5 Cloud Security Myths Busted

One of the main reasons for a number of traditional, older enterprises still being wary of cloud computing is the concern they have over the security of their data on the cloud. There are a number of myths surrounding cloud security that make it difficult for many enterprises to take the plunge and undertake cloud migration to leverage the many benefits of the cloud.

Here are a few of these myths, and why you should stop believing them!

Myth 1: It’s not safe to use the cloud

The biggest myth of them all is that the cloud is simply insecure and more vulnerable to attacks. We understand where this comes from. If you have something you want to protect, you would rather keep it at home, under your watchful eye. By the same logic, people believe that if their data is not located within their own office premises, it isn’t safe.

When you host your data locally, you will need to constantly update your firmware and keep all your security solutions up-to-date. It also requires several maintenance and management procedures and testing at specified intervals to overcome vulnerabilities that may arise due to configuration changes.

On the other hand, when it comes to the cloud, most of these steps are taken care of by the cloud service providers, who run regular audits for their cloud security controls to make the cloud environment as safe as possible. What’s more, cloud platforms are equipped with a wide range of security capabilities that can be customized to suit specific security needs of enterprises. You may also consult cloud service providers and cloud advisory experts like CloudNow to understand and take steps to prevent potential security risks.

Myth 2: Data on the cloud can be accessed by anyone

This is a common concern for enterprises when it comes to using a public cloud. If you are using a public cloud, that doesn’t mean that your data is available publicly or to other users of the shared cloud!

Even on a shared cloud, the data of each enterprise or individual is stored as a separate instance. Despite being transmitted on a shared network, data is encrypted to prevent other entities from deciphering or decoding the data. People also tend to assume that a private cloud would be safer. Quite contrary to this belief, multi-tenant clouds or public clouds, in fact, offer an additional layer of security to separate internal network systems due to the very fact that they are accessed by many.

Find out if a public, private or hybrid environment will suit your business best. Ask CloudNow!

Myth 3: The cloud provider will take care of security

Having said (above) that cloud providers take security very seriously and go to great lengths to secure your cloud environment, on the other side of the aisle is another myth – that the cloud provider will handle it all.

While it is true that the provider does take some measures, there are certain aspects to protecting the security of your data that can only be handled by you. Therefore, it can be said that cloud security solutions are a shared responsibility of the provider, the customer and all the users involved.

More specifically, the security of the overall cloud infrastructure and the physical security of the servers are all responsibilities of the cloud service provider. However, when it comes down to your data, your cloud application security and your users, and how each of these interact on the cloud, the responsibility for their security lies with you.

At your end, you will need to set up a password policy, add layers of authentication for your users’ login process when they need access to sensitive data, set up your own DNS filters and restrictions – all of which have to do with your users and the way they handle your data on the cloud. Moreover, your administrators will need to handle identity management including permissions given to each of your users with regard to what they can access and how much they can do while using cloud applications. Opting for an identity and access management solutionIAM ) like Akku can help by acting as a single sign on (SSO) platform and making password policy enforcement, multi-factor authentication (MFA) security and implementation of other security measures easier to implement.

Myth 4: Cloud security is a hassle for HR

According to a survey conducted by Cybersecurity Insiders, “staff expertise and training” were listed by 56% of respondents as the top reasons for hesitating to opt for cloud solutions. They believed that opting for a cloud SaaS would require rehiring or retraining the IT teams.

It is indeed surprising that a majority of companies believed this myth which underestimates their own teams who have managed to handle on-premise data and applications effortlessly!

Most cloud security solutions are actually extremely intuitive and user-friendly, and most of them can be managed by IT personnel through simple training and re-certification programmes.

And if you choose a cloud solutions provider like CloudNow to partner with you, your partner will be able guide you through the process.

Myth 5: Cloud and compliance don’t get hand in hand

Data breaches and violations to data privacy and other policies have caused governments to set up and enforce stringent data protection policies in order to increase the accountability of enterprises handling the personal data of citizens. And for some reason, business owners tend to believe that managing compliance issues on the cloud is far more complex than it is with an on-premise server.

However, the truth is far from that. Many cloud service providers, in fact, facilitate the process of keeping you compliant, as per the security requirements of your industry. For example, if you are in the healthcare industry and need to comply by HIPAA, then your cloud provider can help you maintain event logs for information access attempts with an intrusion detection systems (IDS).

What’s more, using an IAM solution can help you stay compliant and also ready for security audits. With a solution like Akku, administrators are given full control to customize and choose their password policies and other security features required for compliance and maintenance of security standards. The default password policy of Akku complies with the password policy requirements of industry standards such as ISO 27001 and PCI DSS and is customizable to the last detail.

