In 2020, it was estimated that 88% of UK businesses were actively using cloud services.
Just to emphasise how astounding that figure is, this was up from just 5% in 2010. Put plainly, cloud services have rapidly become the norm for businesses across the country – and its looking like that will remain the case well into the future.
However, research has consistently uncovered one recurring reason that some businesses won’t adopt the cloud or (in some cases) have decided to stop using it altogether: security.
According to Carbon Black, up to 88% of UK businesses experienced a security breach in 2019-2020, and Hiscox reports that a single small business is hacked every 19 seconds.
What are the main causes of cloud security breaches?
Cloud configuration’s complexity, plus the need for specialised training and the best cloud security tools available, means that misconfiguration is an all-too-common reason for cloud security breaches.
According to previous research, 53% of businesses agree that unauthorized access through misuse of employee credentials and improper access controls is one of their biggest cloud security threats.
When Application Programme Interfaces (APIs – used to streamline cloud computing) are not secured sufficiently, they open doors that allow cybercriminals to access and exploit private information and data. According to Optiv, poor API security led to at least six high-profile cloud security breaches in 2018.
Lack of visibility
For many businesses, a lack of visibility into their access settings and activities in the cloud can have a detrimental impact on their cloud security. In fact, 87% of cloud professionals agree that a lack of visibility masks security, and subsequently results in reduced business value.
Worryingly, human error (and worse, malicious intent) is perhaps the greatest cause of cloud data breaches. Plus, as a result of increased remote working following the coronavirus pandemic, these risks are currently vastly increased.
And what are the costs of a cloud security breach for businesses?
The consequences of a data breach can unfortunately be devastating. As outlined by cloudmask.com:
“Depending on the type of data involved, the consequences can include destruction or corruption of databases, the leaking of confidential information, the theft of intellectual property and regulatory requirements to notify and possibly compensate those affected.”
According to the IBM’s “Cost of a Data Breach” report in 2020, the overall cost of database breaches cost UK businesses a total of £3.9 million – and higher for larger companies. At closer inspection, this is around £115 on average per data record. Plus, as it typically takes around 280 days for businesses to detect a breach, the overall cost can be phenomenal.
The time costs, as well as the financial implications of a data breach, are also great; valuable time which should be spent on the running and growth of your business could be lost due to the need for your internal team to assess and repair the damage – particularly if you do not have an expert external team on board to assist with the recovery.
What’s more, as those affected will need to be notified of the breach (such as other businesses you work with or customers), it is highly likely that a data breach in your business will also attract media attention.
This can subsequently cause lasting reputational damage, including loss of trust or even business of customers and partners/vendors, increased difficulties in acquiring new customers and so on.
However, when implemented correctly and with the right security measures in place, the cloud can offer huge benefits to businesses of all sizes and sectors.
As we outlined in a previous blog, there are many reasons why now is the right time to move to the cloud – from cost savings to flexibility, scalability and more.
So, if you’re looking to boost your cloud security, read on for our expert top tips:
7 top tips to boost your cloud security:
1. Correctly configure your cloud server
First things first, when you decide that you would like to create or set up a cloud server for your business, ensure that it is configured correctly from the outset to prevent the likelihood of any breaches happening in the first instance.
This can be a complicated process, so be sure to consider enlisting the support of a specialist IT team for complete peace of mind.
2. Encrypt your cloud data
By encrypting your cloud data, you’ll be translating it into a different form or code. This means that only those with a password or decryption key can access and read it as it passes between you, your team members and your clients. This makes encryption a fantastic data and confidentiality breach solution.
This is something that, while complex, can be handled by a professional IT support company to ensure that any information you store in cloud is kept safe.
3. Ensure your cloud data is backed up
When it comes to a cloud security breach, the chances are that your data could be wiped clean from your servers, not just corrupted, as well as falling into the hands of the wrong person.
As noted above, the leaking of this information can have disastrous consequences, including compliance fines and reputational damage.
While not a direct security measure per se, having several back-ups of your data allows your employees to continue working independently of the breached information while the breach is being managed.
4. Implement an Identity and Access Management (IAM) strategy
Having an IAM (Identity and Access Management) strategy will essentially provide you with the tools and tech to control who is accessing what information and with which devices in the cloud.
This way, it protects against any cloud security breaches by identifying and denying access to unauthorised persons who might use the data unlawfully.
As part of this strategy, you should also ensure that any employees leaving the company have their access to any data or information removed as soon as they complete their notice period.
5. Schedule regular staff training
As mentioned above, human error is one of the greatest causes of cloud security breaches – and the best means to prevent this before it happens is through educating and training your team (something that we provide here at Clovertec as part of our services).
As well as establishing your data management policies, what a data breach looks like and how employees can respond effectively in a breach scenario, be sure to emphasise the consequences of a data breach for both the company as a whole, and employees involved.
For example, you might want to highlight that a breach could not only cost the individual responsible their job, but also the jobs of their colleagues, and even the potential closure of the entire business.
You could even consider running a practice “security breach” after the training to check whether your employees have taken everything fully on board!
6. Invest in security software and tools
An API-based cloud access security broker (CASB), for example, is one of the best cloud security tools you can implement. Essentially, a CASB scours any incoming network traffic in the cloud to check that it meets your business’s security and policies.
For example, if the software is instructed to prevent the downloading and sharing of certain information, it will prevent this from happening and you will be instantly alerted to the breach in order to take any required action.
7. Partner up with a specialist team
As mentioned in a couple of the previous tips, a specialist team (such as ours here at Clovertec) will be able to offer you the right tools, expertise and support to ensure that your cloud servers are not only set up and monitored correctly, but are also highly secure and as robust against breaches as possible.
What’s more, should a breach occur, they will be able to manage this swiftly and with as little impact on the running of your business as possible.
Want additional support with your cloud security?
We are fortunate to be able to offer some of the best cloud security tools and solutions to our customers here at Clovertec – including our own private managed cloud service – and would be delighted to support your business in the same way!
For more information, contact our team today. Alternatively, we can run an audit of your current IT infrastructure and assess your cloud security as part of the process! Simply follow the link below to get book yours in: