SecurityBrief Australia logo
Australia's leading source of cybersecurity and cyber-attack news
Story image

Owning up to cloud security - who is responsible?

By Contributor
Fri 28 Sep 2018
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The number of Australian businesses using commercial cloud computing services has risen to almost one third in just one year, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Inevitably, this has led to an increase in the volume of customer data stored in the cloud, supporting everything from online services and websites, to sales and infrastructure. Keeping this data secure is vital for both the smooth running of businesses and protection of customers.

Many organisations are still struggling to secure their clouds – earlier this year, Australian cloud-based recruitment and HR software provider PageUp exposed two million passwords following a malware infection. This is just one of many examples of a business that migrated without the proper understanding of how to protect their data. Complicating the issue even further is that businesses often operate across more than one cloud, such as AWS and Azure, each having differing security protocols to grapple with.

There are mixed views on who is responsible for protecting customers’ sensitive or confidential data in the cloud. A third (34 per cent) of respondents believe that it’s the customer’s responsibility to secure their data in the cloud, while two-thirds (62 per cent) of customers hold businesses responsible. With less than half (46 per cent) of businesses clearly defining roles and accountability for securing confidential or sensitive information in the cloud, it’s clear many are struggling to take responsibility within the organisation.

Taking responsibility for cloud security 

The arrival of GDPR and NDB this year has forced the ownership of cloud security firmly into the hands of businesses. Under the regulation, if any unsecured customer data is compromised, stolen or misplaced – whether it’s stored internally in a data center or the cloud – the business holding it will be held accountable. Additionally, over two-thirds of Australian consumers (72 per cent) would leave a business after a breach. So, what can organisations do to secure their cloud and avoid potential breaches?

Five steps to cloud security

Locate where the data is Before implementing any cybersecurity strategy, businesses must first conduct a data audit. This helps them understand what data they have collected or produced, and where the most sensitive and valuable data is located. If businesses don’t know what data they possess and produce, they can’t even begin to start protecting it. 

Encrypt all sensitive data

While it’s crucial that businesses restrict who can access sensitive data, it’s encryption that ensures this cannot be used in the event it’s accessed by unauthorised personnel. Businesses must understand where their most valuable data is stored before this step can occur. Regardless of where data is – on their own servers, in a public cloud, or a hybrid environment – encryption must always be used to protect it. 

Securely store keys

When data is encrypted, an encryption key is created. These keys are necessary to unlock and access encrypted data. Consequently, businesses must ensure that these keys are securely stored away from the cloud. By storing a physical key offsite, it helps ensure it can’t be linked to any encrypted data in the cloud. Encryption is only as good as the key management strategy employed, and companies must keep them in secure locations – such as on external hardware away from the data itself – to prevent them being stolen. 

Introduce two-factor authentication 

Next, businesses should adopt strong two-factor authentication, to ensure only authorised employees have access to the data they need to use. Two-factor authentication involves an individual protecting their account with something they possess – like a message on their smartphone – and something they know, like a password. This is more secure than relying on passwords alone, which can be easily hacked.

Always update

Hardware and software are constantly being patched by their vendors, as bugs and vulnerabilities emerge, to prevent hackers from exploiting them. Many businesses don’t install patches quickly enough or use software which no longer receives regular patches. It is imperative that businesses install patches as they become available, to avoid becoming easy targets for hackers. 

Evaluate and repeat

Once a business has implemented the above steps, it’s crucial that each step must be repeated for all new data that enters its system. Cybersecurity and compliance is an ongoing process, rather than a case of ticking the box. These steps will ultimately help make businesses unattractive or unviable targets for attackers as even in the event of a breach they won’t be able to use, steal or hold their data for ransom. 

The arrival of new data protection laws introduced in Australia this year has meant that businesses are now paying a cost, reputationally and financially, for any data breach. It’s never been more important for businesses to take full ownership of the data they hold, particularly as consumers have more rights over their data than ever before. Organisations must provide a cybersecurity strategy from the board down, and educate staff about the cyber risks they face as a part of a business so consumers can trust that their data is stored correctly and secured effectively.

