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Cloud security strategy for enterprises

Companies must have a Cloud security strategy in place to avoid security incidents

The massive use of Software as a Service forces companies to have a cloud security strategy for enterprises that allows them to prevent security incidents

Enterprise environments have jumped to the cloud. Today, a large part of the productive fabric uses Software as a Service (SaaS) such as Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace to carry out critical day-to-day activities: internal and external communications, project management, storage and access to documents, human resources management, commercial activity…

The cloud is a broad concept, encompassing elements disparate as infrastructure providers, application providers, email, services, and identity, and it has changed how we work. This paradigm shift has brought many benefits for companies, such as increased productivity and profitability thanks to enterprise software. Still, it also represents a new challenge that must be met by having an enterprise cloud security strategy in place.

With a robust enterprise cloud security strategy, organizations can respond to their increased cyber exposure and audit the cloud platforms and services they work with and how they use them.

In this way, they can prevent cyberattacks, detect vulnerabilities in their cloud ecosystem and mitigate them before malicious actors exploit them.

Here’s why company executives should implement an enterprise cloud security strategy that allows their organizations to benefit from all the advantages of working with enterprise software while limiting the risks of a security incident.

Costs, teleworking, mobility, automation… Why are companies in the cloud?

Why have Software as a Service and cloud infrastructures been consolidated in various companies?

  1. Contracting cloud services and infrastructure costs are lower than developing your software, allowing you to change solutions without making significant financial investments. In addition, having your data storage infrastructure is much more expensive than using a cloud infrastructure.
  2. The explosion of teleworking since the pandemic has caused companies to need cloud services to decentralize their offices and allow their professionals to work from home.
  3. Cloud services are essential for professionals to access their work environment anytime and anywhere. This promotes mobility and is critical for companies operating in several countries.
  4. Automation is vital to the day-to-day operations of companies in all economic sectors. Software and cloud platforms allow businesses to automate numerous tasks and save time and resources.
  5. Companies that develop and market cloud infrastructures offer their customers a series of security guarantees, such as secure storage of information and files or continuous backups. The operational costs of managing information cybersecurity 100% autonomously can be enormous.
  6. Scalability. Cloud services facilitate company scalability by allowing organizations to contract more or fewer services or jobs depending on their needs at any given time.

The dark allure of getting into a company’s guts

At the beginning of the year, the FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) of the United States alerted the business community that a malware campaign was underway, focused on Apache web servers, which sought to steal credentials to access cloud services of enormous importance for companies such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft 365.

Why were the criminals looking for these credentials? Firstly, it would allow them to access these applications, collect data about the companies’ customers, obtain confidential information or reveal business secrets.

Secondly, cloud applications and services can be used to implement other attacks, benefiting from the resources contracted by companies.

Digital work environments such as Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace, and Software as a Service are increasingly critical for enterprises. Both in terms of the information they host and their operability. That is why having a cloud security strategy for companies is not an option but a top-level necessity.

With the massive use of enterprise software, it is critical that companies have a cloud security strategy in place

Threatening the business continuity of software vendors and their customers

In the last quarter of 2023, the largest distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack in history targeted Google, Microsoft, Cloudflare and Amazon—the four giants of cloud services. The companies were able to repel the cyberattack and prevent the companies employing their cloud and software-as-a-service infrastructures from suffering any negative consequences.

What was the goal of the criminals? To disrupt the organizations’ cloud services and thus jeopardize their business continuity, as well as that of the companies that work on a daily basis with their infrastructure, platforms and programs.

For example, an organization that uses Microsoft 365 to receive and send emails, share documents or work online will see its operability seriously threatened if this work environment suffers interruptions in its services.

Just as work environments and SaaS are tools of great added value for day-to-day business, they have also become critical targets for malicious actors seeking to harm them.

Packages to attack the world’s busiest workspaces

Following the Software as a Service model, some of the world’s most powerful criminal groups have designed their cloud platforms to market cyberattack packages.

In this way, anyone can challenge a company’s security without the need for advanced knowledge to design malware and phishing campaigns or the resources to carry out the attacks.

In recent months, we have learned about the existence of criminal platforms that sell specific kits to try to breach business accounts in Microsoft 365 or Gmail. For example, the Phishing-as-a-Service platform Tycoon 2FA makes it possible to obtain the credentials to access these cloud services. This is done by proxifying the authentication and then stealing the «session key».

This example is not an exception but a worrying trend since it is in addition to the emergence of other similar platforms, such as Greatness, which also allows attacks to be launched against companies to steal their access credentials to the Microsoft 365 work environment. Therefore, it is essential to implement a cloud security strategy for companies considering using malicious kits by potential attackers.

Three essential tips that all companies should follow to protect themselves in the cloud

Beyond the security measures that companies that provide cloud services must implement, starting with secure development practices from the design stage, organizations that contract these services must implement an enterprise cloud security strategy.

Within this enterprise cloud security strategy, companies can implement three basic measures that are essential to prevent attacks and minimize their impact:

  1. Establish multi-factor authentication to access all cloud services. Many security incidents could be avoided if organizations enabled multi-factor authentication to access the software and platforms they work with. This security mechanism hinders the techniques, tactics and procedures that criminals use to illegally enter the cloud services that a company has contracted.
  2. Having a permissions system to limit the spread of a cyberattack. Cybersecurity experts constantly stress the importance of applying the principle of least privilege. Thanks to these basic measures, it is possible to limit the actions a malicious actor can carry out on corporate systems and the information and documents it can obtain.
  3. As part of a company’s cloud security strategy, it is also advisable to train and raise awareness among all personnel in an organization about the risks of social engineering attacks so that they can detect fraud before they fall victim to it.

It is essential to audit how companies implement work environments such as Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace

How to build a solid cloud security strategy for enterprises

For organizations to have a cloud security strategy to protect their data and activities from attacks, they must regularly undergo a cloud security assessment. Why? Cybersecurity experts design and implement various tests on a company’s cloud infrastructure to:

  • Detect problems related to the configuration and implementation of cloud services, the authentication process or the use of insecure APIs.
  • Check for vulnerabilities related to poor role and permissions management.
  • Analyze the security of cloud containers.
  • Find vulnerabilities by exploiting stateless processes and lambda functions.
  • Identify which services are exposed and check for insecure configurations.

Auditing the security of cloud work environments such as Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace

Given the role that work environments such as Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace play in the daily activities of thousands of companies, professionals in charge of a cloud security audit can implement a specific methodology to help organizations develop a comprehensive enterprise cloud security strategy.

For this reason, the Tarlogic team has designed a cloud audit methodology that allows:

  • Review access permissions to cloud work environments and the permission levels of various users.
  • Audit platforms and applications for collaboration and document sharing to prevent data leaks or improper access to information.
  • Check the files and documents shared within the company’s work environment so that users outside the organization cannot access confidential information.
  • Analyze the communications in the cloud work environment to prevent the exfiltration of confidential information or the sharing of malicious files or URLs.
  • Check that companies have adequate security policies in place, follow the best standards in the world, and guarantee the protection of their data and that of their customers, suppliers, and professionals.

In short, implementing a cloud security strategy for companies is essential. Otherwise, companies that work in the cloud may be vulnerable to the growing number of attacks that seek to paralyze work environments and breach corporate accounts in software and applications.

A cloud security assessment is the best way to prevent incidents that undermine business continuity, customer data protection and a company’s market position.