Posts Tagged Cloud Security

The Risks Of Cloud-Hosted Data

With the increasing need of improving efficiency and reducing latency, most organizations are opting for cloud-based services. However, there are some risks associated with using third party cloud hosting services. These risks may have an impact on various aspects of business which could have financial, legal and technical implications.

Some of the common risks associated with cloud-hosted data are:

  • Consumer Visibility & Control: As the operations of an organization are transitioned to the cloud, it results in shifting of some responsibilities to CSP (Content Security Policy), which may lead to organization losing visibility or control over certain operations and assets. For example, network based monitoring and logging, limits an organization from accessing the details about its own application or data which should otherwise be easily accessible to the IT department. Thus, it is important to thoroughly ask the cloud service provider about various cloud hosting models and the level of control available before transitioning the operations.
  • Unauthorized Use: In order to inculcate user-friendly approach, some cloud hosting service providers may allow self-service to the users. This gives end users the authority to add more services without seeking necessary permission from the IT department of the organization. The lack of extra security increases the chances of addition of malicious links or code in the application and use of unsupported software, which can lead to enormous security breaches. This makes it important to understand access levels and service specifications provided by cloud hosting company.
  • Cloud Data May Be Compromised: Most of the business applications use APIs (Application Programming Interface) to manage and interact with the cloud services. If there are any vulnerabilities in API security, hackers may access and attack cloud resources and data of an organization. Compromised organization assets can be further used to perpetrate attack against other linked customers.
  • Exploitation Of Software Vulnerabilities: A shared cloud hosting service is simultaneously used by different organizations. Thus, it is important for the service provider to maintain clear separation between the resources of different cloud hosting users. If the infrastructure fails to maintain this separation, it leads to the risk of cloud data leakage. This loophole provides the hackers a chance to access the cloud resources and assets of an organization to launch a successful data breach.
  • Stolen Credentials: If organization’s credentials are compromised, hackers can easily take over the entire application which could result in Identity Theft attacks, deleted information, defamation of application interface, etc.

The risks associated with cloud-hosted data may lead to financial losses. Also, the cyber-attacks resulting from these risks mark a blow to the reputation of an organization. Thus, it is important to choose a cloud-hosting model and service provider after thorough diligence.

For more information on managing the risks of cloud-hosted data, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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Reasons To Integrate DLP With Cloud Access Security Broker

Cloud based services play an important role in providing greater flexibility and access to core business applications. However, a major drawback of cloud computing is that the information stored and shared through these systems is highly vulnerable.  To tackle this vulnerability, cloud access security broker (CASB) solutions are being adopted by organizations for protecting data stored in both sanctioned and unsanctioned cloud applications. CASB can be installed on-premises or a cloud-based version of the software can be used as a security layer between the cloud application and service users to monitor the activity & enforce security measures. Another set of tools that is widely used by organizations to prevent data loss is DLP. Data Loss Prevention (DLP) tools classify the regular and critical data & identify security violations.

Cybersecurity firms are integrating CASB and DLP solutions to monitor & control sensitive data. This integration acts as a control point between users, accessible cloud services and the data stored in the cloud. Integrating DLP with Cloud Access Security Broker offers advantages like real time data protection and access management.

Following are other reasons to be considered for integrating DLP with CASB:

  • A rising number of businesses are falling victim to cyber-attacks and data breaches. Cyber criminals are targeting enterprises with malware attacks designed specifically for cloud platforms. They take advantage of loopholes like poor configurations, unauthorized devices and ill-defined access management because IT departments are not able to provide DLP coverage to these blindspots of cloud storage. However, integrating DLP with CASB solutions will help in providing comprehensive DLP coverage to protect sensitive data stored in the cloud.
  • >With the changing cyberattack scenario, it is essential to continually evolve industry’s response to these attacks. Standard network to endpoint workflow should no longer be assumed enough for protection against new and sophisticated malware attacks. Both DLP and CASB may have overlapping features but they fall short on cloud coverage and comprehensive coverage respectively. Thus, it is impossible to get complete cyber security coverage with just one solution. Integrating both solutions provides enhanced coverage to the cloud service users.
  • Integrating DLP and CASB is simple and easy. To integrate with a DLP solution, CASB uses ICAP protocol that sends the content to DLP for review. The DLP inspects files against its existing policies. Once a violation is identified, it sends the violation to the CASB cloud platform via the connector software. The CASB cloud platform enforces remediation action with the cloud service via API.

Most organizations are integrating DLP with CASB as a security standard to protect their data from impending threats.

For more information about IT and security risks, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213-4740.

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Public Cloud Security

Public cloud is a computing service offered by a third party provider to users. It can be used by anyone who wants to use or purchase the cloud service. Not only does public cloud systems help in saving purchasing costs, but also reduces management & maintenance expenses for hardware & software infrastructure. A distinctive feature of using public cloud service is that many personnel can simultaneously use an application from their respective devices. Although public cloud offers infinite scalability and can be deployed faster, it is advised to take appropriate measures to prevent any security lapse. Below we have discussed certain points that can help in strengthening public cloud security for an enterprise.

