Head in the Clouds?
Some instances of cause and effect are easier to see than others. Case in point: The proliferation of cloud computing and the corresponding rise in cybercrime. Add a global pandemic and the necessity for remote work and the networks, the cloud-based infrastructures, the file sharing, and the digitalized service required to enable that remote work, and you have a world-class recipe for hacks, breaches, and data thefts.
According to VMware, cloud networking is defined as:
a type of IT infrastructure in which some or all of an organization’s network capabilities and resources are hosted in a public or private cloud platform … and available on demand … These network resources can include virtual routers, firewalls, and bandwidth and network management software, with other tools and functions available as required.
Public or private cloud platforms — servers — are vulnerable enough. But the means by which those cloud platforms transmit data to the devices on which software and applications are used are an even bigger liability.
Do the Tighten Up
You can reduce the risks of cloud computing significantly with a few simple steps:
- Prioritize. Not everyone in the organization needs access to everything. Limit the (number of) authorizations you allow and manage them carefully.
- Use a password auto-generation and management tool. If you think Herb in accounting might use Herb123, you won’t be the only one to think so.
- Use MFA. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) schemes like usernames, passwords, and auto-generated authentication texts will stymie hackers and protect your data.
- Encrypt. Translating your data into unreadable code that requires a key to unlock ensures only authorized users have access to it. Use encryption to protect email, as well.
- Become a control freak. Third-party apps can be gateways to trouble. Know which ones you’re using. Read all the reviews you can before using them. Read the fine print. Then read it again.
- Watch the phish. Remote workers especially can be susceptible to phishing attacks, malware, viruses, and other threats. Rule #1 is be suspicious. Rule #2 is don’t open anything you don’t recognize. As Dr. Johnny Fever from WKRP in Cincinnati once said, “When everybody’s out to get you, paranoid is just good thinking.”
- Back it up. Make sure all of your data is backed up, preferably in multiple locations. If you act as if a breach is inevitable, you’ll never be sorry.
The Moral of the Story
Cloud computing requires you to keep your head out of the clouds.
If you’re not sure how to do that, we’re here to help.