Want to know more about using Akku to improve your cloud security? Visit www.akku.work or email us at sales@akku.work

Prevent Cybercrime with the Zero Trust Model of Cybersecurity

Would you trust just anyone to enter your home? Or would you first confirm that you know them and they have the right to be there?

The Zero Trust Model (ZTM) of security follows a similar principle. The ZTM approach is to be aware of anything entering the company, whether from inside or outside the company’s perimeter.

ZTM simply verifies everything that requires access to the system. The approach does not necessarily decree that every request should be denied. Instead, it asks: Why is access needed? How far? How long?

According to Cyber Security Ventures, cybercrime damages will top $6 trillion by 2021. Little surprise that cybercrime is the trending topic today! This may be just a prediction, but an ominous one indeed. It is a great challenge to prevent cybercrime and avoid this predicted damage. However, we can certainly overcome some part of this. We just need to take the right steps to protect ourselves.

The Zero Trust approach depends on different technology and governance processes to achieve their goals. This model mainly focuses on improving the security of the IT environment of enterprises. This approach varies based on who (the User) is accessing what (SaaS or In-house Applications), as well as from where (Location or IP), how long (Time Restriction) and how (granularity) they want to access it.

There are multiple ways an organization can adopt the Zero Trust Model, and one of the best way to do so is to integrate with an IAM. For example, a well-designed application supports IAM integration and provides MFA by default. Today, all applications have begun to adopt the Zero Trust Model at the design level itself.

To Filter or not to Filter YouTube Videos

A large percentage of employees in any organization use the internet for personal use during office hours. Their internet usage is mostly spread between YouTube, social media platforms and news sites. Of these, YouTube is by far the largest consumer of bandwidth.

YouTube is one of the largest online search engines on the internet – in fact it is second only to Google. Every day, over 5 billion videos are watched on the platform. What does this mean for an organization? Where should you draw the line when it comes to restricting YouTube content?

Why do you need to filter YouTube videos?

There are several ways in which operational workflow is disrupted due to a significant proportion of your employees spending time watching videos on YouTube. Especially with the newer generation of digital natives stepping into the workforce, the ramifications of unmoderated YouTube access are more pronounced. As a company, this could even result in the need to hire additional personnel to compensate for the loss of productivity. Here are a few ways in which unchecked YouTube access can harm your organization.

Reduction in efficiency

It is estimated that employees spend, on an average, one hour of their 9-5 workday browsing the internet. YouTube accounts for a considerable chunk of that time. If your company has around 20 employees, that amounts to a staggering 20 hours a day wasted on employees’ personal entertainment. On a weekly basis, that is 100 hours you can’t get back. If your organization is bigger, the problem scales as well.

While it can be argued that access to business-related YouTube channels can allow your employees to access solutions in a few minutes, YouTube is seen more like a leisurely and entertainment based “break”. Installing YouTube filter software can help to allow employees to access only whitelisted channels related to your business.

Load on internet bandwidth

The world is moving towards faster connectivity, and businesses which are faster to respond to their customers can deliver greater customer satisfaction. But the same high-speed internet is used by your employees use to browse YouTube too. This often amounts to several gigabytes of data, exhausting your internet bandwidth every month. Not only does this slow down your work communications, but assuming that you are billed on a monthly basis, imagine how much money can be saved by your company by reducing data consumption. Filtering YouTube videos can go a long way in reducing this burden.

Access to inappropriate content

YouTube comes with its fair share of shady content – pornography, religious extremism, and racial intolerance to name a few. Unmoderated access to a site with a large volume of such content can seriously dent the reputation of your organization. It can create moral conflicts between your employees on sexual harassment, religious or racial discrimination grounds. An office is no place to permit such activities.

The solution? A YouTube filter software!

With all this being said, it is crucial for companies to take a step towards controlling YouTube access on their networks. Akku from CloudNow Technologies comes with a highly effective YouTube Filtering feature which gives you control over what channels can be accessed by your employees and what cannot. Do contact us to know more.

Government Entities and their Move to the Cloud

Governments across the globe rely increasingly on technology today to serve their citizens better. But with the rapid evolution of technology, it is often a struggle for the different departments of government to keep up. This happens due to insufficient funds, security concerns or simply a lack of motivation to meticulously plan and implement the move.

Of these, security is the most critical consideration, since government agencies and departments are possibly the first line of defense against any cyber attack. This is especially true when it comes to government entities wanting to migrate their operations to the cloud.

