What is Data Security in Cloud Computing? cover

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What is Data Security in Cloud Computing?

What is data security in cloud computing?

Program managers evaluating cloud computing solutions should take a step back and consider data security. This includes the cloud provider's information security policies, system architecture, application security, data resilience, and cyber security processes. When trialing a new solution, failing to consider these may result in the program manager's work being discarded when the CIO or CISO and their team conduct a security evaluation. These are the basics that all cloud environments must consider.

Information security

Whether in a public or private cloud environment, data security for cloud environments begins with the cloud provider's information security policies. These policies, such as the Information Classification Policy, Operations and Data Handling Policy, and Information Security and Access Policy, guide handling and storing information according to its classification. Additionally, policies should explicitly forbid copying user data onto removable media devices, such as flash drives, hard drives, tapes, or other media, without the data owner's explicit permission.

Architecture

When designing a cloud architecture, it is essential to consider the security implications. Security measures must be taken to protect data, applications, and systems from unauthorized access and malicious activity.

To ensure the security of a cloud architecture, it is essential to:

  • Implement authentication and authorization protocols to control access to resources.
  • Utilize encryption to protect data in transit and at rest.
  • Monitor and log activities to detect suspicious behavior.
  • Deploy security patches and updates regularly.
  • Establish a secure backup and recovery plan.
  • Utilize firewalls and other security tools to protect against external threats.
  • Educate users on security best practices.
Cloud computing security abstract concept vector illustration. Cloud information security system, data protection service, safety architecture, network computing, storage access abstract metaphor.

Data segregation

Application security for cloud solutions should address the multi-tenant environment and use authenticated roles and logical access controls to ensure customers' data is protected and stored in individual, private databases separate from other customers' data.

Data encryption

Data entering the cloud vendor through email or APIs and leaving the cloud environment through webhooks must, by default, use SSL and enforce TLS encryption for all data and files transferred to and from the customer environment and within the vendor's network.

Encryption should be used to protect data at rest in the environment. This includes encrypting data and encryption keys.

Application Security

Cloud services are increasingly becoming an integral part of modern applications. To ensure the security of these applications, it is crucial to consider the security of the underlying cloud infrastructure. This includes authentication, authorization, data encryption, and secure access control. Additionally, monitoring the cloud environment for suspicious activity and responding quickly to potential threats is essential. Organizations can ensure that their applications and data remain secure by taking these steps.

Access controls

Access controls must be strictly enforced to protect customer data from inappropriate access. Access should only be granted when traffic engineers monitoring automated operations need to troubleshoot any failures. A comprehensive system of access controls should be implemented to ensure customer data remains secure and confidential. Only authorized personnel should be granted access, and all access should be logged to ensure tracking and monitoring. Regular security audits should be conducted to ensure access controls are followed correctly and any potential risks are addressed promptly.

Web Application Security

Protect against attacks by filtering out bots and malicious activity with an application firewall. Ensure data input security by escaping user input, validating user input, and sanitizing input data. This will prevent HTML tags or unusual characters from creating a vulnerability. Also, you can use web application scanning tools regularly to detect and quickly mitigate security vulnerabilities.

User data masking

Any information considered personally identifiable information (PII) or sensitive by the cloud solution customer risks exposing the end subscriber's identity (user or business) or sensitive data.

Data Resilience

Cloud storage is a key component of data resilience. It helps protect data from loss, corruption, and other risks by providing a secure, off-site backup. By storing data in the cloud, organizations can ensure their data remains safe and accessible, even during a disaster. Additionally, cloud storage can provide access to data from anywhere, allowing for remote collaboration and improved productivity.

Backup

Suppose any customer data or customer report data is lost or corrupted. In that case, the Cloud solution provider will use commercially reasonable efforts to restore it from the latest backup stored in their archive since they will not be held responsible for any loss, destruction, alteration, unauthorized disclosure, or corruption of Customer Data or Customer Report Data you should understand what type of backup solution they have.

Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery

To ensure data security, the cloud solution architecture must have redundancy throughout their entire infrastructure, from load balancers, storage units, and processing engines to power and telecommunication providers. No system or device should have a single point of failure. Data should always be written to two separate locations when stored. Is this the case?

Each data instance must be independent and scaled to its daily average traffic three times. The unavailability of any data collection instance should not result in data collection failure. The other data collection instances should automatically adjust and scale to absorb the failed instance(s) load.

If an entire data center fails, internet traffic should be rerouted automatically to the remaining data centers. This allows the Cloud solution SOC team to troubleshoot the issue with the failed data center, escalate as needed to the appropriate vendor(s), and resolve the issue without customer impact. This ensures that all data is collected as expected.

In the unlikely event of complete data center failure, the SOC may need to intervene manually, depending on the severity and complexity of the issue. Instructions and recovery steps are critical to expeditiously bring the data center back online at an alternate location.

Data erasure

What is the cloud provider’s data erasure, clearing, wiping, or destruction method to destroy all old electronic data stored on a hard disk drive or other digital media?

Cyber security

Monitoring

Cybersecurity monitoring is essential for keeping data secure. Data discovery and classification tools help identify and classify sensitive data. File activity monitoring ensures that data is accessed only by authorized personnel. Automated compliance reporting ensures that organizations remain compliant with relevant regulations.

Cybersecurity is essential during data breaches. Taking proactive steps to protect data can help mitigate the damage and prevent further losses. These actions include:

  • Identifying the source of the breach.
  • Implementing security measures to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
  • Notifying affected parties and providing them with guidance on protecting their data.
  • Assessing the extent of the damage and determining the necessary steps to recover.
  • Taking legal action against the responsible parties, if applicable.
  • Developing a plan to restore data and systems to their pre-breach state.

Data breaches

Testing

Vulnerability assessment and risk analysis tools are essential for organizations to identify and mitigate potential risks. These tools help identify weaknesses in systems and processes and provide insights into reducing the likelihood of a security breach. They also guide how to respond to a breach if one occurs. By using these tools, organizations can ensure that their systems and processes are secure and minimize potential risks.

Employee education

Customer data is highly confidential under the Cloud Solution Information Classification Policy. This policy guides employees on handling all information according to its classification, ensuring information security.

So what?

Data security in cloud computing is a critical concern that should be noticed by program managers, IT professionals, and organizations as a whole. It encompasses many branches of cybersecurity, including information security, architecture, application security, data resilience, access controls, web application security, data masking, and security processes. Neglecting these crucial elements when evaluating or implementing cloud solutions can lead to severe consequences, including data breaches, loss of trust, and legal liabilities. Data is the lifeblood of modern businesses, and safeguarding it should be a top priority.

In summary

ISPs, cloud providers, and hosting companies that proactively protect their public network space using AbuseHQ gain from Abusix’s secure cloud practices.
Taking preventive steps to reduce abuse risk, having an effective system for managing and resolving customer issues, and providing quality trust and safety services and excellent customer service also help secure your cloud services and provide a well-fortified network for your business and customers.
Talk to us at [email protected] about improving your cloud computing network security.

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Editor’s note: This post was originally published in September 2016 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness....