Factors To Consider For The Security Of Cloud Infrastructure

The increase of unauthorized exploitation of systems, networks, and technologies in the recent years along with the accelerated rate of cloud migration in the post-pandemic world has led to a surge in demand for Cyber Security.

Firewalls and antivirus software do not suffice as the sole security measure any longer. Cyber-attacks and the unauthorized exploitation of systems, networks, and technologies are increasing at an alarming rate. The world is now increasingly reliant on technology, leading to the need and popularity of cybersecurity, which is the application of technologies, processes, and controls to protect systems, networks, programs, devices, and data from cyber-attacks.

Cybersecurity is important because, without a cybersecurity program, your organization cannot defend itself against data breach campaigns, making it an irresistible target for cybercriminals. It protects all categories of data from theft and damage including sensitive data, personally identifiable information (PII), protected health information (PHI), personal information, intellectual property, data, and governmental and industry information systems. 

“Migration to the cloud has accelerated in a post-pandemic world due to secure remote access promised by the cloud. However, most shared security responsibility models require data and access to be in the hands of customers” says  Srivatsa Subbanna, Vice President - DataTech, Maveric Systems.  

Due to the ever-growing number of hackers and infiltrators, certain factors can lead to the compromise of the security of the data like: 

  1. Security Gaps: The gaps in cybersecurity are caused by the lack of monitoring, third party/vendor risks, incident handling, and unpreparedness being the most common reasons. Organizations must test their defenses before a breach occurs, and be ready to respond when required. Modern organizations facing the pandemic have employees working on the go, or out of the office which means that the form of cybersecurity implemented in the organization must be extended beyond the perimeters of the office and mobile devices and laptops must be secured and employees have to be made aware of the risks and response plans.  

In an exclusion conversation with BW CIO, Srivatsa Subbanna contended that infrastructure covers all the software and hardware infrastructure that an organization is looking to move to the cloud. Improper access due to poorly designed security groups, lack of standardized and audited protocol configurations, poorly configured firewalls can lead to security gaps.


  1. Compromise of Data in Motion: Data in movement beyond the firewall introduces a whole new set of elements into the equation that can be difficult, if not impossible, to control. When transferring information, business, or personal material, users must consider the potential pitfalls of the channel they are employing. Simply emailing data files or using free services such as Dropbox can have serious implications long after the information has been transferred. For individuals, simply employing encryption software can eliminate many common security vulnerabilities because even if your data is compromised, it is still protected. 

Data movement can be of multiple types i.e., between on-prem and cloud, between cloud and external parties, between multiple cloud service providers (in case of a multi-cloud setup). Incorrect configurations, expired certificates etc. could lead to a data breach.


  1. Improper Identity Validation and Authorization: Over the past decade, there have been more than 2,550 healthcare data breaches impacting more than 175 million medical records, according to the HIPAA Journal. That’s the equivalent of affecting more than 50% of the U.S. population. 

User groups, individual user accounts, and individuals who have access to the cloud infrastructure should be identified and verified correctly. User access should be periodically audited, and regular housekeeping should be performed to ensure that only those who need access to cloud infrastructure have it. If access is not on a need-basis, this could result in the wrong set of users having access to cloud infrastructure.

  1. Improper Intrusion Detection: The first is a reactive measure that identifies and mitigates ongoing attacks using an intrusion detection system. It’s able to weed out existing malware (e.g., Trojans, backdoors, rootkits) and detect social engineering (e.g., a man in the middle, phishing) assaults that manipulate users into revealing sensitive information.

Database operations when moved from on-premises to the cloud require a thorough security audit of various operations before the data can be moved to the cloud. It is imperative to have strong data governance, secure movement of data through VPN, encryption, etc. as the data is moved to the cloud. Post movement to the cloud, one must ensure that hardening, encryption, and strong data governance processes are in place.

  1. Insecure Migration of Data and Data Protection at Rest: It aims to secure inactive data stored on any device or network as attackers often find data at rest a more valuable target than data in motion. Visibility in the public cloud is among the top risks in cloud migration as it affects network and application performance.  

Further, Mr. Subanna remarked, “When the cloud infrastructure is fully functional, there is a risk that intruders look for gaps in security and incorrect configuration to break into the system to steal data. White hats may be engaged to simulate attacks and address any security issues. Intruder detection software logs and notifications should be checked on a near real-time basis to plug leaks. In addition, care should be taken that shadow IT groups are not allowed to install applications on the cloud unless they follow enterprise-level guidelines.”

This reliance will continue as we introduce the next generation of smart Internet-enabled devices with access to our networks via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Business data is more vulnerable than ever before and cybersecurity is necessary to efficiently operate a business but it’s also critical for protecting customers’ information. A layered model which begins with the internet and ends with your employees is the best way ahead.

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