Nowadays, it’s standard procedure to prepare for cloud security. First and foremost, you need to consider and understand the three models of cloud computing: software-as-a-service (SaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS).
For SaaS, every solution is the responsibility of the provider, and this does not undermine the responsibility of the information owner.
Fundamentally, cloud security’s responsibility goes from the contractor to the vendor; thus, a highly elaborate contract is required in the SaaS model. However, it is important to understand that the contractor is always the information owner regardless of the model.
For PaaS, the contractor is required to enter the application solution, and the service provider has the responsibility of the other services. The application server is available in this model. However, the application and its occasional vulnerabilities are the responsibility of the client.
For IaaS, the provider provides the required infrastructure, and the contractor is responsible for the other modules and apps. The operational system is available in this model, but the client is responsible for installation, configuration and maintaining the application servers and the application.
Now that we have understood the models, the following are the best practices for cloud security.
Advocate for stronger password protection
Creating strong passwords is an important best practice in general, but specifically important in the cloud security. This means that employees should be trained how to create strong passwords, with symbols and multiple words and with more than ten words.
Cloud users are advised to implement two-factor authentication solutions to secure their accounts and make it hard for attackers to gain access to their accounts.
Many security experts have highlighted on the shared responsibility model of the cloud, in which cloud providers and clients have different responsibilities for the various features of security.
One of the key points they highlight is that clients are responsible for securing the OS and applications, while the cloud providers are responsible for the security of the hardware and physical infrastructure.
Solution providers should educate their clients on the limits of the cloud provider’s security responsibilities and cover any security loopholes left uncovered. For solution providers, ensuring clients understand that shared responsibility model is a best practice.
Cloud security experts have agreed that without identity and access management solutions a company has a huge hole in its security portfolio no matter the cloud security measures put in place.
Solutions should be integrated into the organization and be updated on a regular basis as employee turnover occurs. Most companies do miss such integrations, thus opening doors to insider threats.
A lot of breaches happen because of unhappy or reckless employees; thus, employee controls should be checked.
Solution provider should assist their clients to sort out data classification levels to determine the level of data protection which should be employed in the cloud.
Many companies are just beginning to recognize the benefits of this practice; thus, they are starting to make strategic decisions about their data protection policies.
While it might look so simple, an important best practice of cloud security is choosing a vendor with a reputable security track record. It is crucial to fully evaluate what cloud vendors bring to the table and how those solutions have performed previously for other clients as mega data breaches have targeted cloud providers.
Putting in place threat detection technologies is one of the best practices, but companies should ensure they have enough resources and expertise in monitoring traffic to back up the technologies.
The faster a security breach is detected, the faster it can be dealt with. However, many companies are falling short in the implementation of threat detection best practices.