Cloud Security for SMBs: 7 Things You Need to Know
The cloud has become a vital tool for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) everywhere. SMBs rely on the cloud to store and manage business data, applications, and processes. The use of the cloud is convenient, but it also carries some risks. Security is a top priority for any organization using the cloud, especially SMBs that may not have the same resources as larger companies to address potential security threats.
Cloud security for SMBs is an increasingly important consideration for leaders looking to leverage the vast potential of cloud technology. With cyber-attacks becoming more frequent and sophisticated, it’s essential that SMBs understand their cloud security risks.
Let’s take a look at the basics of cloud security for SMBs, including what you need to know before making decisions about your business’s digital infrastructure.
Cloud Security for SMBs as a Series of Locks
When you head out for work in the morning, you lock the door of your home. If you drive to work, you lock the car once you get there. You lock your office at the end of the workday. Your life is full of a series of locks that secure your personal and professional information and belongings, as well as protect those closest to you.
The same is true when it comes to cloud security. Many people envision a cloud network as one that everyone just automatically connects to. This is almost never the case.
When it comes to protecting your SMB, you need a series of locks (anti-virus and anti-malware, multi-factor authentication, and more) to keep things running smoothly. You don’t give the keys to your home to every single person you know. The garage door code isn’t taped to the keypad, right?
Because data loss for SMBs can easily ruin your business’s reputation to the point of complete failure, it’s important to keep these locks (and who or what is responsible for locking them) in mind as you set up your business, build your clientele and employee base, and work through daily operations.
Strong cloud practice reduces threat exposure and as cyberattacks grow over time, your SMB could mitigate a lot of risk with proper cloud cybersecurity solutions.
Access Is the Key
Managing access to your cloud assets is a huge component in the cloud security assessments for your SMB. We often hear from friends, family, and the Internet about individuals who quit a job and noticed several years after leaving that their previous employee credentials still worked.
Access controls include things like strategically choosing which roles are able to view and change certain data and organization information within the cloud workspace. Allowing every employee (and vendor, and consultant) the ability to view all or most of your cloud data is only going to exacerbate vulnerabilities in your IT and cybersecurity efforts.
Questions to Ask Your Cloud Security Provider
Businesses, especially SMBs, are reliant on so many outside sources to help operations run smoothly. That means you have to find some way to trust the businesses and individuals providing you with your essential services, like IT and cybersecurity.
Because of that, we wanted to share some questions and tips for assessing potential IT and cloud security providers before you partner with them:
- After you discuss some of your goals with your prospective cybersecurity provider, you can ask them to identify and/or execute a project that is practical, straightforward, and cost-effective. This allows you to assess their work at a relatively low buy-in.
- Ask where your data will be physically hosted. Regulatory risks can be involved when your data is housed in different states and/ or countries.
- Ask about MFA – how does it work with the specific technology or cloud provider you’ll be using?
Annual Cloud Security Risk Assessments to Run
Cloud security assessments are used to help determine how well your security controls and protocols are doing in terms of efficiency and compliance. If you are trying to keep certain compliance certifications, this is a must.
Some of the focus areas are things like:
- Network access controls (both internal and external)
- Management and authentication of users
- MFA protocols for privileged and remote access
- Backup and disaster recovery
- Logging and alerts for security events
- Incident response planning
Even the best security and IT protocols can’t replace good training. Your partners and employees are going to access your cloud, and that can create vulnerabilities for you. And with more and more employees working remotely and from personal devices (whether you authorized it or not), this training only becomes more essential to your security efforts as a whole.
Some of the most important things to teach your staff about IT and cloud security include things like how to avoid email scams (phishing), how to identify malware and what to do with it, how to create proper strong passwords, how to store those passwords securely, education on MFA, protocols for data management and privacy, safe browsing and website use, social media etiquette on work devices, and other physical security topics related to keeping devices and other IT equipment secure.
Cloud Security for SMBs – Supported by Verve
SMBs often don’t have dedicated IT departments running full-time to help mitigate threats. And that’s why cloud migration and shared security services are so important for smaller businesses. Partnering with a trusted IT provider allows your business the expertise and manpower that an in-house team provides, without the overhead.
Verve IT offers modern workspace services that help you manage your IT program through customized support, backups, and hardware recommendations.