Securing Financial Services in the Cloud

Recent years have seen a rapid rise in cloud adoption, as organizations began understanding the benefits offered by cloud computing. Cloud computing entails real-world security implications for an array of industries and financial services are one of the most affected by unique cybersecurity challenges. These challenges involve adhering to rules & regulations to protect consumer data and prevent fraud.

The banks of 2030 are touted to be significantly distinguishable from what they are today, which is evident from their current efforts on employing strategies to be future-ready. Cloud computing is a key indicator of the shifting landscape of financial services and the mainstream focus of chief information officers, board members, and C-suite executives.

Leveraging Cloud Solutions to Pave New Frontiers 

Retail financial service firms are seeing the value that the cloud brings, after having got through the ‘phase of disillusionment.’ With the implementation of PSD2 – second Payment Services Directive, the emergence of fintech competitors, and the advent of blockchain technologies, several banking firms are realizing the cloud’s viable route to future success. With cloud solutions in hand, a financial service organization has a real chance to evolve.

For banks, organizations are aware that the implications of storing sensitive data in the cloud, which they cannot completely understand, might be detrimental. Most organizations have been reluctant to hosting highly sensitive data on the cloud. However, in the contemporary cloud landscape, uncertainties remain. Most financial services organizations are confused about what information must be retained on the cloud. This confusion deepens further with the growing sophistication of cyberthreats alongside proliferating regulations.

Capital markets and banking leaders see cloud as a destination for financial services firms, where they can store applications and data while accessing advanced software applications through the internet. Banking leaders have been relying on the cloud’s value as a faster, cheaper, and more elastic solution alternative to on-premises data storage. Apply cloud technology in six key areas will help banks fuel improved shareholder returns and business performance, which include enterprise synchronization, driving business innovation, exploring new methodologies and new talent, building resilient operations, enhancing IT security, and scaling computing costs based on requirements.

What Must Financial Services Organizations Seek Out to Maintain Security?

Complete awareness on evolving threats and visibility into applications is of paramount importance to financial services organizations at present. As misconfigurations of the cloud continue to make organizations vulnerable, there is a dire need to find ways for closing the attack window on potent cybercriminals. One of the key ways is building cloud-based multi-tier architectures. Customers in the financial services space have the ability to segregate between tiers to ensure optimal security in their cloud management.

While looking for cloud solutions to keep up with evolving threats in financial services, firms must consider highly scalable security solutions to safeguard their applications from automated and targeted attacks. These include application-layer DDoS, OWASP top 10 attacks, defacement, and data breaches. Organizations in the finance space are highly likely to invest in solutions that automate public cloud-based security policy compliance and provide visibility into distributed cloud environments. Such solutions offer continuous infrastructure scans to detect misconfigurations while actively implementing security best practices and preventing violations before they turn into risks.

To sum up, committing to such solutions will stand financial services firms in good stead for being able to completely leverage the benefits of cloud computing in financial services. All this while maintaining the required control and security.

Consult our financial services cloud experts to secure your cloud. Book a free consultation here.

Why Is The Need for Modern Cloud Security Solutions Rising?

In this elastic and inconclusive world of cloud computing, realizing the compliance and security objectives needs modern, autonomous, and agile security strategies. This is expected to foster a culture of ownership regarding security across an organization. Traditional approaches to cybersecurity have been putting organizations at risk. Last couple of years have seen widespread adoption of modern, updated strategies for cloud security that mitigate risks and help organizations achieve their business objectives efficiently.

Most of the traditional IT environments follow a perimeter-based security approach of ‘castles and moats.’ This has made organizations rethink the way they approach data privacy and security on the cloud. Leading cloud providers place high priority to secure their services and infrastructure, subject to stringent, regular third-party compliance audits. Although these CSPs offer a secure foundation, organizations are still responsible for their data security in the cloud and comply with data protection requirements.

Key Steps to Ensure Modern Cloud Security

Collaboration and Converged Approach

Organizations are aligning their IT teams and decision-makers circling an end-to-end view of information protection and infrastructure security, including cloud environments. The first step in furthering an organization’s collective understanding is to standardize the language for discussing data security and the cloud.