  • Select The Right Apps For Public Cloud: Businesses use public cloud for all applications. However, it is advisable to diligently scrutinize & avoid using public cloud for mission-critical apps and data.
  • Add Security Layers: Since numerous users can access the content from the cloud, so it is essential to protect it. If you fail to secure the apps & data, it gives attackers an open window to attack and get access to restricted data. So, it is always advisable to encrypt the data and keep it protected. You must also add additional authentication layers like passwords & user credentials.
  • Access Control: Most organizations are opting for cloud technology as it allows employees to gain an access to data from any geographical location with the help of an active internet connection. However, with the increasing BYOD culture, the risk of data intrusion has also ascended. In a report by Forrester, 80% of security breaches involved privileged credentials. In order to avoid such scenario, it is important to have due control over data access. Make sure that you give password access to trusted employees only and minimize user account privileges. Also, access to any sensitive data stored on cloud should be limited to employees having entitled authority to utilize such data.
  • Backup Data: Data stored on public cloud is prone to numerous risks. The best way to avoid any risk is to take regular cloud backups. Having additional copies of data helps in preventing any kind of business loss & minimize business interruption.
  • Use Third Party Auditing Services: Organizations should opt for third party auditing services for enhanced security. Businesses can move the applications to public cloud followed by an audit to ensure that the security protocols match the standards promised by cloud service provider. This increases their feasibility and also enables them to move confidential information to the cloud.
  • Train Your Staff: Hacking attacks are increasing day by day. To prevent such attacks, it is advisable to train your employees about the working of public cloud. This enhances the security and reduces the chances of data loss.

For more information about Cloud Security, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213-4740.

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Host-Based Vs. Network-Based Firewalls For Cloud Security

18th July, 2017

If you are planning to move your company’s data to the cloud, it is important that you take the necessary steps to safeguard it against viruses and malicious attacks. No matter you own a small start-up business or a well-established organization, hackers are always on the lookout for unprotected confidential information that can be exploited for malicious purposes.

It is recommended to use a firewall solution to stay protected against any online attack or malware infection. The firewall will record the incoming requests, inspect data packets and block any unauthorized or unusual traffic to the network. There are different firewall options available depending upon the level of control required and where you want to deploy it. The two main types of firewall are – host based and network based.

Given below is a complete comparison of both the options so that you can choose the right one for your cloud data.

Host Based Firewall

A host based firewall is installed on every virtual machine that is connected to the cloud. It helps to monitor all the incoming and outgoing traffic to determine if it is safe to be directed to the device. Host based firewall offers the following advantages:

  • More Flexibility: Virtual machines and applications can be easily moved between the cloud environments without the need to change the firewall’s security policy.
  • Better Features: Host based firewall also supports anti-virus and data loss prevention to provide complete protection to the virtual machine.
    Customization: The firewall settings of each device can be individually configured according to the level of security required.

Network Based Firewall

Network based firewall refers to a solution that is embedded into the cloud infrastructure. It is a good option to be deployed in a larger network. It offers a slightly stronger defense as compared to host based firewalls. Some of the advantages of using network based firewall are:

  • Greater Security: This type of firewall solution is quite difficult to circumvent. In a host based firewall, the hacker can directly access the virtual machine and easily gain administrative privileges. However, in a network based firewall, unauthorized access is likely to be detected right at the network level.
  • Scalability: These firewalls can easily be scaled up if the client requires additional bandwidth.
    Affordability: Network based firewalls prove to be cost-effective in the long run as they do not require a dedicated IT team to monitor regular maintenance and updates on every server.

For more tips on choosing the right firewall solution for cloud data, you can contact Centex Technologies at (855) 375 – 9654.

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Why Zero Knowledge Encryption Offers Best Cloud Security

17th April, 2017

Cloud computing has provided a convenient way to store, access and share data over the internet. However, password leaks and security breaches in the recent years have led to many apprehensions about the use of cloud services. The lack of compliance standards and stringent security policies in the cloud make your data vulnerable to many online attacks.

What Is Zero Knowledge Encryption?

Zero knowledge encryption is one of the most secure ways to protect your information stored in the public cloud. It offers complete data privacy, ensuring that no one can access your files, not even the cloud service provider. It also known as personal encryption or private key encryption.

How Does It Work?

When you upload any data to the cloud, it is encrypted on the client side. The key to decrypt the data can be accessed by the authorized user. Even the company providing the cloud services cannot access the data because the information gets encrypted before it reaches their servers. The decryption key is stored in the cloud server in a hashed format which is known only to the user.

The reliability of zero knowledge encryption is assessed on the basis of 3 principles:

  • Completeness – Assuring that the cloud service provider is properly following the security protocols.
  • Soundness – Double checking that the account can be accessed only by entering the right password.
  • Zero Knowledge – Verifying that the decryption key is known only to the user.

Advantages Of Zero Knowledge Encryption

  • It offers the highest possible control over your data stored in the cloud.
  • Zero knowledge encryption allows you to use the popular, convenient and user-friendly cloud services in the most secure way.
  • It minimizes the likelihood of a data breach as all the information is stored in an encrypted format. Even if the cloud server gets compromised, your data will still be safe because only you have the decryption key.

Limitations Of Zero Knowledge Encryption

  • In case the user forgets his account password or decryption key, there is no way to retrieve the files stored in the cloud.
  • The privacy of data becomes your responsibility. You will be held liable for any loopholes in its security or unauthorized attempts made to access the files.

For more information on zero knowledge encryption and cloud security, feel free to contact Centex Technologies. We can be reached at (855) 375 – 9654.

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