours, especially for more sensitive and impactful data.

  2. Stop storing User IDs and passwords for longer than necessary. Given the growing focus on user privacy and regulations like the GDPR, it’s past time to start following some of the tenets adopted by the banking and payment card industry (PCI).

Just as those organisations don’t hold credit card information for longer than necessary, so too should today’s organisations keep user authentication data for only as long as needed, then discard it. Better yet, organisations should not try to take on the responsibility to hold user secrets they can’t protect properly. It may be time to pass on that responsibility to a third-party or cloud service expert in managing user identities.

Cloud service providers who deal heavily in user security and authentication are also increasingly moving toward a future that authenticates a user’s access via some type of trusted user account instead of via disparate, application-specific user IDs and passwords. This might include verifying user identities through a Microsoft Office 365 account, for instance, or through one of the user’s other social media networks or accounts. This means no longer creating a new User ID and password unique to your application or system. Instead, reuse trusted sources for identity and access management.

  1. Stop giving administrators blanket access to everything, all the time. This practice may make an administrator’s life easier, but it has left a lot of damage and breached systems in its wake. Hackers often use such security loopholes with blanket Admin credentials to gain access to sensitive corporate data. Look into new solutions that easily control this type of access without causing a major headache for the administrators. Many do so while still ensuring appropriate governance.

Good Steps to Prepare for a Secure (Yet Cloudy) Future

We’ve covered many ways organisations tend to fall short in their security efforts. But, what can you start doing now to secure your emerging hybrid and multi-cloud worlds? To start, look to what leading cloud security providers have begun doing:

  • Start replacing blanket permissions, user IDs and passwords with multifactor authentication (MFA) and privileged access management (PAM).
  • Incorporate condition-based access to everything for everyone. The future will allow normal users to go about their day-to-day work without being constantly prompted for credentials. This will occur by monitoring behaviours and making appropriate decisions about when to escalate authentication and prompt for more layers of verification.
  • Look to tools that use AI and machine learning to help evaluate log data and help flag the difference between typical user behaviour and questionable behaviour that might fall outside the norm.
  • Start incorporating single sign-on for your users and customers, preferably from one cloud-based provider. For example, if you are using something like Active Directory in your on-premises environment, look for a provider that lets you automatically synchronise user login IDs/passwords from that system to a cloud counterpart. Similarly, consider offloading the hosting of user IDs and password databases to a reputable cloud provider.
  • Consider how to securely collaborate with business partners, third-party vendors and contractors vs. creating their own user accounts on your network.

If you are confused about what to do first, prioritise efforts based on low-hanging fruit. This means protecting and securing the highest risk users and data in your organisation. This could be your executives, your HR team, your Finance team, or other IT administrators. Focusing in this way will reduce your risk exposure significantly. It will also teach you about how to apply these controls to the rest of your organisation.

Did you find this article useful? Comment below or follow us on
Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.


Popular News

May 06, 2020 IT Security News

Popular VPNs Exposed Users to Attacks

Researchers analysed some of the most popular VPNs and discovered that two of them were affected by vulnerabilities that...

May 22, 2020 Cyber Security

EasyJet will be sued over customer data breach

Legal firm PGMBM, a specialist in group legal action, has issued a class action claim under Article 82 of the General Da...

May 19, 2020 IT Security News

EasyJet data breach: Over 9 million customers affected

The personal data of over 9 million EasyJet customers has been infiltrated by hackers, including over 2,000 users' credi...

May 18, 2020 Cyber Security

UK power grid operator Elexon hit by cyberattack

The UK’s power grid middleman Elexon has announced it has fallen victim to a cyberattack, which did not compromise pow...

May 05, 2020 Cyber Security

The importance of cybersecurity for UK businesses

Technology is constantly changing and at a pace which is hard to keep up with, but 'safety first' always applies. ...

May 11, 2020 Cloud Security News

Tips to help secure your cloud data in the UK

In this digital age, it’s not a great idea to trust someone with your sensitive data. ...

May 27, 2020 Cyber Security

UK scared cybercriminals will use NHSX Covid-19 Tracing App to launch attacks

Nearly half (48%) of the UK public surveyed about the NHSX COVID-19 tracing app do not trust the UK government to keep t...

May 28, 2020 IT Security News

UK virus apps highlights tension between privacy and need for data

As more UK and European governments turn to tracing apps in the fight against the coronavirus, a deep-rooted tension bet...

Apr 10, 2020 IT Security News

The importance of security for UK office printers

When it comes to digital security, we tend not to think about printers as they are often seen as dumb devices with a few...

May 25, 2020 Cyber Security

Beware of security threats before deploying remote working

Remote working is receiving a great deal of attention recently for obvious reasons. The world has changed and remote wor...

May 07, 2020 Cyber Security

Three quarters of UK homeworkers haven't received cybersecurity training

As Covid-19-related cybersecurity threats continue to multiply, three in four of home workers are yet to receive any cyb...

May 20, 2020 IT Security News

To VPN or not to VPN for business users

It’s a question many organisations are asking as they work to provide secure and reliable remote access at scale. ...

May 14, 2020 IT Security News

Windows 10 is getting DNS over HTTPS (DoH) support

DNS is one of the last protocols that still runs unencrypted on the Internet. ...

Apr 11, 2020 IT Security News

Tips for testing an IT security experts worth in the UK

There is no shortage of people presenting themselves as security experts. Some of them truly are, the others may or may ...

May 28, 2020 IT Security News

Defence tips to stop a trojan invasion

Knowing not to open email attachments from unfamiliar addresses, or even the email itself, is a vital step to preventing...

Apr 22, 2020 IT Security News

Kaspersky shares 10 security and privacy tips when using Zoom

The recommendations from Kaspersky come following recent concerns regarding Zoom's security and privacy. ...

Symantec Home 120x60