Upskilling and on job training activities play a key role, as informed users are part of an organization’s security foundation. Inducing the idea that everyone within an organization has a role to play in the security chain is imperative. This is because any disconnect within an organization’s employees and IT teams will create potentially exploitable gaps.

Integrated Solutions

The chief information security officers (CISOs) have been increasingly emphasizing to minimize the number of tools that they have to manage. However, on the side of cloud development, an explosion of tools & services has been observed, built for specific tasks. This has further given rise to new demand for resources and significantly enhancing risks, which can only be brought under control with convergence and simplification. Most CISOs are looking at converged and integrated security platform solutions as alternative to point solutions.

Modern cloud security includes solutions for an increasing list of necessities, such as next-gen firewalls, CASB, DLP, elements of trust, web security, etc. Behavioral analytics complements these and enables applying the accurate level of access controls for users across disparate and changing systems. This is why, modern cloud security must utilize converged services, as leveraging these is the key to consolidate tools in the security arsenal. This increases effectiveness and reduces operational burden.

Looking at the Risk Posture Through the Data Protection Lens

Cloud adoption continues to accelerate in light of its flexibility and convenience. However, this involves moving organizational data between environments, which calls for a data-centric approach for considering security protocols. There is no single solution for cloud security and organizations need to take comprehensive approaches to better protect their data. Security hygiene remains a must-have, but looking at the risk posture through the data protection lens is also imperative while implementing behavioral analytics and DLP.

Overstressing Results in Lost Opportunities

To sum up, CIOs need to be aware about evolving security threats. They need to ensure that security teams do not hold back any cloud initiative with unsubstantiated security issues. Overstressing over the fears is likely to result in inappropriate spending and lost opportunities. The time now needs CIOs to change their perception from whether the cloud is secure to are they using the cloud securely. Using this approach, organizations can develop an effective cloud strategy and predict the imminent trends in the cloud security landscape and benefit from them.

What do you need to make your cloud 100% secure? Consult the cloud experts who have done it for many clients. Book an appointment here

What Aspects Will Influence The Adoption of Cloud Security Solutions In The Upcoming Years?

Whether the organizations have already adopted the cloud or are just embarking on the journey, protecting data from theft or loss is their ultimate goal looking forward. For this, embracing the opportunity to redefine their deployment strategy is essential for the organizations. This and to ensure that their strategy integrates the cloud considerations throughout.

2019 saw a splendid growth in the cloud computing market, with an increased focus of organizations on protecting their data throughout. As organizations move from their legacy systems to cloud computing, they realize the benefits of capital expenditure and cost savings while leveraging SaaS solutions. However, with continued cloud adoption, it has become indispensable for organizations to maintain an unshakable cloud security posture.

Decoding the Impacts of Future Regulations on Cloud Security

Achieving compliance is an upstream hassle for organizations. Existing regulations are updated regularly while new ones are implemented to handle evolving issues. While compliance does not guarantee security, without being compliant achieving security is difficult. For example, the EU’s GDPR is created to stub data breaches faced by businesses and safeguarding personally identifiable information (PII) from attackers. Such regulations impact the growth of most organizations even slightly linked to businesses in Europe.

As the consequences and penalties imposed on non-compliance are hefty, it is most likely that organizations uncover their limitations. Security techniques and legacy architecture are key limitations that prompt them to adopt public cloud services built with compliance policies in mind. It has become highly important for organizations to put security first, which otherwise can result in solving the issue of compliance at the cost of complete security and visibility.

‘Shift Left’ Approach to Cloud Security

Organizations are realizing that their application or workload security is not the responsibility of cloud providers. They have to be responsible for themself, when it comes to data compliance and security. A popular trend in the cloud security landscape is that organizations seek early and continuous security solutions for addressing the challenges head-on. 

Micro-segmentation, the latest technology, is modern, smart and strong enough to handle an increasingly complex environment. This technology is smooth in accomplishing early-value applications when it comes to addressing infrastructure problems.

The strongest micro-segmentation technology serves as a built-in security solution, with the capability to handle heterogeneous data centers. This explains why several organizations are choosing solutions that comprise robust complementary controls like incident response and breach detection.

Looking Into Cloud Security in 2020

The top priority of organizations who are moving to cloud security is protecting their data, wherever it resides. A comprehensive description of this will depend on the position clients are in their cloud journey. Are they just embarking on their cloud journey? Have they completely adopted the cloud as a deployment platform of choice?

