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How to Reduce Security Breaches in Cloud Computing Networks

Cloud security has to be a part of your company’s overall security strategy. Reducing security breaches in cloud computing networks requires planning and strategy to be successful. Companies need to devote just as much energy toward securing their cloud as they do securing their data center, buildings, people, and information.

Security risks, threats, and breaches can come in so many forms and from so many places that many companies take a comprehensive approach to security management. Many companies will focus on the broad range of potential vulnerabilities to its data center as well as ways to safeguard sensitive corporate, customer, and partner information, including using built-in applications and data level protections. Even with all that, it's not always enough.

In general, follow these steps to reduce the risk of suffering security breaches:

  1. Authenticate all people accessing the network.

  2. Frame all access permissions so users have access only to the applications and data that they’ve been granted specific permission to access.

  3. Authenticate all software running on any computer — and all changes to such software.

    This includes software or services running in the cloud.

    Your cloud provider needs to automate and authenticate software patches and configuration changes, as well as manage security patches in a proactive way. After all, many service outages come from configuration mistakes.

  4. Formalize the process of requesting permission to access data or applications.

    This applies to your own internal systems and the services that require you to put your data into the cloud.

  5. Monitor all network activity and log all unusual activity.

    Deploy intruder-detection technology. Even if your cloud services provider enables you to monitor activities on its environment, you should have an independent view.

    Even when cloud operators have good security (physical, network, OS, application infrastructure), it is your company’s responsibility to protect and secure your applications and information.

  6. Log all user activity and program activity and analyze it for unexpected behavior.

    Nearly 70 percent of security breaches are caused by insiders (or by people getting help from insiders). Insiders rarely get caught.

  7. Encrypt, up to the point of use, all valuable data that needs extra protection.

  8. Regularly check the network for vulnerabilities in all software exposed to the Internet or any external users.

    Given the importance of security in the cloud environment, you might assume that a major cloud services provider would have a set of comprehensive service level agreements for its customers. In fact, many of the standard agreements are intended to protect the service provider — not the customer.

It might sound simple, but implementing all these rules across an entire network is quite challenging. Few networks come close to this level of protection.

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