3 Key Things You Need to Be Doing to Prevent a Cloud Data Breach

3 Key Things You Need to Be Doing to Prevent a Cloud Data Breach

More and more companies are harnessing the power of cloud storage and cloud software-as-a-service solutions. Today, research indicates that most SMBs run at least three-quarters of their workloads on the cloud – and that number is only set to increase.

However, as cloud usage has soared, cloud data breaches have too. IDC research found that almost four-fifths of organisations have experienced a cloud data breach in the last 18 months, and 43% have experienced more than ten of the such violations. 

What causes cloud data breaches? 

No one factor causes a cloud data breach – and it’s not always hackers either. The cloud works on a shared responsibility model. While cloud providers have to make sure the underlying cloud infrastructure is secure, it’s up to the customers using their services to make sure they are correctly configured. However, many SMBs don’t realise that they have these responsibilities. 

In line with this, common causes of cloud data breaches include: 

  • A cloud misconfiguration that leaves your data public on the Internet
  • A cybercriminal stealing one of your employee’s cloud credentials 
  • A device being infected with malware, enabling a hacker to spy on your employees 
  • Not patching your cloud applications, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation 

How to secure your cloud environment 

You don’t need to be a sitting duck when it comes to a cloud security incident. With a few simple steps, you can dramatically reduce the chances of a cloud data breach occurring. Here’s how: 

1. Get a handle on cloud misconfigurations

A cloud misconfiguration happens when you unintentionally leave your permissions in a cloud environment set to ‘public’. This is very easy to do for a couple of different reasons. Sometimes, cloud controls are tricky to navigate, meaning you need technical knowledge to ensure that only the right people have access to your data. 

Secondly, as humans, we all make errors at some point. Who hasn’t sent an email to the wrong person or forgotten to configure a Google Sheet to private? While these mistakes are easy to make, they can have enormous consequences. 

One of the best ways for SMBs to tackle cloud misconfigurations is to hand over the management of their cloud services to a managed IT services provider, who will take responsibility for ensuring that all cloud services are securely configured.

2. Avoid password compromise 

61% of data breaches in 2021 involved compromised credentials. These attacks occur when a cybercriminal manages to obtain employee account details, like an email address and password. Credentials compromise is really common today. 

Every day there’s another data breach in the news, and significant incidents like Equifax and Yahoo mean that the details of millions of people are now up for grabs on the dark web. 

If your employees are sloppy about using unique passwords for each account, credentials compromise is more likely.

The good news is that this threat is easy to combat. Firstly, we advise you to implement multi-factor authentication on your cloud accounts. Most cloud providers offer this for free, and it’s an easy way to bolster security. MFA works by requiring your employees to verify they are who they say are when they log in with their password. Typically, they will either have to enter an email or phone code that is shared with them. 

As well as using MFA, it would be best if you also put strict password policies in place. Where possible, put in place tools that make your employees change their passwords every six weeks and make sure you communicate the importance of using a unique password for every account. If you’re worried about your employees remembering loads of different passwords, then invest in a password manager. 

3. Consider cloud data loss prevention 

If you work in a highly regulated industry, or handle personal information about your customers, you may want to consider a cloud DLP solution. 

DLP works by monitoring your cloud applications for sensitive data. Through predefined policies, it ensures that your sensitive data is only viewed and edited by the people it should be. While DLP is an investment, it can help you feel much more confident about cloud security.

Implementing DLP takes expertise. Because it’s an investment, you want to ensure that you’ve implemented it correctly. Chat with us if you’d like to learn more about DLP and whether it’s right for your business. We can talk you through your options. 

Schedule a Security Review Today!

Don’t be in the dark about your cyber security defences. GKM2 can assist your Sydney area business by reviewing your IT security strategy and letting you know of any weaknesses that could leave your company at risk.

Contact us today to learn more. Call +61 2 9161 7171 or reach out online.