Every business has a ton of very sensitive data in their infrastructure or environment, now we have moved to a remote working model and the data is more in the cloud-based applications than ever. As the employees are working remotely, they use both personal and business devices. The security is at risk in this scenario giving more opportunities to the hackers. Recently, CISA (Cyber security and Infrastructure Security Agency) published that hackers are exploiting the vulnerabilities by launching brute force login attempts and phishing attacks on remote working employees to gain access. Attackers use phishing emails with malicious links to capture the credentials of the user’s cloud service account. The emails appear to be secure message and look like legitimate cloud hosting service account login. Once the user provides the credentials, the hacker uses the stolen login details to gain access to the cloud account. These types of attacks frequently happen in organizations with weak cyber hygiene practices and less awareness about cyber security. In this blog, we are going to learn about Cloud Hosting and the methods to secure your business with cloud hosting.
What is Cloud?
Cloud computing or simply cloud is the on-demand delivery of IT resources over the Internet. It is a service which is offered on the internet that may be paid or free of cost- depending on the requirement. Instead of buying and maintaining servers and data centers, users can access services like computing power, databases and storage on demand from a cloud service provider. There are mainly three types of cloud services, they are
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
- Platform as a Service (PaaS)
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS are related to cloud hosting as they use cloud infrastructure to deliver the services. Let’s look into this in detail. Infrastructure as a Service – is a cloud service where a vendor provides the access to computing resources such as servers, storage and Network. The customer can use their own platform and applications within the service provider’s infrastructure.
- No need for purchasing hardware, instead users can pay IaaS on demand.
- Infrastructure is scalable. As per the processing and storage requirements, the resources can be added within a smaller amount of time.
- There will not be any point of failure, because the data is on the cloud.
- No need of buying and maintaining the hardware.
- Automates most of the administrative tasks.
Platform as a Service – is a cloud computing platform that provides users with a cloud infrastructure so they can deploy and manage their applications. Along with the storage and other resources, users can use prebuilt tools to develop their own applications.
- PaaS provides an environment with tools to develop, test and deploy applications in the same platform.
- Users don’t have to worry about the underlying infrastructure instead they can focus on development.
- Backups, Security, server software and operating systems are managed by the provider.
Software as a Service – is an offering where the users can access the provider’s cloud based software. The applications are deployed on the vendor’s cloud platform and accessed through web or API. So, users don’t have to install anything on the platform but can use applications as per their requirements.
- The resources can be scaled depending on the services
- The applications or software can be accessed anywhere from the world with an active Internet connection.
- The data is highly secured in the cloud; Failures do not result in loss of data.
- The SaaS providers manage, upgrade and install applications. Users do not have to manage anything.
What is Cloud Hosting
Cloud Hosting is a type of web hosting in which the applications, website or solutions are not deployed on a single physical server. Instead, multiple cloud servers are used to balance the load and maximize the uptime. Websites or applications hosted on a network of virtual and physical cloud servers ensure greater flexibility and scalability.
- Users only need to pay for the resources they use.
- Solutions are automated and can be controlled using Web portals, APIs and mobile applications.
- Resources are scalable as per the requirement.
- Sites are hosted on a network of servers. Thus, hardware failures do not cause downtime
- The cloud infrastructure provides higher security as the traffic travels across different network interfaces.
Why Cloud Hosting?
Cloud hosting has become very popular and widely accepted in recent years. Do you know why the popularity of cloud hosting increased in recent years? Here we will cover the benefits of moving your business to cloud platforms.
Benefits of Cloud Hosting
- High uptime and availability
If you are using traditional web hosting, your website uptime or application depends on the physical server environment. If the network or server goes offline, the website too. There you have to depend on a CDN to reduce the site’s overall downtime. Cloud hosting has high uptime since the site will be virtually using multiple server resources. If one goes offline or has some technical issues; the site will be accessible from the next server. The ability to scale the resources will help to compete with the increased traffic thus reduces the downtime associated with surged traffic.
