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How to Protect the Data and Privacy In the Cloud

The era of the cloud is in its progress. It is a constantly developing innovation that includes a broad set of public, private, and business process outsourcing capabilities. Cloud computing relies on sharing computer resources rather than having local servers or personal devices to handle applications. Nowadays, organizations use cloud services for data storage and doing their daily operations. Despite of various advantages like scalability, flexibility, productivity, security is the major concern for cloud computing. One of the main security issues is how to control and prevent unauthorized access to data stored on the cloud.

There are various techniques able to control unauthorized access to data. One such technique is RBAC (Role Based access Control) model. RBAC method controls the access to data based on roles given to individual users within an organization. Besides, RBAC model provides flexible control and management using two simple mappings.  First is User to their role in the organization and second is Roles to accessible data to that Role.

  1. Implementing a strong RBAC policy

Implementing a strong RBAC policy helps for building up a strong visibility strategy and provides a better security solution for accessing data on cloud. Roles in RBAC are mapped to access permissions, and all users are mapped to appropriate roles and receive access permissions only through the roles to which they are assigned.

Controlling the access through roles gives benefits to organization and simplifies the management, as well. Typically, role-based access control model has three essential structures: users, permissions and roles. A role is a higher level representation of access control. User corresponds to real world users of the computing system. User authorization can be accomplished separately; assigning users to existing roles and assigning access privileges for objects to roles. “Permissions” give a description of the access users can have to objects in the system and “roles” give a description of the functions of users.

2. Management and Automation

Unifying an organization’s security infrastructure not only eases management, but also helps ensure that consistent security policies are applied wherever applications run, data is stored, or infrastructure is built. Moreover, it enables the automation of security lifecycle management processes and helps ensure compliance. These capabilities allow organizations to manage cloud and on-premises infrastructures similarly by leveraging the same level of visibility and control. Centralized management and automation help organizations meet risk management and regulatory compliance objectives. Effective security management and automation consists of  three primary elements: visibility, control, and compliance.

  • Visibility

The ability to consistently see all applications, networks, infrastructures, security events, and logs in a multi-cloud environment is a cornerstone of a security posture assessment. Such assessments are both a starting point and an ongoing process of security management.

  • Control

Control refers to applying configuration changes and populating the security infrastructure with the relevant resource-related information pertaining to the multi-cloud security posture. Besides, the control framework should extend to the native security functionality provided by each cloud platform. This allows administrators and operators to apply security changes throughout the infrastructure.

  • Compliance

Maintaining a consistent security posture and automating security operations significantly increases an organization’s ability to maintain regulatory compliance. In addition, centralized security management, automated workflows, and shared threat intelligence help enterprises quickly react to emerging threats.

PATECCO Cloud Access Control tools for data and privacy protection

PATECCO Cloud access control tools offer a greater flexibility whilst maintaining the levels of security essential to their business. Cloud access control provides secure deployment options that can help enterprises develop new customer experiences, enable effective collaboration and improve speed to market – all while increasing IT efficiency

1.Cloud Access Control: REST API

PATECCO MIM 2016 REST API. This fully functional CRUD tool acts like a convenience gateway between your applications and MIM Portal providing the following benefits:

  • Faster response times due to the integrated cache.​
  • Offers better support for different clients and increased productivity through automation.​
  • Increased level of security by easy integration with API Gateways (Axway Amplify, APIGEE and etc.).​
  • Supports Push Notifications providing easier integration with SIEM or other Event based tools (Azure Event Hub and etc.) adding additional flexibility to your applications.​
  • Cloud ready. Installed on Azure provides easier access for your cloud apps and transforms. Microsoft MIM 2016 infrastructure for Data Stream compatibility.

2. Cloud Access Control: Microsoft PIM

PATECCO offers clear migration path from an On-premise Identity System to the Azure Premium AD and Microsoft Privileged Identity Management (PIM).

  • Analyse and transform current RBAC model to a one based on Azure AD and protect the roles with Microsoft PIM.​
  • Transform and organize Azure AD logs to Events integrated to the Azure Event Hub infrastructure.​
  • Transform and adapt current workflows to the newest cloud native Azure Logic Apps infrastructure and handle all needed customizations through Azure Functions.​
  • Provide level of support for the legacy infrastructure through Azure Active Directory Sync or through our own PATECCO PAM tool. ​

3. Cloud Access Control: Azure AD Domain Services

  • PATECCO offers clear migration path from On-premise Active Directory to Azure AD Domain Services
  • Azure Active Directory Domain Services (Azure AD DS) Provides managed domain services with a subset of fully compatible traditional AD DS features such as domain join, group policy, LDAP, and Kerberos/NTLM authentication.
  • Azure AD DS integrates with Azure AD, which itself can synchronize with an on-premises AD DS environment, to extend central identity use cases to traditional web applications that run in Azure as part of a lift-and-shift strategy.
  • Use of Azure AD Application Proxy feature which provides the ability to securely access internal apps from outside your network.

