In the wake of rising cyberattacks, evolving threats and a dynamic landscape, visibility is key to keeping cloud data safe from threat actors. However, CISOs and cyber security teams often face a lack of congruence with other teams owing to lack of funds, inconsistency in pace of work and poor information exchange. While other teams at a company generally work towards building products or providing services to outsiders, cyber security teams are responsible for maintaining the internal security of any information acquired or generated by the company, causing them to work on different stages as compared to the rest of the organization.
Today, a large number of companies use over 1000 cloud-based services, with 21% per cent of the uploaded files containing sensitive data. However, as cloud reliance grows, the increased volume of data on the cloud makes it harder for companies to identify and resolve vulnerabilities. Therefore, to protect data on the cloud it becomes critical for companies to identify what they need to protect and what they need to protect it from. In this article, we discuss the importance of visibility in cyber security, why company data is exposed to risks and how to improve the cyber security posture for data on the cloud.
The cause for exposure
When companies use the cloud, they move on from traditional data storage practices to a modern, faster and future-ready approach. However, such a move comes with its problems which can prove to make the move disastrous if not managed with due attention. Cloud data can be exposed for a variety of reasons, however, some common causes stand out, and if handled properly can make cloud migration one of the most successful moves for any enterprise.
The rise of public cloud
As more enterprises move to public cloud services, they face a lack of visibility in terms of the security posture of the service and how their data is being managed by the service provider. Such lack of information prevents companies from creating a robust cyber defense strategy to be deployed for their cloud data.
Different teams at an organization are often at separate stages of development when creating a product or providing a service. As a result, when cyber security teams develop a strategy they are often faced with difficulty since other teams tend to move faster and release products and generate data before they can be protected; creating a significant lag between development and protection.
Conventional monitoring tools
Cyber security has always faced the plague of poor funding, preventing CISOs from developing cyber defense strategies as quickly as the threat landscape evolves. This results in security teams relying on traditional monitoring tools which are often outdated and unable to detect advanced anomalies that can easily bypass older systems.
How much your employees know
Outdated and poor employee training is another major cause for companies facing breaches. While threats have become more complex, employee training around data security has become more of an obligatory exercise, often failing to create awareness amongst employees about the different kinds of threats, attacks and malware. Consequently, this lack of knowledge prevents employees from reporting issues on time.
What can be done
Although the cloud is vulnerable to a myriad of cyber threats, it is much safer than traditional data storage solutions. It is an integral part of modern organizations and a leading data storage solution, therefore, instead of avoiding the cloud, companies need to focus on how to protect their data on it.
One of the best ways to improve visibility is to automate logging, detection and response. Although automation tools are known to raise false alarms, they are still vital to a sound cybersecurity roadmap. Automated tools allow cybersecurity teams to detect threats faster and even before they can damage or steal data. Further, automation allows companies to scour scores of data, a lot of which is likely to go unnoticed by teams and helps protect it.
Companies need to invest heavily in their cyber defense to prevent breaches in the first place. Further, increased investment enables companies to hire and train required personnel to help monitor, detect and respond to cyber-attacks.
When data is uploaded on the cloud, it can be difficult to manage information when stored in multiple locations. Therefore, companies must resort to centralized management practices to protect their data. Through a unified platform, companies can monitor multiple locations, even notice anomalies around generally unsuspected locations, and create strategies to protect the entire catalog of data from a single location.
Proactive threat hunting and response
One of the most recommended practices to protect cloud data has been threat hunting. When companies proactively look for threats, they are better able to assess what they have to fight. The lack of hunting prevents companies from gaining knowledge of the threat landscape and creates information gaps. Further, when companies actively look for threats they can respond faster, often being able to develop strategies much in advance of an oncoming threat.
Read, react, respond
When companies choose to migrate to the cloud, they leave traditional practices and move to an alien environment with its own challenges. Therefore, to protect data, it becomes imperative for companies to read the threat landscape proactively and install protocols that allow cybersecurity teams to acquire maximum visibility. Enhanced visibility on the cloud allows companies to react quickly to an imminent threat and respond with proportionate measures to preserve company data; while the cost of not knowing something could wreak havoc.