Securing Data in The Cloud 3 Ways to Better Protect Your Business’s Data

Securing Data in The Cloud: 3 Ways to Better Protect Your Business’s Data

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Table Of Contents

Roughly 60% of business data is currently stored in the cloud, making securing that information more important than ever. Otherwise, sensitive information is at risk of data breaches that can allow unauthorized access to personal files.

In addition, with cyber security risks hitting over 620 million attacks in 2021, the importance of organizations learning how to secure data in the cloud is at an all-time high. 

This guide goes over several ways to go about securing data in the cloud. Additionally, we’ll cover some of the biggest threats facing businesses and offer solutions as to how to combat them.

What is Involved in Securing Cloud Data?

There are a number of steps involved in securing cloud data, namely using trusted providers, using encryptions, creating regular backups, and setting access controls. All of these methods help limit unauthorized access to cloud systems, preventing the spread of sensitive information.

Considering the fact that there are roughly 12 incidents of unauthorized data access a month, businesses need to take securing cloud data seriously. Otherwise, they could easily find private information in the wrong hands.

A few of the most common methods that outline how to secure data in the cloud include:

  • Using HTTPS or TLS encrypted connections when connecting to cloud storage services
  • Requiring multi-factor authentication (MFA) for any users attempting to access the platform
  • Running regular security tests on cloud data systems to ensure their integrity.
  • Encrypting all data before uploading it into secure cloud storage spaces
  • Implementing secure server connections for data sharing to reduce third-party intervention during data transmission
  • Setting strict access controls that limit who can view, use, and manage data

Out of all of these access control may be one of the most reliable ways to limit data access. Here’s a closer look at access control and the different types that businesses can implement.

Types of Access Control

There are four main types of access control that businesses can implement when securing data in the cloud. These include:

  • Discretionary access control (DAC)
  • Mandatory access control (MAC)
  • Role Based Access Control (RBAC)
  • Attribute Based Access Control (ABAC)

The following table breaks down these four types of access control and explains how they work and why they matter to businesses.

Type of Access Control Explanation
Discretionary access control (DAC) A discretionary access control restricts who can access data according to policies set in place by authorized users. Authorized users must enter the platform using a username and password in order to assign access and controls to other users at their discretion.
Mandatory access control (MAC) Mandatory access control refers to a uniform set of controls that are applied to anyone using a specific system. Users in a system are all prohibited from granting unauthorized access, changing access rules, changing rule attributes, and allowing other subjects access privileges.
Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) Role-based access control divides user authorities and permissions based on a specific role within a platform. Administrators typically would have more advanced roles than a user, who would have very restricted access to data and how they would be able to interact with it.
Attribute-Based Access Control (ABAC) Attribute-based access control limits access to data based on specific attributes. This could be based on time zones, data type, and user type, among others.

Businesses may choose to use only one of these types of access control or to use a combination. The more access controls an organization implements, the greater chances they have of protecting their data from attacks.

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Why it is Important for Companies to Protect Cloud Data

Why it is Important for Companies to Protect Cloud Data

When it comes to data management in the cloud, simply having the right systems in place to manage and organize data isn’t enough. Companies also need to be able to protect cloud data in order to avoid data breaches, gain customer trust, and stay compliant.

In addition to this, cloud data protection systems are important for ensuring that data is secure and that its integrity isn’t compromised. Doing so keeps sensitive information free from data breach risks and ensures that businesses are meeting regulatory requirements surrounding the storage and use of data.

When companies don’t have properly secured data, they put themselves at risk of paying hefty fines. Some of these fines apply to companies even if the organization itself is located outside the jurisdiction of the lawmaking body. As long as the customers are located under that jurisdiction, companies could still be held liable for damages due to the unauthorized spread of information.

In addition, when cloud data is properly protected, companies can implement data recovery plans. In the event that there is a data breach, businesses can have systems in place that alert them to this fact and trigger actions that help limit the spread of unauthorized data sharing.

How to Make Sure Users Get The Right Access to Secure Data in Cloud

When setting access controls, organizations have to be careful that users get the right access to secure data in the cloud. If everyone has administrative access, for instance, they may enable unauthorized access to secure data inadvertently. If only a few key people have admin access and others have lower levels of access, if a breach happens, it’s less likely that sensitive data will be compromised. If multiple access levels are established in the beginning, it saves having to revise permissions later down the line.

The easiest way to ensure users get the right access to secure data in the cloud is to properly implement a cloud data platform complete with your organization’s established security and access permissions. Doing so helps ensure that businesses are properly organized from the get-go, enabling the right users to have the right permissions.

Organizations should make a hierarchy of individuals who will have access to data, laying out exactly who needs what permissions. From there, they can set the appropriate permissions and access controls to limit excess data usage and ensure only the correct individuals have access to needed information.

Additionally, setting up user accounts with secure passwords and multi-factor authentication can help with this process. It limits user access further and keeps assigned permissions restricted to a specific account.

