Every cloud security plan is going to look different based on your business and your industry. However, there are some general rules when it comes to best practices that will help provide guidance as your work towards establishing a flexible and scalable cloud security plan. In the third installment of our series, we will take a closer look at cloud security best practices and how you can use these to shape your security plan.

1.  Partner with a Trusted Cloud Provider

The very first step in establishing solid cloud security is to partner with a trusted and reputable cloud provider. As you shop around, look for providers who offer built-in security protocols that will support your efforts to secure data and meet compliance standards. The right provider will have earned a range of security compliance certifications that are publicly advertised for maximum transparency. In addition, you want a provider who can offer a marketplace of partners so that you can shop different solutions and integrate them into your deployment for a customized security plan.

2.  Understand Your Responsibilities

When you partner with a cloud provider, you are both responsible for certain aspects of security. It is important that you understand which tasks fall to which party. You don’t want to assume that the provider is taking care of a security protocol only to discover that it was your responsibility. A reputable cloud provider will provide a transparent shared responsibility model so that you have easy access to this information.

3.  Train All Users

When it comes to cloud computing, the users can either be an asset or a liability. Well-trained users will understand and implement security practices and avoid creating unnecessary vulnerabilities. By making users aware of the dangers of poor security practices and training them to spot abnormalities that could signal malware or phishing scams, you can turn them into a powerful security tool. If you work in an industry with complex compliance standards, it may be worth investing in having an employee complete industry-specific training and earn a certification. This will provide valuable in-house oversight.

4.  Create Secure Endpoints

Cloud technology has made it easier than ever for employees to work remotely and use mobile devices to access the cloud. Oftentimes, they are using personal devices, which means they won’t automatically have extra security that may come with company owned devices. In addition, in most cases, they are using a web browser to access documents. All of these endpoints must be secured. A reputable provider will offer protections that include: antivirus tools, firewalls, mobile device security features and other detection tools that can be used to identify any breaches.

5.  Ensure Visibility of Your Cloud

Using resources on the cloud can create a fast-paced environment. This can be further complicated by the fact that many companies use multiple cloud services. These factors can affect visibility and make it difficult to avoid creating blindspots. You will want a solution that allows for maximum visibility so that you can identify risks and maintain a clear vision of the entire system.

6.  Create a Password Policy

One of the easiest things you can do to support cloud security is to create a company-wide password policy. For example, require that users change their password every 90 days and prevent simple passwords by either generating unique passwords or requiring that they are 14 characters long and include a symbol, number and one uppercase letter. Multi-factor authentication can also help prevent unauthorized access. These types of policies can go a long way in preventing attacks.

7.  Encrypt All Your Data

Whether your data is being stored or in transit, it should always be encrypted. While a provider may offer encryption services, keep in mind that going this route means that they will have access to the encryption key. You can further increase security by using your own encryption solution. Even if a malicious party is able to access your data, they won’t be able to do anything with the information.

Any business can benefit from putting these cloud security best practices into place and working with a reputable provider who will work to support your security efforts. In the next part of our series, we will take a look at one final best practice: using a Cloud Access Security Broker. Many people aren’t familiar with this tool, so we will be using the next post to take a deep dive into this option and discuss what it is and how it can help.

If you have any additional questions about cloud security and compliance, contact the experts at prancer. We offer a pre and post-deployment could validation framework for IaC that supports continuous compliance. A team member will be happy to answer all your question and get you started on the road to better cloud security and compliance.