How To Protect Your Cloud Infrastructure From Cyber Threats

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Recent technological advancements have changed how businesses operate today. Most companies have moved away from the old communication and marketing systems. Everyone is looking to tap into the benefits of innovative cloud-based systems.

For instance, the growth of information technology (IT) has accelerated the popularity of remote operations. It’s easier for teams to complete projects without necessarily being in the same physical space.

However, with this shift comes the risk of exposing important company information to the wrong hands. Hackers are always on the lookout for any loopholes in your network and pounce whenever an opportunity presents itself. That said, it’s best to find ways to protect your cloud infrastructure using best practices in cybersecurity.

So, how can you protect your cloud system from cyberattacks? This article will discuss all possible solutions you should consider. Keep reading to learn more.

What Is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is a famous phrase in today’s world of tech. It refers to the process of delivering on-demand computing services via the web. Such services include storage, servers, networking, analytics, and databases.

The best part about this technology is that you can enjoy all the above services without purchasing the entire infrastructure. All you need to do is pay a subscription fee for the package you need.

You can cancel the subscription when you no longer require it or upgrade the package according to demand. It makes it easier for businesses to scale as they don’t need to invest in new hardware and software.

As more businesses embrace the work-from-home model, the demand for this technology will keep rising. If you’re running a digital company, you should consider investing in cloud computing consulting services to optimize your system’s operations. This way, you’ll enjoy expert opinions that can help you make informed decisions.

Types of Cloud Computing Services

There are three main types of cloud computing services. Understanding each of them will help implement this technology in leadership development. That said, here are the main types you need to know: 

Software as a Service (SaaS)

SaaS allows you to use web-based applications without installing them on your computer. You can access the software of your choice through a web browser, a desktop client, or an application programming interface (API). 

Examples:

  • Zoom: A cloud-based video conferencing platform.  
  • Office 365: Online version of Microsoft Office.  
  • Google Workspace: Google’s collaboration tools, including Google Drive, Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, and Gmail.  
  • Slack: A cloud-based team communication and collaboration platform.  
  • Dropbox: Allows users to store, share, and access files from smartphones and personal computers.   

Remember that these SaaS solutions offer different functionalities ideal for various industries.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

PaaS provides a platform for developers to build, test, and deploy applications using cloud-based tools. The PaaS provider hosts the necessary software and hardware on their infrastructure. You only need your PC, the internet, and a subscription fee.

Examples:

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) Elastic Beanstalk  
  • Windows Azure  
  • Google App Engine  
  • Apache Stratos  

Each of these options comes with different price packages. Therefore, assess them to see which fits your needs at the right price.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

The third cloud service model is IaaS, which allows businesses to rent IT infrastructure. When using IaaS, you have complete control over your virtual machines, storage, networks, and servers. This technology helps you take advantage of systems that handle different workloads at an affordable price.

Examples:

  • DigitalOcean  
  • Cisco Metapod  
  • Google Compute Engine (GCE)  
  • Rackspace  

It’s worth noting that SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS require different levels of cloud security, such as CWPP security. Therefore, ensure you also include the right managed cybersecurity services in your cloud investment plans.

Common Types of Cyberattacks Per Platform

Every online business is prone to cyber threats. These attacks take various forms depending on the platform you are using. Read below to learn more.

Email-Based Attacks

The major cyberattack carried out via email is phishing. It’s a form of social engineering or identity theft where the perpetrators send you fraudulent emails containing seemingly trustworthy website links. They then steal your personal data as soon as you visit the site.

Slack And Other Cloud-Based Communication Platforms

These platforms are also vulnerable to social phishing and other social engineering attacks. Hackers may also use stolen login details to access a team member’s Slack or Microsoft Teams account. From there, they can either steal sensitive company information or use the opportunity to spread malware.

Social Media Accounts

Social media accounts are a must-have for any modern business. However, hackers may use them or employees’ social media accounts to attack a company.

Phishing and social engineering are common here too. Hackers may also use some of the personal information you post on your social media accounts to their advantage. 

Business Applications And Website Attacks

Your company’s website is another target for cyberattacks. Hackers may use the sensitive information you store here to access your network. 

Structured Query Language Injection (SQLi) is one of the most common attacks targeting data-driven apps. The attacker injects malicious SQL statements into a site’s database. It allows them to access sensitive information or take over the site.

Hackers may also use distributed denial of service (DDoS) to overwhelm your site with traffic. As a result, the website will be unavailable to your customers and other legitimate users.

Password cracking and malware infection are other website and app-based cyber-attacks worth mentioning. 

How to Shield Your Cloud Infrastructure Against Cyber Threats

Now that you have an idea about cloud infrastructure, the following are some of the most effective security tips:

Hire the Best Cloud Security Consultants

The first step you should take toward your company’s cyber security is hiring expert consultants. Cloud security consultants are essential as they help you secure your organization’s cloud infrastructure.

