The recent spike of cyber attacks in the last several months underscore how these breaches are becoming a constant presence in our news headlines, rather than a sporadic occurrence. That means it is no longer appropriate or advisable for an organization to adopt a reactive approach to their cloud security initiatives, as the consequences can be irreparable and very costly. Rather when it comes to cyber attacks, the best offense is a good (and proactive) defense. But where should your organization start?
Educate and Manage Employees
When it comes to cloud security, the unfortunate reality is that often your own personnel will be the ones who open the door to hackers - often unintentionally. Educate your staff on the importance of not sending personal data over email, only visiting secure sites, reading permissions before installing any downloaded applications (if allowed), and avoiding using any third-party USB thumbdrives they do not trust.
Create and Enforce Your Policies
If you do not currently have any policies that govern how company systems and data are handled, now is the time to change that. In addition, since employees are often the source of many security risks, you should implement strict password policies and train your workforce on the importance of password complexity.
Implement Security Solutions
In addition to safeguarding against employee misuse of organizational property or cyber assets, you should also invest in protect those assets from external forces by implementing a proactive security solution. For example, Alert Logic provides cloud security to businesses, because they observed that while there has been a marked increase in cloud-based cyber attacks, moving to the cloud is an essential step for most businesses. If you support a mobile or remote workforce, having a mobile device management strategy is also a must.
Have a Proactive IT Strategy
Though commonly thought of as the workforce dedicated to fixing computers and broken down printers, your IT personnel should not be there to only react once something happens. A proactive approach to IT means your team can anticipate problems and proactively address issues that may disrupt your business operations - including security liabilities. However, if you’re concerned that your current IT staff - or lack thereof - is not equipped to handle such a shift in focus, you may want to consider working with a managed services provider, which will give you access to a team of experts well-versed in current trends and products.
Though it might be tempting to postpone those sometimes annoying software and OS updates, don’t. Those updates often contain security patches that will protect your system against new threats, while also closing newly identified security loopholes.
Though it might seem like a smart move for your bottom line, adopting a “I hope it doesn’t happen to us!” attitude toward cybersecurity is a luxury organizations can no longer afford. And while there may be some cost required upfront to protect your assets and data, your investment will pay off in the long run.