Cloud is no longer the challenger — it's now the obvious choice for many businesses. For many executives, the question isn’t whether, or where, a cloud solutions provider fits into their operation, but which one to choose? In Australia, 96 per cent of tech professionals are already using at least one private or public cloud solution.

No matter which provider they choose, security remains something to be taken seriously. A business wouldn't invest in a company car without a lock. Likewise, cloud assets are far too valuable for a hands-off, set-and-forget approach. Leaving the safety and security of a business cloud infrastructure entirely in the hands of its cloud provider is not a sufficient substitute for a robust security solution.

For the cloud to live up to its full potential, the burden of security has to be shared between a business and its cloud provider. If this isn’t the case, the flexibility, agility, and cost savings the cloud brings to everyday activities risk being outweighed by the threat of data breaches and data loss.

Imagine the cloud as a business's physical office space — think of cloud security as a safe that holds a business's valuables. Even with a lock on the front door, the second layer of protection can be the difference between a break-in and a robbery.

Cloud security can cover anything from broader technologies and policies to the specific controls and services involved in defending a business’s cloud data, applications, and infrastructure.

Public cloud environments present IT professionals with a fundamentally different security predicament than private cloud environments, but that doesn’t mean they’re immune to familiar threats, like phishing, account hijacking, or data breaches. Trusted security tools like firewalls, virtual private networks (VPNs), penetration testing, and employee education are necessary.

In an era of cloud-based threats, a principle of zero trust has emerged to underpin these practices. Zero trust means verifying anyone and everything connected to the cloud, both inside and outside the business. Any incoming or outgoing connection should be identified, scrutinised, and secured.

As the cloud continues to cement itself as the new normal, the stakes for failing to meet cloud security challenges will rise. According to McAfee, cloud spending in the first quarter of 2020 tripled that of the previous year.

Unfortunately, the consequences of poor cloud hygiene, and the vulnerabilities they create, are also becoming more evident, both to attackers and businesses. Once a cloud environment is compromised, attackers can use that entry point as a staging ground for further havoc by hiding themselves within the guise of normal activity parameters.

Good cloud security means being proactive, rather than reactive. Relying on a single line of defence is insufficient, and will not offset the degree of risk here. The increased efficiency allowed for by cloud technologies escalates the potential damage that can be caused.

Unlike traditional data centres, public clouds have clear perimeters, and without good cloud security, any cloud-secured assets are only as safe as your weakest link.

Matthew’s 19 years of experience in business and IT has honed a set of skills targeted towards bridging the worlds of business and technology and making people the centre of progress.

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Cloud services Security