The rapid acceleration in the adoption of cloud services, which was kickstarted by the 2020 pandemic, saw 61% of organizations move their workloads to the cloud.
Data protection decreases the risk of stored data, yet 83% of businesses do not encrypt what is stored on the cloud.
Before you can implement a sophisticated approach to cloud security and minimize your data’s risk factor, you need to understand the basics.
In this article, we will explore how cloud storage works across public, private, and hybrid clouds. We will also identify important cloud storage security tips as well as how solutions such as WinZip® Enterprise help protect files stored in the cloud.
What is cloud security?
Cloud security is the set of procedures and countermeasures taken to protect cloud storage from unauthorized parties. Data leaks and malicious parties seeking to steal data necessitate countermeasures to mitigate risk.
Think of it this way: An organization that uses on-premises IT infrastructure is responsible for securing the infrastructure and its associated data and applications. However, moving to cloud computing enables the company to allocate some IT security tasks with the cloud provider.
This is known as a shared responsibility model, and both the provider and user must work together to account for various aspects of cloud security. The data you store, how it is stored, who can access it, and the management of the cloud environment are all examples of your baseline security responsibilities.
Cloud vendors are responsible for using virtualization to aid in protecting users and data. Vendors can be expected to physically protect their hardware as well.
Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): In the IaaS model, the CSP provides the hardware for servers, networks, and storage, which the virtual machine uses to deliver the resources to the client. Sometimes, further services such as storage resiliency and monitoring are offered.
Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS): Using IaaS as a baseline, PaaS models go further and provide users with application development platforms hosted by the CSP. Users can expect built-in databases, operating systems (OSs), and middleware, which is the software that bridges the gaps between applications and the OS.
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): Building up from PaaS, SaaS platforms offer a complete application that can be accessed without downloading software. The CSP handles maintenance, updates, and software security.
Security is a joint effort between you and the CSP. Because your organization is only as secure as its weakest link, user error will often be the cause of security breaches. Therefore, it is wise to take precautions and create your own security measures.
How the types of cloud impact security
Where a cloud is hosted and to whom it is distributed is what categorizes it as either public or private cloud.
The primary types of clouds are:
Public clouds: An off-site third party sells multi-tenant cloud services. Advantages include scalability, flexibility, and higher-quality infrastructure. Potential drawbacks include paying for resources caused by unoptimized data storage, increased IT skill requirements, and decreased security due to multiple tenancy caused by having many users on the same database separated only by virtualization.
Private clouds: Private clouds are typically utilized through on-premises architecture to host a single tenant environment. Private clouds may be utilized when public clouds offer insufficient data governance.
- A potential vulnerability is created by hosting your data center on-site in the form of your hardware being breached, stolen, or otherwise compromised. Additionally, IT administrators must be capable of building and maintaining the cloud environment. Notable benefits of private clouds are customization of software, hardware, etc., and single tenancy: an isolated network is more secure.
Hybrid clouds: Hybrid clouds have the benefits of both a public cloud and a private cloud in addition to enhanced flexibility. For example, as performance or computational needs fluctuate, the private cloud could be migrated to a public cloud until the need for additional resources subsides. However, because multiple clouds are in use, managing performance, security, and data can overburden IT administrators.
How secure cloud storage works
CSPs have many tools aimed at boosting security.
Standard practices include the following:
Constant surveillance of software vulnerabilities and data centers, including physical monitoring. While physical security watches for would-be intruders, cybersecurity teams react to virtual threats and lock down breaches. Software developers regularly patch known points of failure and are on the lookout for those yet undiscovered.
Regular backups of your data allow for restoration of deleted data, reduce the efficacy of ransomware, and are the best defense against catastrophic failure events.
The 3-2-1 rule suggests that you should have three copies of data stored on two forms of media with one being off-site. Public clouds typically have integrated backup services to maintain high availability, including backups on off-site data centers. Private cloud providers will have to create dedicated infrastructure for a data center or use a third-party service to back up their data.
Cloud services are responsible for data transmitted between their services and typically utilize end-to-end encryption to provide basic protections. Because of the shared responsibility model, however, organizations should add encryption to their security procedures to ensure data is protected in-transit, in-use, and at-rest..
User tools boost the client’s ability to secure how the cloud is accessed. Multi-factor authentication and geo-fencing better control who has permission to use the cloud. Data filtering and user audit logs enhance IT administrators’ abilities to monitor cloud activity.
Despite security measures offered by CSPs, users must take responsibility for their own security.
It is estimated that 99% of breaches will be caused by user error. For example, the use of software, applications, and information without the approval of the IT department, also called shadow IT, led to 42% of organizations being compromised during the pandemic.
Simultaneously, 25% of security teams had decreased resources to manage these attacks. The unfortunate result is that 76% of security leaders see breaches as an inevitability.
What can you do to mitigate breaches? Here are our top five security tips to keep your data safe.
Five ways to enhance your cloud storage security
While many safety features are built into cloud storage services, organizations are responsible for security for what is under their direct control. Namely, data, applications, and access controls. Follow this advice to stay ahead of would-be hackers:
Identify and reinforce weak spots in the cloud infrastructure. User error such as misconfigurations create unauthorized access points, and the use of a vulnerable application programming interface (API) could enable successful disk operating system (DoS) or code injection. These vulnerabilities can be identified through penetration testing which pits hacking tools and techniques against your cloud security.
Have and enforce a cloud security policy for how to use the cloud safely. This policy will determine what can be uploaded to the cloud, who has permission to make significant decisions, and responses to various threats or data breaches. Having a standardized response enables quick reactions in time sensitive situations.
Use multi-factor authentication (MFA) to add extra layers of safety to user accounts by increasing the required factors to gain access. Commonly used factors include unique knowledge, possession, or inherence. A password, mobile authenticator on your phone, and fingerprint scan are respectively examples of the aforementioned factors.
Transmit only encrypted data to and from the cloud. Unencrypted data has no protection against interception, so it is good practice to encrypt data at-rest, in-use, and in-motion.
Maintain up-to-date backups of your data using the 3-2-1 strategy to ensure recovery in the case of ransomware and equipment failure. Having backups that are not isolated from the hardware or network reduces efficacy.
How WinZip Enterprise protects your files
Enabling your teams to collaborate, protecting sensitive data, and enforcing security protocols are all part of the WinZip Enterprise solution for cloud security needs.
WinZip Enterprise integrates with cloud storage services such as Google Drive, Microsoft 365, and Amazon S3 to keep your data secure.
With file-level encryption, in-transit and at-rest files on a stolen work device are secure.
FIPS 140-2 compliant AES encryption makes WinZip Enterprise a bank and military-grade bastion of file defense. AES encryption can be used with 128-, 192-, or 256-bit keys to ensure your data protection is customized to your needs.
Automated secure file backup uses automatic endpoint backups to enable the restoration of files which might otherwise be lost. Meanwhile, data compression minimizes granular, pay-as-you-go public cloud storage costs.
Secure enterprise file transfer upholds file integrity through encryption, which prevents data loss caused by tampering from cyberattacks.