Consulting with a Conscience™

A cruciallogics blog

Written by Omar Rbati
on March 15, 2024

The adoption of cloud computing has become common across various sectors, unveiling a new era of digital transformation. As most organizations start their migration journeys to the cloud, they encounter a major challenge — ensuring the security of their data.

Hence, navigating cloud data security has become a concern for organizations at every stage of their cloud adoption journey. 

Whether you're just starting out or already using advanced cloud strategies, data security is a top priority. This article explores how to keep your cloud data safe and how you can utilize Microsoft Purview to manage and govern your entire data. 

What is Cloud Data Security?

Cloud data security is a set of practices and tools used to protect data stored on the cloud. Its primary aim is to prevent unauthorized access, modification, or disclosure of sensitive information while ensuring its availability to authorized users. 

This involves implementing measures such as encryption, access controls, and continuous monitoring. With cloud data projected to reach 200 ZB by 2025 and 60% of corporate data already in the cloud, there is more need for powerful cloud data security measures.

How Secure is Your Data in the Cloud?

Securing data in the cloud demands a multifaceted approach that demands a lot of resources and effort. The level of security achieved directly reflects on the measures implemented to safeguard it. This means cybersecurity strategies implemented by your organization dictate the security posture of cloud data. 

If your cybersecurity plan is well thought out, strong, and covers everything, it will spot and stop risks and threats. However, if the strategy is weak, every threat thrown at it will manifest, costing your organization largely. 

A good cybersecurity plan spots vulnerabilities and offers solutions before they are a problem. Often, this can be done using penetration testing, or other cloud security measures. Using strong passwords and encryption adds extra layers of protection. Additionally, regular checks and audits help to identify these vulnerabilities.

When it comes to answering the question of how secure data is in the cloud, it all trickles down to your choices as an organization. For instance, partnering with a reputable cloud data security provider is the best way to ensure protection. And, whatever cyberattackers throw at them, they will have the expertise and tools ready to counter.

User downloading data secured in the cloud environment.

Who is Responsible for Data Security in the Cloud?

It is a common misconception that cloud service providers (CSPs) are solely responsible for data security in the cloud. While CSPs must ensure that their infrastructure, software and network are secure, they cannot guarantee the safety of data on their own. 

As a user, you have a responsibility to ensure that the data you access, send, receive, and store is secure. In fact, the users who have access to the data are the ones who ultimately determine its level of security. 

In cloud computing, security responsibilities are shared among the CSP, the customer, and the users. This shared responsibility model is in order to protect your data in the cloud effectively.

Provider-Based Security

In provider-based security, the CSP secures the underlying infrastructure, software, and network that support the cloud services. They do this by implementing powerful security measures such as firewalls, encryption, and intrusion detection systems. 

However, it's important to note that while the CSP ensures the security of the cloud infrastructure, they do not have direct control over the data itself. Users must still take steps to secure their data and manage access controls appropriately.

Customer-Based Security

Customer-based security places the responsibility of data security on the customer or organization using cloud services. This means that users are responsible for:

  • Managing access controls;
  • Implementing encryption for sensitive data and;
  • Ensuring compliance with security policies and regulations.

While the CSP provides the platform and tools for data storage and processing, it is the customer's responsibility to safeguard their data and manage user access to prevent unauthorized use or disclosure.

Service-Based Security

This is a collaborative effort between the CSP and the customer to ensure the security of cloud services. In this model, the CSP provides security features and controls within the cloud platform. 

The customer, on the other hand, configures and manages these features to meet their specific security requirements. This includes setting up user authentication mechanisms, defining access policies, and monitoring for security incidents. 

What are the Components of Data Security in Cloud Computing?

Because cloud data security is a priority, understanding its components may help organizations make informed decisions. They are as follows:

Identity and Access Management

This involves managing user identities, authentication, and access to resources within the cloud environment. Organizations use it to ensure that only authorized users have access to sensitive data, thereby reducing the risk of data breaches.

Data Encryption

Data encryption is about encoding data into a format that can only be read with a specific decryption key. This ensures that only those with decryption keys can access the data.

Data Backup and Recovery

For companies to ensure data availability in the cloud, data backup and recovery mechanisms are used. This comes into play when organizations suffer data loss or corruption incidents.

Security Monitoring and Threat Detection

The cloud environments must be monitored continuously for suspicious activities and vulnerabilities. This can be done using advanced tools like penetration testing, Cloud Security Posture Management, and more.

Endpoint Management

This focuses on securing endpoints, such as laptops, smartphones, and other devices, that access cloud resources. Endpoint security measures like antivirus software, firewalls, and device encryption, help organizations mitigate the risk of endpoint-based attacks.

Compliance and Governance

Compliance and governance frameworks ensure that organizations adhere to regulatory requirements and industry standards related to data security and privacy. Implementing them demonstrates accountability, maintains trust with stakeholders, and mitigates legal and financial risks associated with data breaches or non-compliance.

