Today’s businesses face a slew of issues in enabling secure data exchange while preserving workforce productivity and meeting innovation goals. Implementing data security standards might seem daunting, but the key is to shift the focus from keeping things out to securing the most valuable asset—data—allowing for secure data mobility, collaboration, and productivity gains.
According to a 2020 Markets and Markets research report “Cloud Security Market”, cloud deployments are predicted to be a US$68.5 billion market by 2025 due to the flexibility, convenience, and low cost of securely storing and transferring data between commercial cloud providers. Current cloud deployments, however, represent considerable risks that may be addressed with minimal infrastructure procurement and access improvements.
Currently, the majority of businesses buy cloud instances in their own name. In the reconnaissance phase, this lack of obfuscation in the billing trail makes it an easy target for threat actors. Adding a layer of procurement obfuscation is a critical first step for businesses to better safeguard their most valuable data sources from potential attackers.
The concept behind obfuscated billing is that if an adversary’s name is on the bill, they may be able to obtain public information that link an organization to a cloud deployment. The cloud deployment is procured through separate legal entities when adopting an obfuscation method, making the end user’s discovery much more difficult.
Given the rise of ransomware strategies that encrypt vital company processes and data, cloud obfuscation is a critical best practice. Many recent ransomware attacks featured the theft of credentials, allowing hackers to gain access to cloud instances. These backup environments were then infected with bogus data, rendering them useless in the event of a ransomware attack.
Enterprises should make it considerably more difficult for threat actors to even be aware of the existence of these backup environments. One method is to completely separate the most sensitive company data from enterprise cloud deployments. This can be accomplished by setting up a completely distinct commercial cloud instance for the company’s most sensitive data, which is only accessible under zero trust measures. Furthermore, this data should be encrypted in transit using keys that the organization controls.
Cloud deployments make data environments incredibly cost-effective and secure. Additional layers of protection are necessary to secure an organization’s crown jewels because threat actors’ techniques are evolving, and there are more possible insider threats. For instance, the Department of Defense has long used the term “Special Access” to protect its most sensitive systems.
Special Access Programs (SAPs) necessitate a thorough vetting procedure that goes above and beyond normal security clearance standards, and is only granted to those with a need to know, and whose identities are frequently hidden under code names.
This strategy can teach commercial organizations some valuable lessons. Whether it is sensitive consumer data, trade secrets, health records or financial information, every company has data that needs extra security. Obfuscated cloud management is a critical strategy for safeguarding one’s crown jewels.
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