As already mentioned in the previous article, Cloud computing has transformed the way organizations approach IT, enabling them to adopt new business models, to provide more services and productivity, and reduce IT costs. Cloud computing technologies can be implemented in different kinds of architectures, under different service and deployment models. At the same time they can also coexist with other technologies and software design approaches. Looking at the broad cloud computing landscape continuing to grow rapidly, it becomes obvious that access to sensitive data in the cloud should be properly monitored and controlled.

Cloud services facilitates data management and applications across a network linked through mobile devices, computers or tablets. But these networks can pose significant challenges for front-end security in the cloud computing environment. For overcoming any threats, there is a need of multiple levels of user-enforced security safeguards which are able to restrict access, authenticate user identity, preserve data integrity and protect the privacy of individual data. When implementing appropriate safeguards, policies and procedures, private data can be securely stored and accessed in third-party cloud servers by a network of users.

Best practices for monitoring access to sensitive data in the cloud

If compared to on premise data centres, cloud-based infrastructures are actually not that easy to monitor and manage. For providing high-quality data protection in the cloud, there is a number of measures which must be undertaken

1. Provide end-to-end visibility

The lack of visibility across the infrastructure is one of the little disadvantages of the cloud-based solutions. Consequently, there is a need of ensuring end-to-end visibility into the infrastructure, data, and applications. The implementation of an efficient identity and access management system can help limiting the access to critical data. It also makes it clear to understand who exactly accesses and works with your business’s critical data. A high-level granularity of access management allows granting elevated privileges only to users that actually need it.

2. Implement Privileged Access Management to Secure access to valuable information

Privileged Account Management (PAM) systems are designed to control access to highly critical systems. PAM security and governance tools support companies in complying with legal and regulatory compliance. Their capabilities allow privileged users to have efficient and secure access to the systems they manage. Besides it offers secure and streamlined way to authorize and monitor all privileged users for all relevant systems.


3. Monitor implementation and audit access to sensitive data

It is necessary to conduct periodic audits to identify security vulnerabilities and monitor compliance. Continuous monitoring and auditing of the cloud infrastructure allows detecting possible attacks and data breaches at an early stage. PAM capabilities will also help you to successfully monitor sensitive data and manage access to it.

4. Use RBAC to Control what users have access to.

Role-based access control (RBAC) is a method of restricting network access based on the roles of individual users within an enterprise. RBAC lets employees have access rights only to the information they need to do their jobs and prevents them from accessing information that doesn’t pertain to them. An employee’s role in an organization determines the permissions that individual is granted and ensures that lower-level employees can’t access sensitive information or perform high-level tasks.

5. Use SIEM Technology

SIEM technology supports threat detection and security incident response through the real-time event collection and historical analysis of security events, from a wide variety of event and contextual data sources. SIEM also helps enterprises manage the increasing volumes of logs coming from disparate online sources. Storing the logs from different sources in a central secured database make the process of consolidation and analysis easy.

SIEM supports compliance reporting and incident investigation through analysis of historical data from these sources, as well.

6. Build an efficient incident-response strategy.

It is recommended to make a plan which would help you react immediately to a possible security incident in an adequate manner. It should include several important steps such as determining authority to call an incident, establishing clearly defined team roles and responsibilities, establishing communications procedures and responsibilities, increasing end user awareness and deploying the Right Tools.

All the above mentioned points, concerning implementing appropriate safeguards, policies and procedures, are a good prerequisite for keeping private data securely stored and a protected.