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3 Key Considerations for Cyber Security in the Age of Cloud

The past two years have seen a drastic shift in the way we work, with many organizations having to quickly make the move from an office-based environment to a hybrid work environment. Now, with hybrid ways of working becoming standard, leaders are focusing on digitally transforming their businesses to adapt to and compete in the new normal. Yet in the rush to adjust, they can forget a foundational and business-critical issue – cyber security.

With work models changing and the rate of digital and cloud transformation increasing, it has become a logistical headache for many organizations to keep up with the various networks and devices employees use to log in to work systems and platforms. This elevated level of activity can exponentially increase the possibility of a security breach. The more networks and devices that are not properly monitored, the more cybercriminals find new opportunities to exploit organizations of all sizes.

To help mitigate the risks of a cyberattack after transitioning to the cloud, organizations must examine their on-premises security programs and ensure security in the cloud matches or is an extension of what they have on-prem. Companies seeking to implement a successful security plan in the age of cloud should start by considering these three areas:

1. Prioritize security

Considering the potentially crippling impacts of cybercrime today, security should absolutely be prioritized under all circumstances. Organizations should start by making sure they are compliant with the required government regulations for their industry, such as PCI or HIPAA for financial or healthcare providers. These frameworks are put in place to keep sensitive data safe, and as such, should be leveraged and extended from on-prem security programs into the public cloud so information is kept safe across technology and the organization. Thinking through security aspects in the initial planning stages of an application is also essential when considering security for your cloud environment. Incorporating tools like Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is a great way to ensure that only those individuals who should be using the application gets access.

2. Don’t assume

Some business leaders assume that by moving to the cloud, especially the public cloud, the security features offered will immediately tie into their business needs and provide them with the level of protection required and that isn’t always the case. Organizations should make sure they know what security controls they do have within the cloud environment and understand that they may need to augment with solutions provided by leading software vendors in the security market. There is a likelihood that organizations will need to make additional investments to strengthen their cloud security posture. Collaborating with a knowledgeable partner can help organizations avoid common security mistakes when operating in the cloud and provide the guidance they need to think through the strategic aspects of planning and implementing a robust cyber security plan that covers all aspects of their IT operations.

3. Measure the effectiveness of your cloud security posture

By putting regular checks in place, organizations will be better set up for security success. A consistent cadence of assessments, including vulnerability scans and penetration testing, can provide an understanding of what gaps may exist in a security program at any given time and what may be required to strategically address those areas of risk. There are several ways that an organization can evaluate its security posture. At ConvergeOne, our first step is to conduct a gap assessment or a cyber security maturity assessment. Once critical gaps and areas for improvement are identified, we conduct a cloud security assessment to understand what controls the organization is consuming from a cloud perspective. The final step is to make recommendations on issues that stand out from the assessment reports and represent weak links in the security chain.

As the number of cyberattacks continues to increase year over year and as cybercriminals continue to grow more sophisticated in their efforts, it’s not enough to simply implement security protocols. Organizations also need to remain flexible and agile in their approach to security. The cyberattacks of today could be drastically different from the cyberattacks of tomorrow and the only way to stay ahead of this criminal activity is by staying up to date on security protocols and pivoting as necessary. Additionally, by employing a prevent, detect, and recover approach to security planning with multiple layers of protection, organizations can stop would-be attackers in their tracks and keep their information safe regardless of the network or device their employees use to access the cloud.

This article originally appeared in Security Magazine.

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About the author:
Chris Ripkey is the Senior Director of Cyber Security at C1. He has 20+ years of experience in Cisco and Microsoft Technologies. He currently has an MCSE, MCSA and CCNA. His strengths include Cisco Voice over IP, Cisco IP IVR, Cisco Call Manager, Cisco Switches, Routers, Firewalls and MPLS Networks. He also has extensive knowledge of BGP and OSPF Routing Protocols. Previously, he has held roles as a Senior Network Engineer for Penton Media and a Senior Network Specialist for Community America Credit Union.