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Sarah UKFast | Account Manager

Compliance and security in the cloud

21 January 2021 by Laura Valentine

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Despite cloud adoption increasing at a faster pace than ever beforemany modern organisations remain concerned about the security of data in the cloud. While cloud security should never be an afterthought, this lingering fear is ungrounded. When it comes to data security and compliance, if you follow the right steps and work with the right partners, the cloud can be the safest possible place for your business-critical data.  

Whether you’ve already moved some of your workloads into the cloud or you’re preparing for migration, it’s important to understand how cloud technology can help meet compliance regulations and strengthen data security.  

 Shared responsibility 

When you operate in the public cloud, responsibility for compliance is shared between your business and your chosen cloud provider. Large public cloud providers such as AWS and Azure will often have many security features built into their platforms, specially designed to help you meet compliance standards. But, ultimately, the shared responsibility model means that its not wholly down to the cloud provider to ensure your data remains safe.  

The exact breakdown of responsibility will vary depending on the cloud provider you choose but, generally, the customer remains responsible for their data, endpoints and access management. Essentially, it’s the provider’s job to maintain the security of the cloud, while the customer looks after security in the cloud. Before jumping into a contract on a new cloud platform it’s important to gain a clear understanding of where responsibility lies for each element of security. Ultimately, as the customer, you remain liable for any breach that occurs, suffering any potential financial and reputational repercussions.  

Working with a managed cloud partner can help bridge the gap between your business and your chosen cloud platform, drawing on their expertise to navigate the shared responsibility model and safeguard data in the cloud.  

Visibility and control 

Despite the misconceptions, multiple layers of in-built security mean that your data is inherently safer when housed in the public cloud compared to on-prem infrastructureProtection against known threats and common cyber-attacks can be integrated into your solution from the start and regular patching and monitoring will keep it up to dateChoosing the right cloud partner will enhance your security posture; larger and more experienced providers have a wealth of in-house knowledge and expertise that can be shared with your own teams.  

One of the biggest challenges to security in the cloud can be maintaining visibility and control. Network visibility is essential to security, whether onpremises or in the cloud – you can’t secure an element you’re not aware of. When choosing a cloud provider, it’s important to establish what access to logging and security tools you will have, as these will become the foundation of your security strategy.  

Misconfiguration and user error 

According to 95% of IT decision makers, cloud misconfiguration is regarded as one of the most obvious security risks. A slight error during the setup of your cloud can result in a large compliance breach down the line. It’s important to plan your migration thoroughly, auditing and assessing your needs beforehand, and working with certified, trusted architects who have expertise on your platform of choice. Remedial work can be costly and inconvenient so it’s worth taking your time from the offset to make sure your solution is well architected, reducing the chances of compromising compliance due to human error.  

Not all security errors fall on the cloud provider, however. User error is also an area of concern, with authentication and authorisation playing a huge role in keeping data safe in the cloud. Secure access control is essential to reducing the risk of error, and it’s up to your business to make efficient use of the cloud provider’s tools. Setting up granular permissions and zero trust policies can be effective in ensuring only those who need to access the data can do so.  

Cybersecurity skills gap 

When choosing a cloud provider don’t forget to check their certifications align with your compliance standards, such as ISO 27001, PCI DSS and Cyber Essentials Plus.  

Working with a managed cloud provider to facilitate your cloud solution – whether you choose public, hybrid or multi-cloud – provides access to experienced security professionals. With the cybersecurity skills gap well documented, this can be hugely beneficial to businesses of all sizes as they move more workloads to the cloud. Along with advising you on best practice and the right products to protect your solution, your managed cloud provider’s security team will be on hand to support with any issues and mitigate any incidents that do occur.  

Find out how managed cloud from UKFast strengthens your compliance and security in the cloud.