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The cloud is becoming an increasingly important topic for businesses as our world gets more digital. Organisations may accomplish more with less by utilising cloud technology. Advanced business intelligence, remote working and the Internet of Things (IoT) are all made possible by the cloud.

As part of MyRepublic Ignite, our brand-new suite of enterprise ICT solutions for SMEs in Singapore, we have been sharing our insights on cloud services, AI and digital transformation with our communities.

This article is Part 1 of our 3-part blog series on cloud security.

How to build a cloud security strategy

Cloud adoption comes with several risks. Every organisation needs to understand cloud security best practices so that they can integrate crucial processes and safeguard their assets.

Your cloud journey is guided by your cloud security plan. Creating a plan gives your company the opportunity to set its cloud security program on track, address risks and achieve its corporate goals.

To protect your data and applications in the cloud, you need to have an effective security plan in place.

To build a successful cloud security strategy, start with reinforcing the five components of an effective cloud security plan:

1. Identity and Access Management (IAM)

IAM systems manage access control for the users of your cloud infrastructure. They provide different levels of control, for example, to ensure that only authorised users can access sensitive data. IAM systems are essential for protecting your data from unauthorised access or theft.

2. Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

DLP solutions are also instrumental in the prevention of unauthorized access or data theft. They can help you comply with regulations such as Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). DLP solutions scan all data traffic for sensitive information and block or quarantine any data that is found to be in violation of your security policies.

3. Security Monitoring and Attack Detection

Security monitoring solutions track all activity in the cloud environment and identify any unusual or malicious behaviour. This helps you quickly detect any attacks or intrusions in your system. Attack detection solutions use various techniques such as behavioural analysis and machine learning to identify malicious activity.

4. Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASBs)

CASBs provide visibility and control over how users access the cloud. They can help you enforce security policies for both sanctioned and unsanctioned cloud services. CASBs can also help you with data loss prevention and compliance reporting.

5. Encryption

Encryption is one of the most important tools for protecting data in the cloud. It helps ensure that even if your data is stolen, it cannot be read without the proper encryption key. Encryption can be used at rest (i.e., when your data is stored on disk) or in transit (i.e., when it is being transmitted over the network).

Your cloud journey is guided by your cloud security plan. Your company has the opportunity to set its cloud security program on track to address risks and achieve its corporate goals.

Once you have identified, defined and documented the components you need to build your cloud security around, you need to drum up support to implement it. Building a successful cloud security strategy is an organisation-wide collaborative effort.

Follow these steps and guidelines to implement your cloud security strategy:

Define needs and assess risks

Before you can begin to create a cloud security policy, you need to understand your organisation’s needs. What data do you need to protect? What are your biggest concerns when it comes to cloud security? Understanding these things will help you determine the best way to protect your data.

Once you understand your organisation’s needs, you need to assess the risks associated with using the cloud. What are the potential threats? What could go wrong? Understanding the risks will help you determine what measures need to be taken to protect your data.

Create and implement the plan

Once you understand the risks, you need to create a plan on how to address them. This plan should include specific steps that need to be taken and should be tailored to your organisation’s needs.

Once the plan is created, it needs to be implemented. This means putting into place all of the measures that have been outlined in order to protect your data.

Security is never static – it needs to be constantly monitored and adjusted as needed. The cloud is constantly evolving, so your security strategy must evolve with it. This means regularly evaluating your policy and making changes as needed.

One of the most important components of any security strategy is education. Employees must be made aware of the dangers associated with using the cloud and what they can do to help protect the organisation’s data.

Protect the cloud by using cloud encryption

Cloud encryption is a technology that helps keep data safe when it is stored in the cloud. It works by encrypting the data before it is uploaded to the cloud and then decrypting it when it is needed. This helps to protect it from unauthorised access and makes it difficult for anyone to hack into.

Cloud encryption is particularly important for businesses that store confidential information in the cloud. By encrypting data, businesses can protect against data breaches and deter hackers from gaining access to sensitive information. In addition, cloud encryption can help businesses meet compliance requirements, such as PCI DSS and HIPAA.

There are many different encryption algorithms available, but AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) is a good choice for encrypting data in the cloud. AES is a strong encryption algorithm that is widely used and supported. It can be used to encrypt data at rest (stored in the cloud) or in transit (sent over the network).

Invest in specialist training

The shift to cloud infrastructure is driving up the demand for skilled specialists who can manage and secure this infrastructure.

There are many companies that provide training in this sector and Amazon Web Services (AWS) is one of them. AWS offers a comprehensive set of training courses to help you stay up to date on the latest threats and vulnerabilities. The AWS Security Training and Certification provides you with the skills and knowledge you need to protect your data and applications in the cloud. The courses cover a wide range of topics, from identity and access management to data encryption. You’ll learn how to secure your AWS infrastructure, identify and prevent attacks, and respond effectively to security incidents.

AWS Privacy Training helps you understand the regulations surrounding data privacy, including the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). In this training you’ll learn how to comply with these laws, as well as how to protect your customers’ data. The courses cover topics such as data classification, data retention and incident response.

Practice makes perfect

The way you respond to security incidents is perhaps the most important aspect of your cloud security strategy. Run incident response simulations and use automated tools to improve the speed of detection, investigation and recovery. Your preparation has a significant impact on your team’s ability to operate effectively during an incident, isolate and contain issues, and restore operations to a known good state.

Having the tools and access in place before a security incident, and then routinely practicing incident response through game days, helps ensure that you can recover while minimising business disruption.

Cloud security is a joint effort between you and your cloud provider. To create a cloud security strategy that will protect your organisation, you must first understand where the provider’s responsibility ends and yours begins. The primary goal of a security strategy is to address risks; therefore, keep the risk-based approach at the forefront of your program and constantly re-evaluate your priorities.

Stay tuned for our next feature on cloud security challenges for SMEs. Download our white paper “Building a successful Cloud Security Strategy” for a comprehensive look at the building blocks of cloud security strategy.