Ensuring Cloud Security and Compliance for Your Business

June 2nd, 2022

Keeping data safe is (or should be!) a top concern for all businesses these days. On top of that, many industries have additional challenges with needing to maintain some sort of regulatory compliance. HIPAA, PCI, SOC2, NIST, and other similar regulations provide minimum requirements for security controls to ensure data confidentiality.

According to Enterprise Strategy Group, data backup and archiving is the biggest reason IT decision-makers utilize cloud infrastructure. This demands a high level of trust in cloud service providers to maintain security and compliance, and that’s especially true for businesses that have regulatory data retention requirements for their most sensitive data.

Is this trust misplaced?

No, but enterprise cloud security solutions are not a set-it-and-forget-it activity. This is an ongoing team effort.

Security and Compliance Are Not the Same Thing

One of the biggest traps businesses fall into with cloud computing is the assumption that if their compliance requirements are met, then the cloud provider is proven safe and secure.

What they don’t realize is that even if a cloud provider has a sparkling clean compliance audit history, security is a separate issue for which they must be equally vigilant.

With a massive rise in ransomware attacks, and new data breaches announced almost daily, compliance isn’t enough. Security needs to be at the top of your checklist when moving to the cloud.

Check the tech stack, check the support. Does your cloud service provider (CSP) offer deep security and threat monitoring? Can they work with your existing security solution(s)? Do they offer customization to fit your specific business needs?

RELATED: Why Customer Data Protection Should Be at the Top of Your Priority List

Enterprise Cloud Security Is a Shared Responsibility

Cloud storage of sensitive data can be an avenue for vulnerability. Most of us would love to simply hand data to our cloud service provider and say “Hey, keep this safe for me.” However, the truth is that many attack vectors used by malicious parties originate from inside the client’s organization.

A cloud service provider that focuses on enhanced security will save you from many data breaches, but you need to address your internal controls as well. Think of your CSP as a part of your security team, alongside good security hygiene within your business.

Ultimately, your organization bears the responsibility for the security and compliance in the event of a breach.

Human error, like falling prey to phishing attempts or sharing login credentials, is still a problem for many businesses. Robust security training for your entire team can save a lot of headaches. The endpoint controls are also important defenses against improper data access.

If the Cloud Is Secure, How Was Amazon Hacked in 2021?

While Amazon itself has previously seen customer data leaked intentionally by disgruntled employees, Amazon’s cloud service (AWS) saw several data breaches in 2021. So, is Amazon taking cloud security seriously?

For almost all of these AWS breaches, the responsibility lies with the businesses using AWS for data storage. These organizations’ improperly configured S3 buckets made easy targets for hackers digging around for confidential files. As these buckets tend to have predictable names, a brute force approach (manually guessing the bucket name) was a simple exploit for grabbing unsecured files. Take a look at some of the damage related to improperly configured buckets:

  • Three million users had sensitive, personally identifying information posted online, including drivers’ licenses, when FlexBooker’s S3 bucket was exploited.
  • Another three million senior citizens had their personal data exposed due to SeniorAdviser’s improperly configured bucket.
  • 80 municipalities had data, including sensitive resident data and city plans, exposed due to PeopleGIS’s bucket.
  • 50k customers of Premier Diagnostics, a Covid testing company, had their personal information exposed through an exploited S3 bucket

Data security and compliance protocols clearly need to be an ongoing and comprehensive team effort.

RELATED: Why Did My HIPAA-Compliant Cloud Solution Just Get Hacked?

Data Confidentiality With Virtual Systems

Cloud security and compliance are complicated, but the stakes are higher than ever for your company. This means you need an IT partner who has both expertise within cloud solutions that already have compliance in place and the ability to work with your team to ensure your data is secure.

At Virtual Systems, we have experience with the tightest compliance requirements, and end-to-end security to help harden your infrastructure against any threat.

Our compliance audit history speaks for itself, but we don’t stop there. We’re constantly on the lookout for industry best-practice advances, to create solutions as comprehensive or siloed as you need.

Whether you’re working to standards established by HIPAA, PCI, SOC2, ISO, NIST, or more, our team can find a customized cloud solution with both compliance and security in mind. We work with you, as part of your team, and find your biggest vulnerabilities to minimize your attack surfaces and provide continuous protection.

You can learn more about our compliance expertise on our YouTube channel in the Talk Nerdy to Me: Cloud Compliance episode.

RELATED: How Do I Get HIPAA-Compliant QB Hosting?

Bring Us Your Cloud Security and Compliance Concerns!

This is more than a hot-button topic for businesses; cloud security and compliance has become a primary concern for organizations across the globe. So, bring us your questions! We want to work with you so that you can become confident in your data protection solutions.

For more information about how to keep your company’s data safe in the cloud, contact us today.

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