8 Actionable Steps to Fight Cloud Security Threats SMB's Face
Small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) often face the same amount of security threats that large corporations do. However, the resources at their disposal are considerably limited. This is partly why 63% of SMBs believe that cloud platforms should do more to protect their data on cloud servers, according to a report by IS Decisions.
The same report describes how 90% of the surveyed SMBs stated that cloud services have helped them measurably improve their productivity. But there is obvious skepticism and for a good reason. Another report by Sophos found that 70% of the organizations that hosted workload or data on public cloud servers in 2019 underwent a security breach.
Cloud Security in SMBs
SMBs usually outsource their IT requirements due to limited budgets and manpower. Consequently, their employees are the ones who hold a considerable amount of authority and responsibility in IT matters. While these employees are not IT experts, they still handle a lot of sensitive data and passwords.
The IS Decision report mentions that only about half of the SMBs monitor unauthorized cloud usage by employees. This means that in the other half of the SMBs, employees who are unaware of security risks are handed sensitive data without any supervision.
The cost of security incidents like data breaches and leaks can be monumental for SMBs. Therefore, it is important to proactively take steps to fight security threats.
Steps to Fight Cloud Security Threats
Focus on Visibility
One of the biggest problems faced by SMBs is Shadow IT. With the constant usage of cloud apps for all kinds of tasks, tracking all the files and apps becomes impossible for the IT team. If a single sensitive file goes to an unsecured device, anyone can gain access to it. Shadow IT is essentially the lack of this visibility.
Improving visibility is not a single task but a shift in the security process wherein cloud security is prioritized. Enhanced visibility allows you to monitor activity and detect patterns in real-time. Visibility also helps detect compromised accounts and respond to security threats in time.
Rethink Your Security Architecture
One of the major causes of cloud security threats in SMBs is the lack of proper architecture. While cloud enhances productivity and speed, it also exposes the organization to security threats. Therefore, having a security architecture and strategy before moving to cloud servers is very important.
Your cloud service provider could also make a big difference in your security architecture. For example, this case study shows how Blazecan, a cloud technology partner, helped an insurance organization achieve 100% security compliance. They did so by helping them migrate to the AWS cloud, thereby improving their security architecture.
Make sure that your architecture is aligned with your business goals. It will help you maintain the architecture better in the long run.
Have a Plan for Data Breaches
A data breach is the top cloud security threat reported across surveys for the past few years. The reason for that being the cost of a single breach. Data breaches can cause legal liabilities, financial implications, market value fluctuations, and regulatory issues all at once. Therefore, being prepared for a data breach is always smart.
Have a detailed plan for data security, which includes the steps to be taken in case of a breach. Define data value and outline an incident response plan. Establish documented policies for data storage, removal, and disposal. Routinely perform integrity routines and ensure that data access is secure and privileged.
Train Your Employees on Cloud Security
As we discussed earlier, SMB employees are the ones who interact with sensitive data the most. No amount of security measures will be of use if your employees are not well equipped to identify and respond to security risks.
Conduct regular training and awareness sessions for your employees on cloud security and threats. Ensure that anyone with access to sensitive data is thoroughly familiar with best security practices and that everyone in the organization understands the importance of cloud security.
Practice Strict IAM Controls
Identity and Access Management (IAM) issues are the common links between most cybersecurity threats. These can stem from various factors such as inefficient credential protection, unsecured passwords, or IAM scalability challenges.
In order to avoid most cybersecurity threats, practicing strict IAM controls is extremely important. This includes implementing an SSO (single sign-on), mandating two-factor authentication, rotating keys, and managing credentials.
Discuss and Monitor Employee Cloud Usage
While being a part of improving visibility, proper communication over cloud usage is extremely important. Inform everyone at your organization which apps or SaaS products are approved for use and which practices are to be avoided.
This also involves password security. 90% of the passwords on the internet can be easily cracked. This means that if your employees are authorized to create passwords, they are at risk. Discuss safe password practices and credential protection.
Ensure Data Backup
As more and more businesses make a switch to clouds, permanent data loss is a rising threat. Data breaches, malware, or other security incidents can cause the loss of crucial data.
The best way to protect yourself from these threats is to have a backup on external servers offline. You can also leverage cloud data loss prevention technologies to prevent any security breaches from occurring.
Provide Efficient IT Support
Cloud security is crucial for the survival of any business. Therefore, human errors cannot be ignored. Employees tend to perform better when they have proper guidance, and a big part of that is robust IT support.
In the absence of IT support, employees are more likely to access unauthorized apps and services or be callous with their credentials. Moreover, efficient IT support can help detect threats in the early stages and mitigate loss as much as possible.
As SMBs deal with a lot of verticals with limited resources, stringent security measures are extremely important. It may seem like a lot of work, but the cost of prevention is much less than the cost of recovery. Once you start prioritizing cloud security, most other measures will be easy to implement. You just need to get the ball rolling.