Securing Cloud Data Compliance and Regulations

Securing Cloud Data Compliance and Regulations

A big part of securing data in the cloud involves adhering to strict data compliance regulations, such as those set in place by the GDPR. Four of the most common regulations and laws surrounding cloud data, and data in general, include:

  1. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
  2. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  3. Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX)
  4. Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA)

Let’s take a closer look at some of these regulations and how they impact businesses when securing cloud data.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

The GDPR is a set of data protection regulations that were set in place by the European Union. These data laws require businesses processing the information of consumers in the EU to adhere to seven main regulations:

  1. Lawfulness: data processing has to be transparent, fair, and lawful for the individual whose data is being processed
  2. Purpose limitation: organizations can only process data according to legal purposes which were originally specified to the individual at the time of collection
  3. Data minimization: businesses must not collect or process data in excess of that which they specify they’ll collect from the consumer
  4. Accuracy: data records must be kept up-to-date and contain the most accurate information possible
  5. Storage limitation: organizations cannot store data for more time than is reasonably necessary for the purpose specified to the consumer
  6. Integrity and confidentiality: data processing must protect the integrity and confidentiality of information
  7. Accountability: organizations are held accountable to the principles under the GPDR and must be able to show such accountability

Failure to comply with any of these laws can result in hefty fines for businesses. What’s more, these rules apply even if organizations are based outside the EU; as long as they’re processing data of individuals in the EU, companies are still responsible for adhering to these principles.

Securing data clouds helps ensure that businesses meet these requirements as laid out by the GPDR. They also help ensure that companies aren’t in violation of any of these by maintaining personal data in a secure space that can be properly and securely updated as needed.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

HIPPA is a data security regulation that focuses on the health and pharmaceutical industry. Since these types of businesses regularly deal with sensitive personal information, the United States government implemented HIPAA in order to limit access to this type of data.

There are five main HIPAA rules that organizations must comply with:

  1. Privacy: this rule states that organizations must treat patient information with discretion and also specifies that patients may choose how and what information they want to be handled
  2. Transactions and Code Sets: states that health organizations must meet specific codes when sharing information among other organizations or internally among providers
  3. Security: outlines that organizations must have the proper administrative, technical, and physical security in place to prevent theft, poor data management, and technical security breaches
  4. Unique Identifiers: requires organizations to use unique identifiers to categorize what type of healthcare organization they are and to prevent unauthorized entities from gaining access to patient information
  5. Enforcement: lays out both the civil and criminal penalties for organizations that fail to meet HIPAA compliance standards

Although HIPAA doesn’t apply to every organization, to those it does apply to, having proper data security is a major part of meeting these regulations. It ensures organizations have the right infrastructure in place to prevent security breaches and protect sensitive data.

Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX)

Bipartisan congressional support allowed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to pass in 2002, a law that was designed to limit fraud in financial reporting. This act was largely in response to scandals involving major financial players such as Enron, who had been participating in false financial reports in order to boost their bottom line.

SOX made major overhauls of currently existing reporting regulations in order to improve corporate responsibility. As part of the overhaul, the act increased penalties for businesses that engaged in false reporting and also implemented new account regulations and protections.

A few of the key points of SOX are outlined in the table below.

Section Description
Section 302 Ensures that financial statements are properly representative of an organization’s financial condition and holds officers signing off on such statements accountable for any discrepancies.
Section 404 Requires companies to set and adhere to internal controls that ensure the accuracy of financial data.
Section 802 Sets a standard on how long records must be kept and defines when records may be destroyed. It also makes strict laws about altering data and ensuring its accuracy.

Proper data cloud security can help improve business recordkeeping, making sure that businesses aren’t destroying or falsifying data. Additionally, it can help ensure businesses are in compliance with storage requirements for sensitive information, ensuring that companies have the appropriate documentation stored in the cloud for the correct periods of time.

Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA)

The Federal Information Security Management Act is designed for federal agencies by the department of homeland security in the United States. This act helps prevent security threats through a seven-step process:

  1. Establishing a risk management program to help prepare for any potential threats
  2. Categorizing information and systems through impact analysis
  3. Using risk assessments to set system controls and limit threats
  4. Implementing said controls and documenting how those controls are managed
  5. Assessing the controls and ensuring that they’re producing desired results
  6. Authorizing system operations by senior management in order to ensure proper risk management
  7. Monitoring the system to prevent changes and control implementation

In essence, organizations are required to make a risk management plan and implement it according to specific controls. From there, they’re required to monitor and change the plan as needed.

How to Secure Cloud Data with Immuta

Immuta is a cloud data access control system that automates who is allowed to access data within the cloud. In addition, it allows compatibility with any cloud-based system, making it possible for organizations to connect with any cloud system they’re currently using.

Immuta implements a SOC 2 Type 2 certified level of security, which helps ensure that data is properly stored and protected and that access is restricted when dealing with stored data. As a result, businesses can use this system to ensure that unauthorized use is prohibited and to maintain the security and integrity of data.

To get started with Immuta, companies simply integrate the system with their current cloud data storage. From there, Immuta discovers and secures data, as well as continuously monitors it for any changes that could require added layers of security. The entire system is TSL encrypted to ensure protected transactions, too.

All of this helps businesses protect cloud data without having to undo any of the work their security teams have already put in. Additionally, there’s no need to overwrite existing storage systems; companies can simply integrate Immuta into their existing systems.

Conclusion

Due to rising cyber security incidents, the importance of properly securing data in the cloud is greater than ever. Doing so not only helps businesses stay compliant, but it protects them from allowing unauthorized access to sensitive information.

Taking measures to prevent cybersecurity attacks helps businesses reduce the risk and costs associated with dealing with a security breach.

One secure data platform that businesses can take advantage of to improve operations, stay competitive, and generate revenue is Revelate. Schedule a demo today to learn more about how this platform can enhance your data fulfillment process.

Simplify Data Fulfillment with Revelate

Revelate provides a suite of capabilities for data sharing and data commercialization for our customers to fully realize the value of their data. Harness the power of your data today!

Get Started