One of the core features of tech and cybersecurity is that most things are constantly changing, striving to be more efficient, more effective, and more able to take on threats which are also evolving every day. With more and more organizations switching to remote or hybrid work, the use of cloud-based solutions—for data storage, computing, security, and more—has increased as well. There are a number of ways in which the cloud can help a company achieve its goals, carry out its operations, and protect its sensitive assets. However, the unique benefits of cloud technology also come with unique hurdles to overcome, and your approach to data loss prevention (DLP) should account for those differences.
Cloud Benefits to DLP
Some of the general benefits of using cloud technology include ease of access for remote and hybrid workers as well as a more streamlined process for operations including collaboration on projects, file sharing, and viewing or downloading data. Overall, cloud technology can help an organization achieve higher levels of productivity and efficiency of operations, allow employees to achieve a wide range of tasks smoothly from remote locations, and decrease the need for on-premises storage, computing, and other functions that can be hosted on a cloud server rather than internally.
The adoption of cloud technology also allows certain organizations to access a variety of services and facilities that they may lack the scale or budget to handle internally. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) may not be able to employ and maintain full in-house security teams, but cybersecurity is still vital to their operations. Cloud-based solutions can enable these companies to build a strong and effective security strategy to protect their data against theft and leakage. These include tools that address a variety of cybersecurity concerns, including cloud-based solutions designed specifically to prevent data loss in the context of the cloud by addressing the unique challenges of keeping the cloud secure.
Cloud Challenges to DLP
While use of the cloud has a great many benefits, it also presents some risks to data that are more prominent issues than with traditional methods. Because many organizations make use of cloud technology in the form of a small arsenal of microservices, the attack surface is large, spread out, and incredibly difficult to monitor effectively. Companies also suffer due to a lack of understanding of where the cloud service provider’s responsibility for data protection ends and the responsibility of the organization begins; this can lead to some substantial gaps in security coverage of sensitive data if it is not addressed and accounted for properly.
Furthermore, the increase in productivity and ease of access that make cloud technology so appealing for businesses are the very things that put data more at risk. There is more information being stored and sent, there are more access points for bad actors, and it is much more difficult to monitor the attack surface for unauthorized users or suspicious behavior. As with many things, especially in the world of cybersecurity, each organization is responsible for finding the right balance between effectiveness and security—how to protect data and other assets without hindering vital business operations.
Making the Cloud Work for You
Fortunately, none of the potential drawbacks of using cloud technology are insurmountable. It may be different from and more difficult than protecting non-cloud-based data and operations, but it is absolutely possible to establish and maintain a security strategy that works for your organization. First, it is important to decide what specific cloud solutions are necessary or helpful for the specific work you’re doing and how you do it; resources such as Gartner’s DLP Magic Quadrant may help to narrow you’re your options based on “different niches or categories within the industry and which ones each vendor most closely aligns with.”
Once you have established what solutions will be of use to you, cloud DLP essentially boils down to layering protection from several different angles to decrease the possibility of any single vulnerability causing a significant data breach. According to a research report from Enterprise Strategy Group, one-third of survey respondents said they had lost cloud data, while an additional 28% stated that they were unsure whether they had experience cloud data loss or not, due to lack of visibility into their data. Securing your organization and its data against breach or attack requires visibility, diligence, and understanding of where you are vulnerable and how to approach and manage that vulnerability.
The use of cloud technology for a wide variety of purposes is ubiquitous and growing. This can be a boon for many businesses who can make use of the cloud for storage, computing, and security functions that they lack the budget or resources to handle in-house. Cloud technology, when used right, can increase the productivity and efficiency of your business operations. However, it is crucial to remember that cloud technology is not the same as traditional methods, and therefore should not be treated the same from a cybersecurity standpoint. Understanding your cloud tools and maintaining a robust, layered security strategy can mitigate these risks and challenges, making the cloud work to the advantage of your organization.
PJ Bradley is a writer on a wide variety of topics, passionate about learning and helping people above all else. Holding a bachelor’s degree from Oakland University, PJ enjoys using a lifelong desire to understand how things work to write about subjects that inspire interest. Most of PJ’s free time is spent reading and writing. PJ is also a regular writer at Bora.