Cloud Security Concerns

The United States of America has been one of the first few countries to understand the advantages and scalability that cloud computing offers and has already migrated over half of its government operations to the cloud. But what is holding back ALL governments from fully embracing the cloud? And what can be done about it?

When a cloud network is accessed remotely, the security measures kept in place at the end user’s system determines the security strength of the entire cloud network. This means that governments have to not only have iron-clad security for their data stored in the cloud but also ensure that individual devices which access the network have equally strong security protocols in place.

Solution 1: Identity and Access Management

One way to go about resolving the issue would be to decrease the complexity involved with cloud access and operations. Usually, when there are several applications hosted on the cloud, its users are required to remember several sets of credentials to access them. This leads to setting of simple passwords, which in turn leads to an easy to hack security. An Identity and Access Management or IAM solution can be deployed across the cloud network so that the users need to remember only a single set of credentials for all the applications they are authorized to use.

Another advantage of protecting your network with an IAM solution is that in case the device gets stolen or lost, it is easy to remotely delete an account, making it almost impossible for an outsider to enter your network.

Solution 2: Device and IP based Restriction

A security solution which comes with provisions for device and IP based restriction allows only access to a cloud network only from whitelisted devices and IP addresses. Any attempt to access the network from an IP address or a device that has not been explicitly whitelisted is simply rejected, and the admin of the network is notified. This serves to identify potential breach attempts, based on which improvements to cloud security measures may also be taken up.

Solution 3: Password Policy Enforcement

A cloud network’s security is only as strong as its weakest password. If a cloud network does not have a Single Sign-on solution in place, it means that every user has to remember as many passwords as the number of applications he/she is allowed to access in the cloud network. This means that for the ease of remembering the passwords, users tend to set weak and easy to hack passwords. Implementing a strong password policy will ensure that all the passwords used to access a cloud network comply with a specified minimum standard.

Cloud security solutions come in several architectures and platforms. But when it comes to critical data of a nation’s citizens, and the systems used to access that data, only the best solution is safe enough.

Akku from CloudNow is one such identity and access management solution which secures your cloud network from vulnerabilities and delivers on all the solutions described above. Get in touch with us to know more.  

Working Online? Watch out for Identity Theft!

Identity theft is as real as your identity and as dangerous as the one who steals it. It occurs when an unauthorized person or entity uses your personal information to assume your identity and commit fraud and other criminal activities including stealing from you, or from others in your name.

What does an identity thief steal?

Your name, address, credit card or bank account information, and even information that might otherwise seem harmless, such as photographs, information about your family members or your date of birth could be used in harmful ways in the wrong hands.

How does identity theft happen?

Identity thieves are well-organized, tech-savvy, creative and have seemingly innocent online personalities. They can steal information, simply by requesting it from an unassuming person or by using technological attacks to capture millions of records from enterprises. Sometimes, a stolen wallet or a carelessly-thrown receipt or letter can also lead to identity theft.

Here are some of the ways in which an identity theft may take place in your organization:

Data Breaches

A data breach, accidental or malicious, can have a heavy cost on both the organization involved and the individuals whose data is compromised.

Improper security on company-owned devices or devices that have access to your organization’s data is one of the leading causes of data breaches that lead to identity theft.

Phishing

Phishing involves sending deceptive emails with links to malicious websites that may either request or steal your information. If one of your employees is manipulated by such an email and clicks on a link it provides, it can be dangerous to the organization itself.

Even if your organization’s email can manage to keep out such mails from employee inboxes, if your employee has access to their personal email at the workplace, they are at the risk of being compromised.

Public Wi-Fi Connections

One of the problems with allowing your employees to work remotely is the possibility that they may be working from places that offer open or free public wireless internet connectivity. A criminal who also has access to the same network could also be able to observe all of your employee’s activities.

Mishandled Passwords

Carelessness with passwords, whether in terms of the creation of weak passwords or the way they are stored, can make your employees and your organization susceptible to identity theft.

Read our blog on Everything You Need to Know about Secure Passwords to know more about keeping passwords safe.

How can you prevent identity theft?

When it comes to preventing identity theft, the first step to take is to sensitize your employees on the different ways in which it can happen. Studies have proven that employees are the preferred channels that identity thieves use when they target organizations.

From your end, you also need to:

  • Set a strong password policy across your enterprise applications, to ensure that your organization is not compromised through your employees’ use of weak passwords
  • Use two-factor authentication or multi-factor authentication to enhance the security of applications carrying sensitive data
  • Ensure that your DNS filter works effectively to block out malicious websites that your employees may try to access
  • Block access to employees’ personal emails at work, so that there a lesser chance of data compromise and data breaches through phishing
  • Set up IP-based or device-based restrictions so that unauthorized persons are kept out of your applications when they try to access them from unsafe locations or unrecognized devices

An identity and access management solution (IAM) like Akku can help you take control of all the preventive methods listed above, all in one go.

