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Guide to Cloud Security Controls

As the majority of business operations and data are moving to cloud servers, it becomes imperative to secure cloud servers. The key difference between cloud security and traditional IT security is that the responsibility of securing the server is shared by the cloud service provider and the IT team of the business organization availing the services.

Before discussing cloud security controls, first, it is necessary to understand the importance of cloud security.

98% of business organizations have experienced cloud data breaches since 2020. Source: IDC

Two major factors cause cloud data breaches:

  • Misconfigured cloud security controls
  • Human error

What are Cloud Security Controls?

Cloud Security Controls refer to the set of security processes or measures implemented by an organization in tandem with the cloud service provider to secure the data stored on the cloud server. These security controls help protect the cloud environment against multiple vulnerabilities and mitigate the effects of cyber security attacks if any.

The term Cloud Security Controls includes best practices, procedures, and guidelines laid down for cloud security.

What are the Key Elements of Cloud Security Controls?

Cloud security controls should provide the following key capabilities:

  1. They should allow centralized visibility of the complete cloud infrastructure. Due to different access levels, different services or apps within a cloud server can have different configurations. This makes it difficult to keep track of all the configurations and best practices required for cloud security. Implementing tools such as Cloud Workload Protection Platform (CWPP) can help overcome this challenge by providing a centralized view of the cloud server configurations, reviewing configurations, and detecting security loopholes.
  2. Cloud security controls should be capable of using threat intelligence data to identify existing cyber threats from their attack patterns. This enables the cloud security controls to identify attacks at the nascent stage and respond automatically to mitigate the threat.
  3. Cloud security controls should be automated for better efficiency. Cloud servers have highly dynamic environments and cyber criminals also keep updating their attack mechanism regularly. Automated cloud security controls help in keeping track of the changes in the environment in real-time without intervention from the IT team. Automation allows cloud security controls to detect threats, respond autonomously, and update themselves to change security policies when a new service or configuration is added to the cloud server’s environment.
  4. To ensure maximum security, it is important to integrate cloud security controls with security features offered by the cloud service provider. Businesses using SaaS (Software as a Service) should implement cloud security controls to regulate user access. This helps in ensuring data or software is accessed by authenticated users only and identifying the security risks related to the data or application.

Different Types of Cloud Security Controls

Based on the nature of the operation, cloud security controls can be categorized into four types:

  • Deterrent Controls: These security controls do not perform any action to secure the cloud server environment but act by issuing a warning to potential threat actors. For example, conducting a background check on employees to intimidate them from launching an insider attack.
  • Preventive Controls: The purpose of these controls is to manage and protect vulnerabilities within the cloud server. Some examples are disabling inactive ports, authenticating cloud users, etc.
  • Detective Controls: These controls utilize detection and monitoring tools to detect approaching cyber-attacks and intrusions.
  • Corrective Controls: These controls are implemented to limit the damage caused by a cyber-attack.

Centex Technologies provide cybersecurity solutions to business. To know more about cloud security controls and how to protect your cloud applications, contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213 – 4740, Dallas (972) 375 – 9654, Atlanta (404) 994 – 5074, and Austin (512) 956 – 5454

Cybersecurity Leadership Principles For Secured Business Operations

Businesses becoming more reliant on the internet and digital platforms must examine cyber resilience from a business standpoint. The leadership must look at the cybersecurity posture of the various operational risks. They must also develop a flexible attitude in terms of how they would respond to and recover from a significant cyber incident. The ideas that follow help organizational leaders outline a plausible course of action balancing short-term goals along with the medium to long-term requirements.

