Quick Tips for Secure Cloud Deployment
“Can we move this to the cloud?” This question will continue to increase in frequency for the foreseeable future, as we have seen IT exponentially converging toward cloud Software as a Service (SaaS) over the last several years. While some of the more popular names like DropBox, Salesforce and Google Drive dominate the consumer and “prosumer” branding space, there are more powerful tools like Microsoft Azure (which underpins Microsoft 365 Office Suite and much more) that are increasing in market share for small business and enterprise.
When your company transitions to a SaaS model, it will be important to consider the security risks since the cloud deployment is at the top of the stack and most typically managed and secured by a third party cloud service provider (CSP). So what is an IT manager or CTO to do? Cloud computing and storage has immense benefits, but how does one vet the various risks and choose the right SaaS solution?
A cloud security checklist!
Evaluate Your Data: Paramount to everything else, IT and security staff must determine what type of data will be stored to the cloud and perform a risk assessment against it. How valuable is the data? What happens if it is lost or stolen? If it is inaccessible for hours/days/weeks what are the specific consequences to the business? As part of this assessment, it is also important to understand and assess the business continuity and disaster remediation practices of the SaaS provider. How long will your company be holding redundant data in house until the SaaS solution is trusted entirely?
Ask About Encryption: Know how securely the data is transmitted to the cloud. Is it encrypted during transmission and while stored? Many people will take this for granted, because most data would be transmitted securely by default, but it is important to know the risks and the procedures while taking extra precautions based on your own company’s potential edge cases.
Consider Redundancy: Verify that the data in the SaaS environment is being backed up. How much redundancy exists? What are the provider’s data retention procedures? What are the procedures or fees for extracting data?
Triple Check and Be Prepared: Since your company will not be managing the connectivity, storage, or the applications once they have been deployed to the cloud, it is crucial to understand how the SaaS application is running. Be sure to understand the intimate details of segmentation, resource allocation and security. Depending on your choice of provider and your budget, as well as the provider’s service packages, it may be possible to save money if you do not have to make any changes once deployment has been deployed. This is an opportunity to benefit in the long term by doing sufficient research up front.
Ask About Ongoing Security: Make sure that the data transmission and storage is compliant with modern security standards. Discuss what monitoring the provider has in place, and make sure the client-facing interface supports things like 2FA as a standard practice. Are the submitting themselves to regular penetration testing? What are their internal remediation protocols?
What About Passwords and Authentication? Review the type of authentication that is being used by the SaaS. Credentials, if compromised, could allow access to your corporate network, or other data if not properly segregated. So, make sure that authentication data is not shared between internal systems and the SaaS deployment. Also, as a general practice, make sure that all passwords used to log into the SaaS environment (and everywhere else) are unique, complex and have a lockout feature enabled.
Work With a Trusted Partner! While there are a million buzzwords and protocols that can be thrown around in a SaaS sales pitch, the thing that actually matters most is the cloud service provider itself. Nobody can be an expert in running their own business while also being an IT, cloud computing, storage and security expert. Make sure you choose a CSP that has the proper credentials and experience to manage your cloud SaaS environment effectively.
Choose GoVanguard. A Microsoft Gold Partner and Tier 1 CSP. We offer service and deployment of the entire suite of Microsoft’s offering: powerful, elastic, cost-effective and featuring world class security standards. All Microsoft tools integrate with Office 365, Teams, Defender ATP and the glue that holds it all together: Microsoft Azure. Prices for the entire Microsoft Suite start in the $5.00 range per month. Contact Us to get started.
At GoVanguard, we recommend a systematic approach to information security. Carefully and simply implemented security protocols can minimize the risk of exposure to data breaches and the penalties the proceed them. In order to successfully navigate data security protocols during this period of global pandemic, compliance protocols must be in place. That is why we have a rigorous cybersecurity risk assessment and program implementation regimen in place!
Reach out to us today and see how easy it is to take control of your security and keep your data secure.