- Faster website
The cloud servers can provide higher speed. Apart from increasing the site’s capacity, cloud hosting easily allows load balancing between multiple servers. This will help to reduce the burden on a single server. In fact, the server hardware and environment will also affect the speed of websites. So always look for cloud hosts with premium server hardware, and multiple cache layers.
- No to Server Hardware Faults
Cloud hosted websites or applications will not be affected by any physical server issues like hardware failure and system overload. The physical server utilizes the resources from another server if there is an issue with hardware. It’s done instantaneously – without any downtime
- Scalable Resources
The scaling of resources becomes very easy in cloud hosting as the user or organization has access to the site management dashboard. That lets you to see the site’s performance in real time. We can scale resources up or down right away without the approval of the provider.
In a traditional server environment, the data is stored in physical server location. With cloud hosting, the data is distributed and stored in different virtual server locations associated with physical servers. In terms of overall security when compared with traditional hosting, cloud hosting has a higher layer of security. There are physical security measures implemented by the providers to protect the cloud data centre from being hacked or harmed. Also, have additional security on the physical devices itself. In addition to these, cloud hosting has some more layers of security to protect virtual networks and isolates the cloud hosting environment.
How to Ensure Security with Cloud
Cloud Security or Cloud Computing Security is a form of cyber security that protects cloud computing systems and devices from attacks with the help of policies, practices, and technology. Which provide the visibility of who’s running what in your Cloud Environment and be effectively and automatically notified when someone violates the policies of security. By doing so, cloud stored data and digital assets can be secured from the data breach, DDoS attacks, hacking, malware, and other cyber security threats.
Why is Security important?
Most of the organizations are already using cloud computing for their business operations; also a high rate of adoption of cloud service is happening day by day. Cloud security is a major concern here. As companies move more data and applications to the cloud, IT professionals are more concerned about security as their data is stored in the cloud. They are afraid that the highly confidential information and intellectual properties may leave unprotected. The significant part of cloud security is to ensure protection on data and business content like financial records, customer details, orders, and other documents. Preventing data theft and leaks are must for maintaining customer’s trust, and protecting assets that help in competitive advantages. Maintaining strong cloud security measures help organizations to achieve the wider benefits of cloud computing. Hence reduces the upfront and operational costs, reduces administrative costs, increases availability and scalability with ease of scaling.Let’s get deeper to know whether cloud is a safer place for your business – and what all are the aspects you should consider when choosing cloud solutions to protect your business and contents in the cloud.
Methods to Ensure Cloud Security
Public cloud service providers like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft provide much more secure infrastructure than traditional on-premises data centers. This is a well-known fact, that these providers can secure your cloud data efficiently. But, can’t protect from stolen credentials and the data that is shared outside the cloud environment. In every company, employees’ access and download data, shared with other people in other places as a part of their work. How can these data be secured? In fact, vulnerabilities are rarely caused by poor cloud infrastructure security. They are caused by mishaps by humans. Weak cyber practices like accidental deletion, insecure network connections, stolen credentials, and other security flaws are the reason for cloud data risk. When it comes to cloud security and managing your content in cloud, you require good vendors you can trust. Those prioritize security and customer satisfaction.
Let’s see the things you must check for in a cloud solution.
- Strong Authentication
A strong authentication ensures proper access with MFA (Multi Factor Authentication) and strong passwords. Both internal and external users should support Multi Factor Authentication and single sign-on (SSO). This allows the user to log in once and have access to the environment.
- Data Integrity
The data should be protected from unauthorized access, modification and deletion. Role-based authentication is the best practice where we can decide authorization level and make sure the data can’t be modified by unauthorized users. To ensure integrity, system administrators decide who has access to which data. The integrity of your data is protected when it is hosted in the cloud. Because there are bots deployed by the providers to monitor your data and ensure security by checking unusual activities Firewall, antiviruses with latest security patches are used to prevent unauthorized access.
