- Identify relevant regulations and standards
Before you can think of anything else, identify the relevant regulations and standards that apply to your organization and ensure compliance in the cloud. Since the regulations vary from one industry to the other as well as regions, such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) in the financial industry, find out the ones that apply to your industry or region. You must understand these regulations and standards and ensure that your cloud environment is configured to meet these requirements.
- Conduct a security risk assessment
Carry out a risk assessment to identify potential security threats and vulnerabilities in your organization’s cloud environment. The assessment should include a review of the security controls, data access controls and incident response procedures. Based on the results you get from the risk assessment, you should develop a security plan to mitigate potential threats and protect sensitive data.
Malicious people are always looking for ways to access sensitive data, and encryption might be one of the right tools to protect it in the cloud. Encrypt all data at rest and in transit to prevent unauthorized access or theft. Consider using encrypted virtual private networks (VPNs) to secure communications between cloud services and clients.
- Use multi-factor authentication
The first step in securing your cloud data is limiting access. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds an extra layer of security to user accounts by requiring users to provide two or more forms of authentication, such as a password and a security token. You should enable multi-factor authentication for all cloud services to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data.
- Conduct regular security audits
Regular security audits are important in ensuring that your cloud environment remains compliant with regulations and standards. The audits should include a review of security controls, data access controls and incident response procedures. Based on the audit results, organizations should update their security plan and make any necessary changes to their cloud environment.
- Choose a reliable cloud provider
Cloud providers are not the same, so you should choose the one that suits most, if not all, your needs. The safety and accessibility of your organization’s data in the cloud depend largely on the reliability and security of the cloud provider. Carefully evaluate potential cloud providers and choose one with a strong track record of security and data protection. Organizations should also review the provider’s security policies and procedures and the measures they take to prevent data breaches.
- Establish data backup and disaster recovery procedures
No one wants to lose their sensitive data when a disaster strikes. Therefore, you should establish a data backup and disaster recovery plan or procedures to ensure that your data is always protected in the event of a data breach or disaster. These procedures should include regular backups of all data stored in the cloud and a plan for restoring data in the event of an emergency.
- Train your employees
Employees play a critical role in ensuring compliance in the cloud. Companies must train employees regularly on the importance of data security and the measures they should take to protect sensitive data. Train your staff on the relevant regulations and standards and the consequences of non-compliance.