For the different kind of organizations throughout the world, cloud computing has become a key element of their ongoing IT strategy. Cloud services give organizations of all sizes access to virtually unlimited data storage while freeing them from the need to purchase, maintain, and update their own networks and computer systems. Microsoft and other cloud providers offer IT infrastructure, platform, and software “as a service,” enabling customers to quickly scale up or down as needed and only paying for the computing power and storage they use.

However, as organizations continue to take advantage of the benefits of cloud services, such as increased choice, agility, and flexibility while boosting efficiency and lowering IT cost, they must consider how the cloud services affect their privacy, security, and compliance posture. It is important for the cloud offerings to be not only scalable, reliable, and manageable, but also to ensure  your customers data is protected and used in a transparent manner.

6 Steps for Higher Security and Compliance in the Cloud

Nowadays the cloud industry is growing more due to its widespread adoption. But the more it’s growing, the more questions arise whether the cloud is secure. People are thinking about risks such as financial losses, lawsuits or losing the company’s reputation and even future progress. That’s why managing compliance has always been a challenge for IT companies. Today’s business environment requires cloud providers who are proficient in ensuring high level of security and who offer comprehensive cloud services at a much lower cost.

But let’s go back to the question – is cloud more secure? No doubt, yes! Almost all data stored in the cloud is encrypted, so the users need a key to decrypt the information. Business should take care more of the question how the data is accessed than – where it is stored.

As a cloud service provider PATECCO shares its best practices in six steps, ensuring better security and compliance:

1. Create an end-to-end security and compliance framework 

It’s important to create compliance framework, allowing to view, assess and manage all risks, security, and compliance for the cloud environment. Thanks to the instant access to a compliance infrastructure you can download all the certifications and audit reports you need to demonstrate compliance to your own stakeholders.

2. Create Authentication tools

Authentication, also called identity and access control, gives people permission to access different systems and documents according to their role. With cloud providers, implement multi-factor authentication which is more secure process than single sign-on. It requires a verification code that is texted to the users’ phone, or a link in an email that they have to click.

3. Ensure Encryption

Encryption means systematically scrambling of data so that nobody can read it unless having the code key to unscramble it. What needs to be done is to set up virtual networks which are not accessible to anyone within your company and all the traffic between machines in the cloud is securely encrypted. Let’s take for example Office 365’s service encryption. Office 365 offers customer-managed encryption capabilities, allowing you to have greater control over the protection of your sensitive data.

 4. Enforce privacy policies

Privacy and protection of personally identifiable information (PII) is gaining importance across the globe, often involving laws and regulations relating to the acquisition, storage, and use of PII. It is critical that privacy requirements be adequately addressed in the cloud service agreement. If not, the cloud service customer should consider seeking a different provider or not placing sensitive data in the cloud service. For example, customers that wish to place health information subject to the United States HIPAA regulation into a cloud service, must find a cloud service provider that will sign a HIPAA business associate agreement.

Step 5: Assess the security provisions for cloud applications

Companies should proactively protect their business-critical applications from external and internal threats throughout their entire life cycle, from design to implementation to production. Clearly defined security policies and processes are essential to ensure the applications are enabling the business rather than introducing additional risk. In order to protect an application from various types of breaches it is important to understand the application security policy considerations based on the different cloud deployment models.

When developing and deploying applications in a cloud environment, it is critical that customers realize they may forfeit some control and should design their cloud applications with these considerations in mind.

6. Audit and ensure proper reporting of operational and business processes

Offering tools for monitoring what’s going on with your infrastructure and application is quite useful. You can look at relevant log data from your applications or systems to see who’s doing what or if there were any threats. With the cloud, you can go in any time and pull down any number of pre-configured reports.

It’s essential that security controls encompass not only the cloud services themselves, but also the management interfaces offered to customers. Incident Reporting and Incident Handling process that meets the needs of the customer should also be available in the Cloud System.