- Data Encryption
We have to protect the data from tampering. No one should understand the data except the sender and receiver. To achieve this, we need to encrypt each data that leaves the cloud environment. The data should be encrypted at storage and transmission. The data is encrypted using symmetric keys at storage and during transmit; it is encrypted using TLS over a secured channel. Even if there is a data breach, the hackers do not understand the data and offer higher security. Along with encryption, authentication is also done with the help of public and private keys. Only the receiver has the private key, so no one except the receiver can decrypt the data. Cloud hosting has the latest encryption technologies and strategies to secure the data at rest and during transmission.
For a better user experience, it is possible for users to manage their own encryption keys
- Improve visibility
The provider uses machine learning to detect threats, unwanted behavior, and alert the team about the activity. The algorithms analyze the usage patterns for the particular use to detect unusual behaviors from people working within the organization. If somebody from the team tries to move some confidential data in a suspicious manner, this will be noticed by data behavior analysis trigger alerts using mechanisms that take activity logs continuously and reduce false positives.
- Prevention from DDoS Attacks
A Distributed Denial of Service Attack is a pre-planned attack against an organization’s web infrastructure. It is a form of cyber-attack that disrupts network connectivity and denies the services for users of the targeted server. This is done by flooding multiple requests to the target resource and overloads the system with network traffic. These attacks target infrastructure, data and applications simultaneously to increase the chance of success. To prevent them, we need a counter plan as well as DDoS prevention and mitigation solutions. The cloud infrastructure has more bandwidth and resources than private networks. Cloud based websites or applications can absorb malicious traffic before reaching the targeted system. Cloud services are operated by professional engineers and have a special team to monitor the web for the latest DDoS tactics. They have Denial of Service Response plans and updated defense strategies.8
BCDR stands for Business Continuity and Data Recovery. This is to ensure that the data is stored securely from accidental losses. Let’s assume a scenario of traditional data centers, where the data is stored locally. If the data is corrupted or the datacentre or office premises are hit by some natural disasters and everything is destroyed. There is very little or no chance to retrieve the data. With cloud hosting, the provider ensures regular and multiple data backups on remote servers. This ensures business continuity even in a disastrous condition. As the data backup is done on multiple remote devices, the data can be retrieved from anywhere at any time if something happens.
- Virtual Private Cloud
Virtual Private Cloud is a public cloud service that lets the customer establish their own private network or cloud environment on a public cloud Infrastructure. The customer gets the ability to define a virtual network that is isolated from the public cloud tenants Hereby creates a Private, secure place on the public cloud.
- Provide Anti-Phishing Training for Employees
As we already mentioned, employee mishaps are the primary reason for leaving cloud data at risk. Hackers can access secure information by stealing employee’s login credentials through social engineering techniques like phishing, spoofing and spying on social media. We can prevent such risks by offering proper training for employees. The training should be an ongoing process as employees need to have knowledge of the latest security threats and vulnerabilities.
- Test the Cloud System on Occasion
Testing can bring a major difference in securing your business in the cloud. It is recommended to test the cloud environment to see how well it is performing in high traffic and load with its security setup. Ethical hackers or security experts can be hired to test the security of your applications or cloud system. As it can go deep into the system to find hidden problems, it is a popular option for testing.
- Security Hygiene Matters the most
Cyber hygiene is a way of training yourself to think logically and proactively about cybersecurity to resist cyber-attacks and security issues. Try to make cyber hygiene a part of your routine. Get started by marking a calendar with dates to do a series of tasks — things like updating operating systems, check for security patches, scan for viruses and malware using antivirus programs, changing the passwords and cleaning the storage. Once you begin cyber hygiene, it will become a habit.
In general, cloud computing is a much more secure and cost-effective option if you take the right precautions. With the use of the latest technologies, encryption methods, and firewalls from cloud service providers, data migration is much safer and easier. One key advantage of cloud hosting is that it allows convenient scalability. If your company’s web traffic increases suddenly over a course of a single month, you can upgrade memory and computing power to keep up the performance. Cloud hosting also focuses on the privacy and integrity of data and customers. No unauthorized person can modify or manipulate data in a cloud environment. Experienced IT professionals can help you to set up a better cloud computing strategy and provide maximum security by safeguarding your sensitive data.