Securing Your Cloud Infrastructure

Cloud computing enables companies to grow without boundaries. However, growth without a solid controls framework can quickly introduce risk to an environment. Gartner says that “Enterprise attack surfaces are expanding. Risks associated with the use of cyber-physical systems and IoT, open-source code, cloud applications, complex digital supply chains, social media and more have brought organizations’ exposed surfaces outside of a set of controllable assets.” Here we’ll discuss some common cybersecurity issues in cloud computing, show you what to look for in your risk assessment and how to mitigate these items.

Cloud Sprawl

Cloud sprawl is the uncontrolled and unplanned growth of computing resources throughout an environment. Cloud resources are easy to create and delete quickly. Unfortunately, this can lead to confusion about how many resources are being used. It also leads to a lack of visibility into the workloads being deployed in the data center.

Preventing Cloud Sprawl

Companies should review and approve requests to provide resources to prevent cloud sprawl. Another strategy to avoid this issue is to implement cloud management software. 

Cloud management software is often designed to report on a company’s cloud usage and the cost of services across different departments or projects. It also helps with provisioning, billing, and analysis, leading to better decision-making about IT resource utilization. 

Data Exposure in Cloud Computing

The HIPAA Journal estimates that between 70%–80% of organizations surveyed suffered a cloud data breach in the past 18 months (as of June 2020, the date of the report). Data stored in remote locations make it hard for security personnel to monitor and control access to sensitive information. The issue often occurs unintentionally due to poor configuration settings or not enforcing security measures.

Preventing Data Breaches

The first step in preventing a data breach is by having a solid cybersecurity strategy in place. Additionally, companies should:

  1. Restrict access to data
  2. Encrypt all information that is not required for day-to-day operations  
  3. Restrict unauthorized users from accessing services

Shadow IT 

Shadow IT refers to employees outside of IT performing IT functions without authorization. The recent work-from-home trend forced companies to find a way to support their remote workforce. Most turned to cloud solutions. Without adequate protection, employees may knowingly or unknowingly perform unauthorized actions.

Preventing Shadow IT 

Enforce strict policies to prevent employees from accessing applications and systems they don’t have permission to use on their work computers. 

Another cybersecurity strategy to prevent Shadow IT is by monitoring internet activity with network monitoring tools, threat detection software, and identity management solutions.

Cloud Service Provider API Compromise

The most critical API security risks include Broken object level, user, and function-level authorization, excessive data exposure, lack of resources (DDoS), security misconfiguration, and insufficient logging and monitoring.

Preventing API Compromise

When designing an API, it is vital to be aware of the potential threats and vulnerabilities. A few tips for preventing your API from being compromised are below:

  • Implement Strict Authentication and Authorization: Provide strict authentication and authorization between client applications requesting data.
  • Secure Data Transmission: Use HTTPS protocol when transmitting sensitive information over both public and private networks (ensure that SSL/TLS certificates are verified).
  • Implement Rate Limiting: With increased use and popularity, APIs are prime targets for DDoS cyberattacks. Avoid this by placing rate limits on how often your API can be called within a specific time. 
  • Use an API Gateway: API gateways manage API traffic. They authenticate, control, and analyze how APIs are used.

The Exploitation of Multi-Tenancy Environments

Multi-Tenancy allows cloud service providers to get maximum hardware utilization, minimizes the cost of operating and maintaining a data center, and offers greater flexibility in provisioning resources. This convenience can create security risks for companies using these shared environments. Specifically:

  • Lack of Isolation: Lack of data isolation in multi-tenant infrastructure makes it a prime target for cyberattacks by competitors or external sources. These attacks happen due to a lack of authorization controls for shared physical resources.
  • Tenant Workload Interference: If one tenant creates an overload, it could negatively impact the workload performance for other tenants.
  • Compromised Virtualization Layer: If a virtualization layer gets compromised, the other virtual machines on the host are impacted. Thus, a malicious user could change configuration settings on each company’s virtual machine.

Mitigating Multi-Tenancy Security Issues

These risks may lead companies to avoid a multi-tenancy environment. However, there are many ways to avoid these issues. For example:   

  • Protect Connections: Use a VPN client for secure data transmissions.
  • Implement Encryption: Encrypt data in transit and at rest with an encryption key management system. 
  • Enforce Access Control: Implement access control lists (ACLs) on all containers that contain sensitive information. 
  • Perform Audits: Perform regular audits about who is accessing what resources. 

Cloud computing gives companies resources to scale their business quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively. Given the benefits, it is no wonder companies are embracing it for their digital transformation strategy. However, companies should consider the security risks involved. That way, they can plan their transition and minimize their chances of a costly security incident. 

Whether you are just starting your cloud journey or are already migrated your business applications and data the cloud,, vTECH io’s security specialists can support your initiatives and guide you on your way to achieving a robust cloud strategy that ensures productivity, reduces cost and help you stay one step ahead of the cyber criminals.

Contact us to learn more.


