Learning center 11/20/14

Securing Your IT Cloud Network, Part 2

Bill Tindall, Senior Network Consultant
Part 2 of this series focuses on protecting the local network environment, which is just as important as protecting our data and processes in the cloud.

In today's business world, working in a cloud environment is inevitable.

In part 1 of this series, we discussed some of the challenges of doing business in that cloud-based environment. We began discussing the importance of security to shield our important business processes and data from being compromised, and talked about the importance of making sure the hosted environment for our business is secure. Now, we will turn our attention to securing your cloud network, which is just as important for business security.

It’s largely recognized that Internet attacks are no longer initiated by the “kid in the basement” type of individual.

No, most attacks can now more accurately be defined as the workings of organized crime. Hackers today are sophisticated organizations of people using the Internet to extort, blackmail and otherwise steal your important resources for their own profit at yours and your customer’s or client’s expense.

Even though you may have taken your servers and applications and put them in the cloud, you still need access to those systems. The local devices and network you use to access your cloud data is often how cyber criminals find their entry point.

So if there is such a significant risk with even your local environment, what should you be doing to protect it?

As with anything related to security, your approach must be multifaceted. 

First of all, you need to establish a good fence of protection between yourself and the dangerous outside world of cyberspace.

Ask yourself some questions. If someone was hacking into your network, would you even know? Would you have a have a way to shut them down in a hurry? But you can’t turn it off for long. All of your critical data is in the cloud, right? Could you feel safe about turning it back on after you’ve been compromised?

Perimeter defenses you should implement include:

  • An intrusion detection system. This will help you determine if someone is breaking into your network.
  • An intrusion prevention system. This will not only detect, but also shut down attacks as they occur.
  • Gateway antivirus and antimalware. If you can’t be absolutely certain that all of your internal devices have not been compromised in some way (and who can?), this gives you an added layer of protection.
  • Email filtering. One of the most common avenues of malware infection.
  • Web filtering. If someone accidentally clicks on a link they shouldn’t have, do you have another means of stopping the infection?
  • Active monitoring. What good are all your protections if no one is keeping an eye on them? It would be like an alarm system that rings a bell in the middle of the night which nobody hears. Practically useless.

Even if your business can’t afford to implement all of these protections, you at least need to consider the risks and determine a way to mitigate them.

AIE provides security consulting services to clients of all sizes and industries; contact us today for more information.

In part 3 of this series, we will continue our discussion of security by looking at your internal network itself, and what you should be doing if you don’t want to become the next victim of malicious attack.