Article by Gemalto regional director Australia & New Zealand, Graeme Pyper.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Adatree, Brother, Databricks, Nutanix & Rubrik
We round up all job appointments from May 20-26, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Cybersecurity
4/10 Australian SMEs fallen victim to cyber-attacks since pandemic
Almost four out of teb SMEs in Australia have fallen victim to cyber-attacks since the pandemic began, according to a new study.
Story image
Transport
Third-party automotive apps bear significant privacy risks
Mobile applications for connected cars provide various features to make life easier for motorists, but they can also be a source of risk.
Story image
Malware
Fortinet introduces self-learning AI in latest offering
Fortinet is introducing self-learning AI capabilities in its new network detection and response offering, FortiNDR.
Story image
Customer experience
Gartner recognises Okta for abilities in Access Management
Okta has announced it has been recognised as a Customers' Choice for the fourth time in a row in the Gartner Peer Insights "Voice of the Customer" report.
Story image
Cloud Security
Aqua Security createa unified scanner for cloud native security
“By integrating more cloud native scanning targets into Trivy, such as Kubernetes, we are simplifying cloud native security."
Story image
Migration
Let’s clear the cloud visibility haze with app awareness
Increasingly, organisations are heading for the cloud, initiating new born-in-the-cloud architectures and migrating existing applications via ‘lift and shift’ or refactoring.
Story image
Data Protection
Information management capabilities to meet privacy requirements
Organisations with customers or operations across more than one country face a spate of new and proposed privacy and data protection laws.
Story image
Check Point
Check Point and CCTV expert join forces to boost protection
The partnership will involve Check Point Quantum IoT Protect Nano Agent being embedded in Provision-ISR’s CCTV cameras for on-device runtime protection.
Story image
Microsoft
Elevation of Privilege the top 2021 Microsoft vulnerability
BeyondTrust has released its 2022 Microsoft Vulnerabilities Report, finding that Elevation of Privilege is the top vulnerability category for the second consecutive year.
Story image
Cybersecurity
What every CISO must answer to enable a best-in-class security operations program
It has been widely reported recently that South Australian government employees have been the victims of a cyberattack.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Gartner reveals top three tech trends for banks this year
Gartner says generative artificial intelligence, autonomic systems and privacy-enhancing computation are gaining traction in banking and investment services.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity prompts upgrade for 1.3 billion electricity meters
ABI Research finds Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and cybersecurity concerns are prompting the upgrade of 1.3 billion electricity meters by 2027.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Accenture - a collective security approach a driving factor for cyber resilience
With the approaching Davos World Economic Forum upon us, it is even more imperative to discuss the impact of cybersecurity on business operations leading into the future.
Story image
Remote Working
Successful digital transformation in the hybrid work era is about embracing shifting goalposts
As organisations embraced remote working, many discovered they lacked the infrastructure needed to support history’s first global load test of remote work capabilities.
Story image
Ransomware
APAC ranks third-highest region targeted by ransomware
Asia Pacific has ranked the third-highest region globally to be targeted by ransomware, according to cybersecurity firm Group-IB.
Story image
Malware
New vulnerabilities found in Nuspire’s Q1 2022 Threat Report
“Threat actors are quickly adjusting their tactics and these exploits tend to get industry attention, but the threat posed by older and attacks still persists."
Story image
ChildFund
ChildFund launches new campaign to protect children online
ChildFund says WEB Safe & Wise aims to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse online while also empowering them to become digitally savvy. 
Story image
Silver Peak
The path to an adaptive, modern network
Managing and securing the network looks different than it did just two years ago—especially given that most of these networks are made up of multi-generations of infrastructure stitched together over time.
Story image
Phishing
WhatsApp and QR codes the next scam threat - report
KnowBe4 has warned it expects to see an increase in QR Codes and the WhatsApp chat platform being used for phishing and other scams. 
Story image
New Relic
New Relic launches vulnerability management platform
New Relic has introduced New Relic Vulnerability Management to help organisations find and address security risks faster and with greater precision.
Story image
