What is Cloud Data Protection?

Cloud adoption has accelerated rapidly in recent years. Now, almost all companies use at least some cloud-based services, and many have multi-cloud deployments spanning services from multiple providers. As companies store sensitive and valuable data in the cloud, properly securing this data is essential. With cloud-based data storage, security misconfigurations can leave data exposed to unauthorized access and potential data breaches. Cloud data protection is vital to ensuring that cloud-based data is properly secured against a potential breach.

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What is Cloud Data Protection?

How Data is Protected in the Cloud

Cloud-based data is protected using many of the same tools, techniques, and best practices as data stored in on-premises environments. Data should be encrypted both at rest and in transit, and organizations should define least privilege access controls that manage access to sensitive data. Additionally, companies should monitor data access and cloud security configurations for any anomalies or errors that could place cloud data at risk.

Challenges of Cloud Data Protection

Securing data in the cloud faces several challenges, including the following:

  • Visibility: Companies commonly have complex, multi-cloud infrastructures and lack control over the underlying infrastructure where their data is hosted due to the cloud shared responsibility model. The resulting lack of coherent visibility makes it difficult to determine what data the organization has and where it is located.
  • Complex Interactions: Corporate data is spread across numerous applications hosted on-prem and in various cloud environments. The complex interactions between all of these data storage locations and applications make it difficult to define effective least-privilege access controls.
  • Data Encryption: Encryption is the best way to protect data at rest, but it is not always available in cloud environments, placing data at risk. Conversely, many applications encrypt data in transit, increasing the difficulty of identifying potential data leaks.
  • Configuration Management: Each cloud service provider has a collection of security settings that customers must properly configure to protect their cloud infrastructure and the data stored on it. Ensuring that all of these settings are properly configured, and that no sensitive data is stored in publicly accessible repositories can be complex.
  • Cloud-Focused Solutions: Cloud environments have unique security challenges that differ significantly from those of on-prem infrastructure. Protecting cloud data requires security solutions designed for cloud environments.

Benefits of Cloud Data Protection

Implementing strong cloud data protection provides numerous benefits, such as:

  • Data Security: Cloud data protection helps to identify and block attempted data loss and exfiltration. Deploying cloud data protection helps ensure the security of sensitive corporate data.
  • Access Management: Effective cloud data security is based on least privilege access controls. Implementing strong cloud data security helps to control and limit access to corporate data in the cloud.
  • Data Visibility: Implementing zero trust access controls requires that each access request be individually evaluated based on role-based access controls. This provides the organization with valuable visibility into how its data is actually being used.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Data protection regulations are focused on the protection of customers’ sensitive personal data. Enhancing cloud data security helps to ensure that companies meet their regulatory obligations.

How to Protect Data in Your Cloud Environments

Some of the key steps that an organization can take to enhance data security in the cloud include the following:

  • Inventory Cloud Data: Companies can’t properly protect data that they don’t know exists. Performing a complete audit of data stored in the cloud is essential to designing and implementing solutions to secure this data.
  • Encrypt Data: Encryption is the most effective way to protect data against unauthorized exposure. Data should be protected both at rest and in transit within cloud environments.
  • Implement Zero Trust: A zero-trust security strategy limits access to sensitive data to the minimum that a user or application requires to do its job. Implementing zero trust reduces the risks associated with a compromised account or a user’s abuse of their privileges.
  • Monitor Security Settings: Cloud environments have a variety of settings that must be correctly configured to secure the data and applications hosted within. Automated cloud security posture management (CSPM) is essential to rapidly identifying and remediating security misconfigurations at scale.
  • Create Secure Backups: In addition to data leakage, cloud data protection strategies should also address the risks of data loss. Cloud data should be backed up, and these backups should be protected at the same level as the original data.

Cloud Data Protection with Check Point

Strong cloud data protection starts with a strong cloud security architecture. Learn more about designing security for the cloud in this cloud security blueprint. Check Point’s CloudGuard provides organizations with the tools that they need to secure their data and applications in the cloud. Learn more with a free demo today.

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