Their experience and knowledge of the field allow them to provide expert guidance. Through them, you’ll understand the security risks and challenges specific to your company’s cloud system. The consultants can independently assess all the vulnerabilities and the best possible solutions.

Given the rapidly changing nature of the cloud security industry, it can take time to keep up with the updates. Cloud security consultants can make your work easier by helping you stay up-to-date with the latest cloud security protocols and threats.

Train Your Staff on Cybersecurity Awareness

Another step you must take is training your employees on cyber threats and their responsibilities in cybersecurity. Remember, the staff members are always in direct contact with your company’s private data, which makes them targets for cybercriminals.

Cybersecurity training can help organizations reduce their risk by teaching employees how to recognize phishing emails, avoid online scams, and spot suspicious activity on networks. It can also provide guidance on best practices for password management, data encryption, and other security measures. Additionally, the right training can help organizations develop policies and procedures that ensure compliance with industry regulations and standards.

Statistics suggest that 85% of cyberattacks are due to negligence by team members. For instance, many staff members have fallen victim to social engineering because they weren’t careful enough in their decision-making.

Unfortunately, many companies don’t invest resources in training and updating their team members. As such, employees keep falling into new traps set by cybercriminals.

Take a phishing attack, for example. This old technique is still widely used by hackers because of its high success rates. One thing that makes it even more dangerous is that criminals have shifted from bulk to targeted emailing. With the new tactic, employees realize their mistakes when it’s too late.

Therefore, you must train every new employee before they start working at your company. Also, implement a policy that ensures everyone regularly completes a cybersecurity refresher course. This way, all employees in your company will be up-to-date with current cyber threats and how they can help curb them. 

Leverage the Power of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Enhancing the current security strategy should be a priority for any organization.

Authentication is a crucial part of your system’s security. Weak passwords and passphrases make the whole process susceptible to cyberattacks. Unfortunately, many employees aren’t aware of this fact. 

Of course, as mentioned earlier, you can educate them on the subject. Make sure everyone uses the most robust password possible and changes to a new one every three months. 

It’s also a good idea to introduce Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to boost your security further. MFA is the process of using multiple pieces of evidence to confirm a user’s identity. The system allows users to access particular resources if the factors provided match. 

This technique is often referred to as ‘two-factor authentication’ because most systems ask for two pieces of evidence. The first one is usually a combination of your username and password. You’ll then be required to input the one-time password (OTP) sent to your phone or email. 

The only drawback is that MFA can drag out the authentication process, which may slow down operations. As such, the next logical evolution is the introduction of adaptive MFA. 

Adaptive MFA is an advanced form of multi-factor authentication whose implementation is based on a user’s risk profile. It selects stricter factors for someone with a high-risk profile and vice versa. Adaptive MFA also considers a user’s behavior, geo-location, device IP, and the importance of the system’s data.

Leverage Artificial Intelligence

AI can analyze vast amounts of data to detect potential threats and vulnerabilities, allowing organizations to stay one step ahead of cybercriminals. It’s also a great solution to automate many tedious security tasks, thus freeing up time for security professionals to focus on more complex issues.

AI-based security systems can continuously monitor networks and systems for suspicious activity, alerting administrators when something out of the ordinary occurs. This allows organizations to respond quickly to threats and minimize the damage caused by an attack. AI can also be used in conjunction with other security tools, such as firewalls and antivirus software, to provide an extra layer of protection against malicious actors.

Furthermore, AI can help organizations identify weaknesses in their security posture before they become a problem. By analyzing large amounts of data, AI-based systems can detect patterns that may indicate a vulnerability or potential attack vector. This allows organizations to take proactive steps toward securing their networks and systems before an incident occurs.

Ensure the Visibility of Your Cloud Ecosystem

You will likely subscribe to multiple cloud-based services as you digitize your operations. You must maintain each service’s visibility and eliminate any blind spots. Make sure you know the status of all cloud services in your system at any given time.

Doing so will make it easier for you to monitor operations and secure your data. Remember, you can’t guarantee what you can’t see.

Conclusion

Cloud security is paramount for every modern business, regardless of size. Many companies record losses every year due to preventable cyberattacks. One of the leading causes of these attacks is employee negligence. You can minimize these by creating a custom training program for your staff. Teach all members about current cyber threats and their role in combating them.

Hiring cloud consultants is also crucial because they can help you make the right security-related decisions. Another step to take in your cloud security project is the introduction of adaptive MFA. Integrating all these tips and features into your security protocols will go a long way toward shielding your cloud infrastructure.

I'm Allison Dunn,

Your Business Executive Coach

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