Encourage a cyber-resilient organizational work culture

Businesses must establish plans to maintain durable and sustainable networks while also taking advantage of the benefits that digitalization may offer. Following important measures assist executives in instilling a cyber resilience culture throughout the organization and wider ecosystem: –

  1. Enforce the cyber-resilience governance in place
  2. Designing infrastructure for disaster flexibility
  3. Exceed the call of duty hours and deploy 24/7/365 security team
  4. Employee habits and behaviors that assists in being flexible and proactive in responding to cyber threat should be strengthened

Concentrate on safeguarding the most vital capabilities and services

The leaders are advised to identify the possible repercussions of a crisis on revenue, workers, customers, and the availability of key services. Business executives must have a holistic and systemic perspective of their critical services, applications, suppliers, and assets. The important steps listed below assist executives in maintaining their company’s cyber health and protecting critical capabilities and services: –

  1. It is necessary to ensure strict digital hygiene
  2. It is important to keep crucial assets safe, isolated, and air-gapped
  3. Keep a watch out for any strange activity around the most valuable assets
  4. Automating cybersecurity helps to reduce the fatigue of Security teams

Risk-informed decisions and judgments during and after the crisis

Enterprises should realize that their business risk posture has shifted dramatically and, following the crisis, has to be restored to an acceptable level. Leaders may balance risk-informed choices by taking following important steps: –

  1. Transition the switch to a zero-trust approach to supply chain security
  2. Define and utilize useful cyber-resilience measurements
  3. Concentrate on cyber-threats that are vital to operations

Revise and rehearse your response and continuity strategies

Veteran cyber-resilience leaders and CEOs use their previous crisis expertize to respond to cyber-attacks. The important steps listed below assist leaders in maintaining business continuity through the volatile and dynamically changing period: –

  1. Develop a thorough crisis management strategy
  2. Keep the reaction and resilience plans up to date and revamp them as required
  3. Get ready to adopt the changes

Collaboration throughout the cyber security ecosystem should be strengthened

Leaders in the public and private sectors must encourage collaboration and actively participate in projects to ensure that steps are made to protect the broader ecosystem from existing and potential cyber threats. Furthermore, businesses must set clear expectations with suppliers about their cybersecurity controls in order to encourage regulatory alignment in terms of 3rd party assurance. They should also advance a variety of community initiatives to raise cybersecurity risk awareness throughout the supply chain. Following important measures assist leaders in building a collaborative culture inside the organization and across the ecosystem: –

  1. Boost overall situational awareness
  2. Motivate people to work together
  3. Take a holistic strategy to manage cyber risks

Business leaders may better satisfy their duties to sustain their organization’s security posture and ensure business continuity if they follow the guidelines set up in cyber-security plan. Businesses can create smarter, quicker, and more connected futures with strong cyber-risk management and cyber-resilience strategies, promoting corporate development and efficiency.

Centex Technologies helps business leaders understand and implement necessary cybersecurity principles. To know more about cybersecurity, contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213 – 4740.

Cybersecurity Compliance: What Is It & How To Implement It?

PDF Version: Cybersecurity-Compliance-What-Is-It-and-How-To-Implement-It

How Artificial Intelligence Is Revolutionizing Cybersecurity

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Cognitive Computing (CC) have opened a new era of cybersecurity.The following are a few examples of how AI can be used to improve and enhance cybersecurity: –

  1. Defending against ransomware – With the introduction of RaaS (Ransomware as a Service), criminals no longer need technical competence to launch an attack. AI-based cybersecurity technologies can regulate attack surfaces and identify/mitigate supported forms of cyber attacks in a large company.
  2. Optimizing cybersecurity in S-SDLC with AI enhancement – If your organization develops software, whether it’s desktop software, mobile apps, online apps, or programs that run on IoT (Internet of Things) devices, you should include cybersecurity in your development process. Occasionally, the development agency lacks the resources to do extensive security testing. This is where AI-powered testing services come in useful. These code testing solutions can perform in-depth code analysis as well as advanced penetration testing.
  3. DGA-Generated domains detection using deep learning algorithms – Domain Generation Algorithms (DGAs) are computer programs that produce pseudo-random domain names (for example – sdlkfusdlfl.com). Malware that calls home (attempts to connect to an external network for command and control) uses pseudo-randomly generated domain names to remain anonymous. DGA algorithms can produce hundreds of thousands of domain names. Trying to ban them all is a pointless exercise because one will get through and connect eventually. In this scenario, AI-based deep learning is being utilized to detect rogue domains generated by a DGA. After viewing enough of these pseudo-random domains, the system is trained to detect them.
  4. Detection, prevention, and remediation of non-malware threats – CryptXXX, CTBLocker, and PowerWare. Web browsers, Microsoft Office applications, and operating system utilities such as PowerShell and Windows Management Instrumentation are frequently used in non-malware attacks. The majority of non-malware threats are recognized by observing computer activity after the incident. Working with a cybersecurity analyst to educate AI-based solutions as well as using neural networks and machine learning algorithms to observe typical behavior, will aid in the creation of improved detection methods.
  5. Stealth, adaptive, and evolutionary Honeypots and Honeytokens – Hackers are attracted to honeypots and honeytokens. Computers, passwords, and other fictitious information are set up on a network to start the process of gathering information about the attack and, eventually, the attacker. The advanced versions of adaptive honeypots and honeytokensare empowered with AI based systems that adapts its behavior in response to the assault, tempting the attacker into revealing as much information as possible. The adaptive honeypot responds by initiating protection in the same way as a protected computer would. When confronted with a new problem, the analyst can learn a lot about the attacker’s skill level and tools by seeing how they respond. As a result, an AI solution can learn and recognize the behavior in the future.