Cloud data security: folders in the cloud environment.

How Do You Secure Data in the Cloud?

Now that we have discovered securing data in the cloud is not an option but a necessity, let’s learn how to do it.

Have a Complete Inventory of Your Data

Start by creating an inventory of all cloud data, including its location, sensitivity, and access requirements. This inventory will help you understand the scope of data security measures needed and ensure that no data is overlooked.

Have Adequate Data Access Controls

Implement strong access controls to specify who can access data in the cloud. Here you can use role-based access controls, least privilege principle, and multi-factor authentication.

Secure Data Transmission and Processing

You can secure data by encrypting it during transmission between users and the cloud service provider. It is advisable to leverage secure protocols like HTTPS and TLS for data transmission and processing.

Leverage Cloud Provider Security Measures

Cloud providers implement firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and security groups. Take advantage of this by familiarizing yourself with these security tools and configurations to enhance the overall security of your cloud infrastructure. 

Use Secure Collaboration Tools

Go for secure collaboration tools that offer end-to-end encryption for sharing sensitive data. In the process, ensure they comply with data protection regulations and provide robust security features to prevent data breaches.

Use Strong Passwords and Two-Factor Authentication

Cyberattackers have become smarter, taking advantage of every opportunity they find. Users are therefore encouraged to use strong, unique passwords for cloud accounts and enable two-factor authentication. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to provide a second form of authentication, such as a code sent to their mobile device, in addition to their password.

Monitor Cloud Network Activity

Your cloud activity should be monitored 24/7. Implement measures that allow continuous monitoring to ensure threats are detected and solved at all times. You don’t want anything to get you by surprise.

Conduct Regular Cloud Security Risk Assessments

Conducting periodic risk assessments helps identify potential security weaknesses and allows for timely remediation. Some threats may go undetected because of their stealth nature, but with regular cloud security risk assessments, you can mitigate this.

Back-Up Data Regularly

Data breaches can happen at any time, leaving your organization vulnerable with no data. This is why it is best to realize backups in secure separate locations. Schedule regular backups to this location and ensure a robust security system protects it. 

Adhere to Data Security Regulations

It goes without saying that failure to adhere to data security regulations results in penalties. To avoid this, you must ensure compliance with relevant data security regulations and industry standards, such as GDPR and HIPAA. 

Automate Cloud Security Monitoring

This helps to streamline security operations and improve response times. In case the threats penetrate, the security team will deal with them promptly before they cause damage.

Restrict Access to Sensitive Cloud Data

Don’t allow everyone who works in the organization access to sensitive data because not everyone has your best interest at heart. Implement data classification and labeling mechanisms to identify and protect sensitive data effectively. This also ensures accountability.

 User managing cloud data security solutions.


Microsoft Purview: The Data Governance Solution

Microsoft Purview is an advanced data governance and management solution offered by Microsoft. It offers a comprehensive platform to discover, catalog, and govern their data assets across on-premises, multi-cloud, and SaaS environments. 

With Purview, businesses can understand data lineage, assess data quality, and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements. It leverages advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate data discovery and classification, simplifying the data-securing process.

Here's how Microsoft Purview helps streamline data management:

Unified Data Governance

Purview provides a unified map of data assets and their relationships, facilitating more effective data governance. It offers automated data discovery, sensitive data classification, and end-to-end data lineage, ensuring a holistic view of your data landscape.

Enhanced Data Discovery

With Purview, users can easily discover data using familiar business and technical search terms. It eliminates the need for manual data dictionaries by offering an enterprise-grade business glossary. Additionally, interactive data lineage visualization helps users understand the origin of their data.

Insights into Sensitive Data

Purview offers comprehensive insights into the management of sensitive data across your entire data estate. Users gain visibility into key health metrics, data distribution, and status updates on data scans, allowing for better governance and risk management.

Efficient Data Sharing

Microsoft Purview enables secure data sharing within or between organizations without the need for data duplication. It supports near real-time access to shared data and provides centralized management of data sharing, enhancing collaboration while maintaining data security.

Provisioning Access Control

With Purview's intuitive authoring experience, data engineers and owners can easily provision access to data assets. It supports various data storage platforms, including Azure Blob Storage, Azure Data Lake, and SQL Server, ensuring the right users have access to the right data.

Cost Reduction

Microsoft Purview helps reduce costs by automating data discovery and classification processes, eliminating the need for manual interventions. Users only pay for what they use, and certain features like scanning SQL Servers and Power BI tenants incur no extra cost.

Cloud Data Security Solution by CrucialLogics 

Having a powerful cloud data security system is a non-negotiable if you want to protect your organization’s data. It starts with partnering with the right cloud data security provider and implementing working strategies. 

As a Microsoft Gold Partner, we have demonstrated a high level of competency in Microsoft technologies, including Microsoft Purview. Give your organization the best by partnering with CrucialLogics to make your cloud infrastructure impenetrable. 


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