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Navigating Cloud Security Assessment: Ensuring Robust Protection for Business Data and Operation

As cloud computing becomes more prevalent in the digital world, new applications emerge. 

However, early adopters usually face threats that haven’t been observed before. This is why it’s important to conduct security audits and perform thorough research before adopting them.

When talking about the cloud, a security assessment is an essential part of ensuring good protection for the applications or platforms that one is hosting. 

Cloud security assessment explained

As the name of this cybersecurity method suggests, cloud security assessment is the process of assessing various parts, virtual and physical, of the cloud.

The intention is to increase cloud security in the long run.

Assessing cloud security requires setting a theoretical foundation and a plan before you start the assessment process. That way, you can guarantee you’ll waste no time or resources.

The assessment is part of a wider mission of ensuring robust protection for the cloud. A couple of essential methods ensure effective assessment. These include:

  • Identifying assets
  • Scanning for vulnerabilities
  • Reviewing policies and configuration

Of course, the benefit of cloud security assessments is that vulnerabilities and flaws are fixed before a cyber attack happens. The costs of data breaches and other cyber threats can lead to fines, impact your reputation, and even cause bankruptcy. 

So, proactively investing in cybersecurity and implementing security assessments can significantly protect your business from monetary and reputational harm. 

Even though ?taking care of cloud security isn’t free, it’s definitely not as costly as the potential fines and profit losses you can experience if your company gets hacked.

Process of Cloud Assessment

Assessing the security of the cloud requires time and a carefully thought-out process. 

While there are a couple of different explanations and breakdowns of this process, we’ll review some common, general steps to follow to help you build your own tailored ?process. 

1. Define the scope and your objectives

Before you go and start making specific adjustments or analyses on the cloud system, you should define your objectives. 

With a firm understanding of what you’re going to assess and why, the process will be much easier. Furthermore, you won’t lose time on unnecessary aspects or departments.

This part can also include gathering information on what type of tools and resources you’re going to need. 

For instance, you might need more personnel. Starting the assessment and realizing that you don’t have anyone trained well enough can lead to setbacks, losses, and smaller progress. 

On the other hand, if you hire a company or an agency before you start the process, it’ll likely be much smoother. 

2. Review your infrastructure

In the context of cloud security, infrastructure includes components such as servers, networks, storage, and other components that are part of the cloud. 

We can also include security control points such as firewalls, intrusion detection/prevention systems (IDPS), and secure protocols. Another option is to set up a company wide network, only accessible via secure VPN connection. Make sure you’re choosing a reliable VPN provider to secure your company network.

Why? This part is important for understanding your attack surface and where potential weak points can be located.

The complexity of the cloud infrastructure will directly impact your ability to conduct the review effectively. 

However, it’s important to know not only what devices are part of the network but also how they’re configured. Cloud misconfigurations can create many vulnerabilities that could be exploited by bad actors.

3. Check existing policies

Assessing cloud security also involves reviewing all the paperwork involved in providing cloud services. One of the most important documents is Service Level Agreements (SLAs), which outline the level of service that the cloud provider is expected to deliver and the remedies or penalties if they fail to meet these commitments.

In addition to reviewing SLAs, security policies, and terms of service, it’s also important to verify the cloud provider’s compliance with relevant security standards and certifications that could apply to one company.

The most important standards include ISO/IEC 27001, ISO/IEC 27002 SOC 2, and PCI DSS. These certifications indicate that the cloud provider follows recognized best practices for security and compliance, and they serve as impeccable guidelines. 

4. Assess your access controls

Access management is an important part of security protocols. All companies should adhere to the “least privilege” rule. This means that no employee should have access levels higher than needed.

Access control is a great way to prevent unauthorized access, but implementing other measures, such as cybersecurity training, can also be beneficial.

For example, it’s clear that the addition of travel nurses brings great benefits to medical centers that are facing staff shortages and urgently require additional support. However, introducing new temporary staff who don’t know the protocols can also bring cybersecurity risks. 

Since these security protocols are so specific, designing onboarding programs that pay special attention to cybersecurity is extremely important. These programs should be specifically aimed at all personnel who won’t be permanent staff members. 

Topics such as two-factor authentication, strong password practices, and how to identify and avoid phishing attempts are essential within these programs. 

5. Evaluate current data security measures 

Data security measures need to be implemented to ensure compliance with data regulations such as GDPR, HIPAA and CCPA. 

Assessment of the cryptographic protocols used in encrypting data and risk management measures in cases of data loss are essential to ensure robust cloud security.

6. Assess the physical security of the cloud

When talking about physical intrusions into a certain company, people imagine this as a stereotypical hacker movie. Of course, no one is going to slide through your ventilation, hack the system, and steal the data.

However, poor physical security can indeed lead to similar problems. For example, individuals who are in charge of cleaning can access rooms where they aren’t allowed to, damaging the servers.

In a case such as a break-in without an alarm system, malicious individuals can either damage your infrastructure or steal valuable items such as computer components. 

Cloud security assessment is crucial for protecting your business operations

Prevention is better than putting out a cybersecurity fire in your cloud environment, and assessing cloud security is essential to stopping these critical risks.

Closing gaps (read: security vulnerabilities) in your network security is impossible unless you know where those security risks are. 

One of the best ways to locate them is to have periodic cloud security risk assessments conducted by your cloud service provider. Think of them as the industry standards for keeping your cloud assets safe.Take the necessary precautions today to prevent data breaches and keep your operations running like a well-oiled machine. You won’t regret investing in your security posture. And neither will your bottom line.

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