Securing a cloud-based enterprise against unauthorized access is a different game than protecting a downtown office building filled with PCs back in the day. While there’s good reason to celebrate the diversity in hybrid and remote work models, your IT department will equate variety with danger.
That’s because the vast range of end devices and network environments pose a unique challenge to everyone trying to secure a company’s assets, especially when the security policy is based on implicit trust. Even if the IT department can manage that balancing act, this doesn’t consider the compliance or regulatory issues arising from employees working under different privacy legislations.
Many countries govern the collection, storage and processing of personal data with dedicated privacy laws. Examples include the General Data Protection Regulation in the EU and the California Consumer Privacy Act in the US. If you’re also handling credit card information, that brings in additional regulations like the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard.
To operate securely in a modern-day cloud environment, you have to consider everything from device diversity and BYOD policies to employees working from public Wi-Fi or even installing unauthorized applications, also known as shadow IT. Don’t just plan for your current setup, either. With today’s speed of technological innovation, you should contemplate the effects emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain or secure access service edge could have on your company. That also means gathering insights about how your business partners approach these trends. In this connected world, nobody operates in a bubble.
From a technical perspective, this requires you to balance identity and zero trust access frameworks with encryption policies that reflect your company policies. Depending on the specific application your team uses, it may require additional measures for API security, network monitoring and vendor management.
One common solution to monitor your employees’ usage of private applications is a cloud access security broker. Think of it as the bouncer observing behavior patterns and potentially warning administrators about unusual events or hazardous actions.
With the rise of data analysis across the entire world economy, you can basically assume that your enterprise security improves with every data point you feed into the process. The challenge is to implement thorough rules to start with. All technical decisions should mirror sensible office policies. You probably wouldn’t give a new intern unlimited access to customer data. The technological equivalent would be a micro-segmentation approach to managing network access, where each employee can work with the tools and databases that match their respective jobs.
As a rule, you should also rely on individual user identification instead of broad unified access. Once you complement this with phishing-resistant multi-factor authentication and a solution for granular application access, you can prevent the biggest threats to your enterprise network.
Finally, remember that the best security measures are worthless if your team doesn’t understand them. Make sure to provide ample room for ongoing training and security awareness programs. That way, you can rest assured that everyone across your organization knows how to follow policies effectively and doesn’t unconsciously put themselves or company assets at risk.