Cybersecurity Implications of the Escalating Russia-Ukraine Conflict

In today’s modern era, global conflicts look a lot different than they used to. With the essential role that computers, cell phones, smart technology and the internet play in our daily, personal and professional lives, there’s no doubt that this vital tech has become a real go-to target on the world stage as of late. As tensions continued to rise to new and uncertain heights between Russia and Ukraine over the past several months, one thing remained abundantly clear: the combat breaking out between the two countries wasn’t just a physical one. Cyberwarfare had begun well before any bullets were fired. But what exactly does potential cyber warfare mean for your organization and how can you ensure cybersecurity preparation? 

The Current Russia-Ukraine Conflict

As Russia and Ukraine enter a state of physical warfare that many have feared for months — even years — now, what many fail to realize is that the two have been engaged in cyberattacks long before things escalated to real blows. As countries like America and the United Kingdom prepare to launch global cyberattacks of their own at a moment’s notice to protect their ally Ukraine against Russia’s continued cybersecurity threats, there’s a real worry that the world’s cybersecurity is at risk. This begs a couple of questions: How legitimate are these threats and what should organizations be prepared for?

As noted by the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA), there are no specific or credible cyber threats to the U.S. homeland at this time. However, Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine — which has involved cyber-attacks on the Ukrainian government and critical infrastructure organizations — may impact organizations both within and beyond the region (particularly in the wake of costs imposed by the United States and our allies).

The Increased Risk of Cybersecurity Attacks

The increased risk of cybersecurity attacks — not just in Russia and Ukraine, but the world over — means that your organization needs to be ready for anything and everything that could come next. This could include everything from malware to distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks to phishing campaigns and all sorts of other cybersecurity risks in between.

To gauge the current threat level and know what exactly it is that you need to prepare for, it’s worth looking to the experts. Take the DHS cybersecurity strategy, for example. This five-year plan of sorts gives you a good idea of how the government plans to handle any serious threats. The DHS’s Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency is another useful place to look. You can also continue to look to vTECH io. We have the know-how and the expertise to help you protect yourself from the threats of ransomware, the dark web or other forms of cyberattacks that might be looming ahead. Read on to know precisely what you need to prepare for. 

What You Need to Prepare For

While Ukraine and Russia have been engaged in cyberattacks for years now, there’s a very real fear that these attacks will spread outside of the parameters of these two countries and go global. Your incident response plan is going to be integral in keeping you safe from whatever may come. But how do you know what you need to prepare for? After all, not everyone had the foresight to attend cybersecurity conferences 2022 or read up on the best cybersecurity strategies before Russia and Ukraine went to war. Well, preparing for today’s heightened cybersecurity risks starts by taking the following steps to create a cybersecurity strategy and reduce your likelihood of being targeted.

Steps To Take to Reduce the Likelihood of Being Targeted

To reduce your likelihood of being targeted in the heightened security risks between Russia and Ukraine, consider following the steps we’ve outlined below to create your cybersecurity strategy. 

Follow SEC Guidance on Cybersecurity

Many government institutions specialize in making cybersecurity recommendations for organizations. These include the SEC, the CISA and the NYDFS cybersecurity regulation. Take inspiration from these institutions when forming your organization’s cybersecurity preparedness plan.

Get Cyberinsurance

Another important step your organization can take is obtaining cyberinsurance. This kind of policy will protect your organization from liability in any sort of data breach that concerns your customers’ sensitive information.

Invest in Zero-Trust Network Architecture

Zero-trust network architecture is a cybersecurity strategy that assumes every user on your network holds the potential to be a threat, requiring everyone to verify themselves every time they log in. Like blockchain cybersecurity, which uses the blockchain to reduce the risk of fraudulent activity, zero-trust network architecture is a great way to bring maximum security to your preparedness plan.

Hire a Certified Ethical Hacker

Today, you can hire employees who have pursued cybersecurity certificate programs or studied to become cybersecurity majors. These individuals — sometimes referred to as certified ethical hackers — have gotten the cybersecurity certification to keep your organization safe. These educated men and women in cybersecurity know exactly what steps to take to reduce your likelihood of being targeted.

Conduct Cybersecurity Risk Assessment

Last but not least, conducting computer security risk assessment and incident management can be an excellent and foolproof way to mitigate your organization’s risk. By consulting experts in the cybersecurity industry — such as vTECH io — you can get a customized and specialized approach that suits your organization’s unique cybersecurity needs.

The Bottom Line: How vTECH io Can Help

If you’re still feeling uncertain about the current Russia-Ukraine conflict and are unsure of how the increased risk of cybersecurity attacks and incidents might affect your organization, look no further than vTECH io. We have the insight you need on the escalated cyber risk and can help you determine the steps you should take to reduce your likelihood of becoming a target and the severity of the potential damage.

At vTECH io, we stress the importance of the multilayered security approach and the necessity of ensuring that there are no gaps. Our cybersecurity defense framework addresses each of these layers with the utmost care and precision, helping you to detect, prevent, and respond to all cybersecurity incidents that may come your way.

For more information, contact vTECH io today or visit our website, where you will find a library of downloadable resources on the different areas we can assist in your cybersecurity preparedness plan. Click here to learn more.