Get in touch with us through sales@akku.work if you wish to know more about how Akku can help protect your organization from identity theft through identity/access management.

Cloud Security 101: Identity and Access Management

An Identity and Access Management (IAM) solution allows organizations to manage user access to critical data. It is an intermediate layer between your users and your applications/data.

Deploying an IAM solution a proven way to improve network security in an organization. A good IAM solution should also reduce the time spent by your IT team to grant access for individual applications, thereby improving architectural simplicity and reducing the load on your servers. This also means that your users have to remember only one set of credentials to access several applications in your on-premise or cloud network.

What should you expect from a good IAM solution?

Streamlined User Access

An effective IAM solution should greatly reduce hassle by providing a slick and time efficient method to validate users. It should be able to do this without compromising on security, allowing only legitimate users to access your network from on-premise or remote systems.

Conventionally, at organizations that have numerous applications on their network, users need to remember multiple sets of credentials, which is inconvenient, but more secure. An effective IAM solution should be able to strike the right balance between the two extremes of convenience and security.

With a single set of user credentials to access all permitted applications and data, memorizing multiple credentials is avoided, improving productivity and ease of use.

Improved Security

Another important feature you should look out for is the ability to control user access to your network. This is typically delivered through device- and IP-based restrictions, which give you the ability to provide access only from specific devices or IP addresses to your network. In addition to simply whitelisting specific requests, an IAM solution should also be able to permanently block illegal access from blacklisted devices and IPs.

Seamless Admin Control

An identity and access management solution should give the administrators of your network a simple and intuitive dashboard with all the controls needed to secure your network and manage access across it. This can go a long way in reducing the cost and time for your IT team.

This includes managing creating and removing user accounts, as well as controlling the level of access provided to each individual user.

Identity and Access Management by Akku

Akku by CloudNow is a state-of-the-art Identity and Access Management solution for all your user management needs. Its powerful SSO function simplifies user identity and access management, IP- and device-based restrictions prevent unwarranted access, multi-factor authentication reinforces security, and a range of other versatile features put you in complete control of your network. Get in touch with us now to know more!

Cloud Security Solutions – Why do you need them?

Migration to the cloud is no longer an emerging trend. It is now a well-established method of running the operations of a business. With the cloud, you can manage data and applications in a secure environment and ensure that your users face virtually no latency while using your applications. But although the cloud comes with a basic framework for security, it still has its inherent security risks which need highly specific cloud security solutions to reliably protect your data.

To understand the need for implementing an effective cloud security solution, a deeper understanding of what causes and constitutes a cloud security threat is important.

Why Do You Need Cloud Security Solutions?

Unsecured Access Points

With several of your applications operating from the cloud, it is crucial to manage their access. Traditional methods of granting access to applications on the cloud require users to remember several sets of credentials. But with such a method, forgotten passwords would be common, draining the productivity of both your IT team and your users. To overcome this, users tend to set weak passwords which are easy to remember. But weak passwords are also easy to hack! The solution to this problem is to use an Identity and Access Management solution like CloudNow Technologies’ Akku.

Unprotected APIs

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are software interfaces which allow two different components of software to talk to each other. APIs are responsible for getting the requests from client systems and passing it onto the server and then retrieving the response and sending it back to the client. Considering that such an integral component is a part of your network architecture, a web application security solution is kept in place to eliminate the threat of unchecked network access from unauthorized users.

Types of Cloud Security Issues

DoS attack

DoS or Denial of Service is a distributed and malicious attack, designed to corrupt your servers and deny access to legitimate users. Such attacks require a complete hack of your network and injections of the attack code. A DoS attack is another common threat faced by organizations operating on the cloud. To eliminate this type of attack, it is important to maintain an intelligent firewall which can effectively stop the attack.

Data Breach

Cyber wars now directly translate to breaches and corruption of data. Since most organizations have to rely on third-party cloud vendors for storage, they increasingly feel like they are not in control of what happens to their data and applications. Data breach is one of the most common types of security threats, whether it happens on the cloud or any other type of storage. For this reason, companies have to go a step further and deploy high-end security solutions to prevent data breaches. While the move to the cloud can improve the efficiency of your operations to a great extent, it also requires you to choose a vendor you can trust to protect your network against the threats mentioned above. CloudNow’s cloud security solutions provide you with the security edge you require to peacefully conduct operations on the cloud without worrying about the threats trying to breach your network.