Machine learning and AI can definitely be used to keep updated with the attackers’ tactics in today’s constantly evolving cyber-attacks and proliferation era. Automating threat detection and response are now more effective with use of AI based cybersecurity tools.

Centex Technologies provide enterprise cybersecurity and network security solutions. To know more, contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213-4740, Dallas (972) 375-9654, Atlanta (404) 994-5074, and Austin (512) 956-5454.

What Is Email Masking?

Email masking is a method of changing email addresses to keep sensitive information from being abused. In most cases, a disguised email address retains its original format and cannot be traced back to its source. Email masking is often a part of a larger data masking process that hides sensitive data. The objective is to keep the true information hidden from prying eyes. Email masking can be used for a variety of purposes, such as:

  • To test software or shuffle real user data.
  • Ensure the security of any user data being shared with other parties.
  • Observe privacy regulations and safeguard data in accordance with the standards.
  • Entering masked email addresses on platforms you don’t trust.

In the end, it comes down to whether you want to disguise your personal email address or whether you have a database of user addresses that need to be hidden. Regardless of the reason, this includes the data you keep as well as any copies you make of it. And there are lots of good reasons to make new copies of your users’ information.

The two most frequent techniques of data masking are as follows:

  • Static email masking: Allows you to duplicate a database with data that is identical to the original one. The copied data is then transformed into a new set of data using SQL queries. The objective is to produce realistic records without exposing critical information, as it will be used mostly for testing and development.
  • Dynamic email masking: No copies are generated. Production data is protected with additional layers of security. The major purpose is to ensure role-based database security.

Even though you use the most advanced techniques for concealing genuine email addresses and spend hours modifying your data, something could go wrong at some point. You might miss some records in your database or submit the wrong contacts unintentionally. Some emails may be mishandled by the masking method, and inaccuracies may be difficult to detect in huge data sets. You can mask emails from within your email client if you don’t want to utilize any additional software.

Gmail: Gmail has two features that might be useful:

To begin, add words after the ‘+’ symbol to create aliases of your actual email account. The email address abcdefg@gmail.com, can have the following aliases:

abcdefg+breakingnews@gmail.com

abcdefg+important@gmail.com

You can also send emails from a different address using Gmail.

Outlook: Free aliases and a customizable “From” field are also available in Outlook. To make an alias, go to the Add an alias option and establish a new Outlook.com account. An existing email account can also be used as an alias. Send and receive emails to and from your personal Outlook account. You may send emails from this alias or the account you just added, just like you could with Gmail:

  • Open the Compose window, select “Send From” from the three dots.
  • Then, from the list, choose the required email address.
  • Open ‘Settings’ -> ‘View all Outlook settings’ to alter the default “From” address.
  • Choose ‘Sync email’ from the ‘Mail’ section of the ‘Options’ pane.
  • Finally, in the ‘Set default From address’ section, select the desired email.

You can unmask any email address you want at any time and resume sending from your original account.

Centex Technologies provide cybersecurity and web application services to clients. For more information on protecting your data, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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