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How Cloud-Based Security Can Protect You Against Data Theft

We have entered an era where data is becoming a key factor in business success.

Companies are increasingly adopting services and tools that collect and store huge amounts of environment- and customer-related data.

These data sets are subsequently fed into analytics, business intelligence, and machine learning solutions to help with making smart decisions to deliver better service and improve efficiency, customer satisfaction, and the bottom line.

However, the benefits of data-driven business come with its own caveats and presents challenges that can yield disastrous outcomes if not met in a timely and suitable fashion.

Related Article: Internet of Things: Security, Compliance, Risks and Opportunities

Securing Data Is Among the Biggest Challenges Companies Face

While big data is the driving force behind the growth and success of enterprises, it is also making them a bigger and more attractive target. Malicious actors including competitors, fraudsters, and even state-sponsored hackers might target companies to steal or manipulate data in order to further their own ends.

Failing to secure corporate data can result in major data breaches that will damage a company’s customers, its business process, and reputation, and can eventually lead to the collapse of an entire business.

Securing data can be an intricate and costly process, especially as the online business landscape is constantly shifting with new innovations. Many businesses underestimate the severity of the threats that surround them while others are completely oblivious to them. Yet others do not have the in-house expertise and the required funding to invest in expensive security solutions for their business.

Cloud-Based Security Cuts Down Cost and Implementation Difficulties

Fortunately, the availability of cloud-based security, also known as security as a service, helps cut down both the costs and complexity of securing critical online assets. These services replace wholly or in part the on-premise hardware and software previously required to protect firms against data breaches.

The range of cloud-based security services that are available today run the gamut and encompass everything ranging from encrypting cloud-stored files and emails to auditing and managing access to digital assets, to smart network traffic monitoring and intrusion prevention, and much more.

Web Applications Are Especially Vulnerable to Cyber Attacks

One area of special concern is websites and web applications, which account for some of the most targeted online assets that companies possess, mainly because of their widespread use, ease of access and pivotal role in running a business. There is virtually no company that doesn’t possess at least one productive web application. Larger companies often operate hundreds of them, both in-house and externally.

Many of these websites are being used to run critical operations such as the entry and transfer of sensitive files and personally identifiable information (PII), messaging and the processing of electronic payment, which make them very attractive hacking targets. Even less important websites must not be ignored, because once compromised, they can become beachheads that attackers will use to move laterally across private networks and gain access to much more critical assets such as databases and file stores.

Due to the nature of websites, securing them can become quite complicated and cannot be achieved through the sole use of traditional IT security systems. In many cases, they can’t be protected with network firewalls because they are meant to open to public networks and accessible to everyone, including hackers.

Even some of the more advanced security solutions such as Intrusion Prevention and Detection Systems (IPS/IDS) fail to detect and block attacks against web applications because those attacks are concealed under legitimate uses of the website’s functionality.

Related Article: Beyond Security: The Many Business Benefits of the Cloud

Web Application Firewalls Provide Reliable and Scalable Security

A solution for dynamic website security is Web Application Firewalls (WAF) such as Incapsula, one of the most versatile and effective cloud-based security tools that can protect your websites against the host of attacks that threaten them. WAFs add a layer of security to your website, independent of the web application itself, which helps to protect it against known and detected vulnerabilities.

The fact that WAFs are offered in the cloud makes them easy to deploy and manage. For instance, Incapsula is managed and tuned by security experts around the clock, which minimizes the amount of effort required on your part to take advantage of the offered benefits.

 Overall Traffic and Visitors Sample graph

Source: Incapsula Product Demo

WAFs will help protect you against some of the nastiest known website attacks. Incapsula will prevent attacks such as SQL Injection (SQLi), Cross Site Scripting (XSS) and other top threats recognized by the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP), even if the host web application has not adopted safeguards against the threats.

Incapsula will also provide a measure of protection from newfound (zero day) through a combination of behavior and IP reputation analysis. Using these, the system can identify suspicious activities on your application, even if they don’t fall into any known pattern. This makes the tool especially useful for companies have partial or no access to the inner workings of their web applications and can’t make corrections to the source code.

Incapsula also takes advantage of its cloud-based nature to aggregate new threat information from different endpoints and dynamically protect its clients from newly emerging threats. The advanced user, who prefer granular control over security policies, can also manually script custom security rules, which can deploy and be tweaked on-the-fly.

Related Article: Head in the Clouds: Can Your Business Fully Operate in the Cloud?

Security Must Scale With Company Growth and Needs

The importance of cloud-based security will continue to grow in tandem with the spread of the cloud’s lure, as more companies take an interest in using cloud services to run their businesses and harvest and process more and more data for their purposes. Fast growing companies will require scalable security solutions to meet their changing needs. The answer is in the cloud.

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