Protecting data from leakage or loss remains the ultimate goal, for which, organizations must embrace the opportunity to redefine their deployment strategy overall. As the adoption of private and public cloud continues, the majority of organizations find themselves in a hybrid cloud environment. Moving ahead, the ability to protect critical assets and applications across multiple environments remains the key for organizations, while ebbing the overall attack surface.

What do you need to make your cloud 100% secure? Consult the cloud experts who have done it for many clients. Book an appointment here

Difference Between Cloud Security and Traditional Security: What You Need to Know

Traditional concerns of security seem to be wading in criticality among security practitioners. Currently, cybersecurity issues that are higher in the security spectrum, influenced by decisions of senior management, are replacing the traditional ones. The adoption of cloud computing has been on an upward spiral as a cost-saving model. Several businesses are recognizing the inherent risks associated with the cloud. Proper management of these risks requires distinct approaches for data safety, specific security tools, and ceaseless awareness.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines cloud computing as computing resources, which are released with minimal service provider interaction or management effort and can be provisioned rapidly. While the services are scaled up or scaled down for meeting demand, the traditional security is not capable of reacting to such scalability requirements effectively.

Key Ways that Cloud Security Differs from Traditional Security

While the benefits of cloud computing are evident, they are held with caution with the view of security. The cloud computing space is dynamic and ever-changing, which has tugged various security threats in recent years. Cloud security is currently likened to IT security, and understanding the differences between them gives a clear picture of why the term “cloud” is secure.

Bypassing Traditional Perimeter Defences

Security has everything to do with accessibility. While a traditional environment controls access through a perimeter security model, a cloud environment is thoroughly connected, which facilitates the traffic for bypassing traditional perimeter defences. The system and data are exposed to threats from malicious insiders, account hijacks, poor identity & credentials management, and unsafe application programming interfaces (APIs). However, preventing unauthorized access to the cloud needs adopting a data-centric approach. Therefore, the emphasis is placed on data encryption, authorization process, multi-factor authentication and throughput security.

Data Storage and Backup

Traditional data storage comprises redundancy and backups housed onsite or across multiple sites. This not only requires manual efforts but also is expensive, along with the need for stringent backup schedule, buying additional storage hardware to mitigate inherent risks. The argument on greater control over data storage & backups regarding on-premises deployment continues among organizations. However, the scenario is not what it seems considering heavy dependency of on-premises approach on human responsibility and proximity.

Cloud-based data storage and backups is automated and eliminates the dependency on the IT team and is less vulnerable to physical damage. Reputed cloud providers have geographically-spread, highly secure and high tech data centers to ensure prevention of data compromisation. Redundancy and data storage in the cloud necessitates shared responsibility.

Mitigating Security Threats

With cloud computing and the right cloud hosting partner, organizations don’t need to depend solely on their IT teams or make investments in latest hardware upgrades. Furthermore, the dependency on traditional security is reduced. Automated processes such as AI-based network scanning and emails along with updates have improved data security in cloud computing. This further rids the issues related to traditional security measures, such as missed maintenance headlines, human errors, and outdated equipment.

It is clear that neither tradition nor cloud security is completely safe from data breaches. However, cloud security plugs the security gaps more reliably through automation, compared to the traditional security. As security threats evolve faster every day, organizations cannot solely depend upon manual security practices. With cloud security, the CPA of organizations gets automated along with AI-driven security defences. This frees the IT teams to focus on bigger picture strategies and innovation.

Growing Dependency of Organizations on Cloud Security

The current world is data-led and information-driven. Cybersecurity remains on the top of the mind of organizations that look to protect business operations and critical assets. At present, organizations are increasingly depending on data for daily operations. This has made it crucial to possess systems integrated into the infrastructure, which is not only cost-effective but also secure and scalable. The data retrieval and storage in traditional servers are insecure and archaic. This is why, the dependency on the cloud infrastructure is growing among organizations worldwide, to address complex needs for data transmission, analysis, and storage.

Further reading

Upgrade your cloud security now. Book a free demo!

We are now live on AWS Marketplace.
The integrated view of your cloud infrastructure is now easier than ever!