Surveillance
i-PRO releases smallest AI-based surveillance camera on the market
The new i-PRO mini network camera is now available, with a pocket-sized form factor and full AI analytics functionality.
Story image
Identity and Access Management
The post-pandemic workforce requires secure IAM capabilities
HID Global discusses what identity and access management means for organisations in today's convoluted digital world.
Story image
Managed service provider
Barracuda MSP Day 2022 highlights MSP opportunities
Barracuda Networks has released a report showing global services-related MSP revenue is set to increase by more than a third in 2022 compared to 2021.
Story image
Cybersecurity
More than 40% of banks worried about cloud security - report
Publicis Sapient's new report finds security and the lack of cloud skills and internal understanding of business benefits are big obstacles for banks moving to the cloud.
Story image
Ponemon Institute
Email revealed to be riskiest channel for data loss
More than half (60%) of organisations experienced data loss or exfiltration caused by an employee mistake on email in the last 12 months.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Asia Pacific plagued by sophisticated bad bots - report
The three most common bot attacks were account takeover, content or price scraping, and scalping to obtain limited-availability items.
Story image
Ransomware
Employees on the frontline of cyber defense - report
In the first quarter of 2022, employees found themselves more than ever at the frontline of cyber defense, according to a new report from Kroll. 
Story image
Amazon Web Services / AWS
RedShield leverages AWS to scale cybersecurity services
"Working with AWS gives RedShield the ability to mitigate significant application layer DDoS attacks, helping leaders adopt best practices and security architectures."
Story image
Ransomware
Alarming surge in Conti Ransomware Group activity - report
A new report has identified a 7.6 per cent increase in the number of vulnerabilities tied to ransomware in Q1 2022.
Story image
Phishing
Vishing attacks reach all time high - Agari and PhishLabs
"Hybrid vishing campaigns continue to generate stunning numbers, representing 26.1% of total share in volume so far in 2022."
Story image
BYOD / Bring Your Own Device
How zero trust can lead the battle against ransomware
SecOps teams champion a zero trust strategy to support the fight against the escalating risk of cybercrime and help monitor threat actors across a network.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Comcast to use ThreatQuotient for cybersecurity operations
Comcast, the parent company of NBC Universal and SKY Group, has chosen ThreatQ Platform and ThreatQ Investigations to meet their cybersecurity needs.
Story image
Ransomware
APAC organisations fail to disclose ransomware breaches
85% of organisations in APAC were breached by ransomware at least once in the past five years, but only 28% publicly disclosed the incident.
Story image
Training
Infosec unveils role-guided cybersecurity training roadmaps
Infosec Skills Roles maps hands-on training and certifications to the 12 most in-demand cybersecurity roles to maximise training efficiency.
Story image
Malware
'Alarming' rise in ransomware threats - Verizon report
As criminals look to leverage increasingly sophisticated forms of malware, it is ransomware that continues to prove particularly successful.
Story image
Microsoft
Global cybersecurity insurance market worth $11.5b this year
Future Market Insights finds the cybersecurity insurance market is expected to reach USD$11.5 billion in 2022, growing to $61.2 billion in 10 years.
Story image
Cyber attacks
Devastating cyber attacks expected to hit energy sector
Energy executives anticipate life, property, and environment-compromising cyber attacks on the sector within the next two years.
Story image
Kubernetes
Sysdig unveils new Kubernetes troubleshooting and cloud innovations
Sysdig has introduced two new innovations that look to help bolster cloud services and simplify Kubernetes troubleshooting.
Story image
Training
Trojan cyber attacks hitting SMBs harder than ever - Kaspersky
In 2022 the number of Trojan-PSW detections increased by almost a quarter compared to the same period in 2021 to reach 4,003,323.
Story image
Employment
Tech job moves - Forcepoint, Malwarebytes, SolarWinds & VMware
We round up all job appointments from May 13-20, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Phishing
MailGuard warns of new scam targeting Telstra customers
Telstra customers in Australia are being warned of a new scam involving "Unsuccessful Payment" messages.
Story image
Data Protection
Barracuda launches new capabilities for API Protection
"Every business needs this type of critical protection against API vulnerabilities and automated bot attacks," Barracuda says.
Story image
VPN
The most common online scams in Australia
No one is safe from online scammers, and many of these scammers have capitalised on the pandemic, using this confusing time to attack more people than ever.