4 Pillars of Cloud Security You Should Have in Place
Cloud solutions have completely transformed the way that we live and work. Remember way back when you had to run software off a single hard drive or local server? Now data and software are location neutral, and able to be accessed from anywhere and any device.
While law firms have typically been behind the adoption curve when it comes to cloud technology, adoption has been picking up. The American Bar Association’s 2022 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report found that cloud usage among law offices is up significantly from 60% in 2021 to 70% last year. Additionally, 62% of lawyers say they use a cloud service for file storage and sharing (such as Dropbox or OneDrive).
What’s holding many offices back from experiencing the flexibility and productivity benefits of the cloud? Mainly fears about security. The survey reported that 62% of respondents worry about the security and confidentiality of data stored in cloud services. Forty-three percent worry about a lack of control over the data.
Cloud Capabilities Have Become the Expectation
While some law offices can still technically conduct business without using cloud services, this puts them at a big disadvantage. Clients are used to the convenience of the cloud when doing everything from shopping online to scheduling a doctor’s appointment.
The ease of instant file sharing, virtual meetings, and other cloud conveniences is now expected. Firms that don’t offer these can be seen as behind the times and more difficult to work with than those that embrace cloud-based infrastructure.
So how can you balance offering that flexibility with keeping the sensitive data and documents your law office handles secured? Adopt four key pillars of cloud security.
Improve Cloud Security in These Four Areas
The largest cause of data breaches isn’t ransomware or brute-force attacks, it’s credential compromise. Hackers look for the easiest way to breach a system. Cloud providers like Microsoft and Google make it difficult for them to do that from the outside. These companies pour millions of dollars into securing their platforms and have cybersecurity teams monitoring them around the clock.
So, hackers try to breach from the inside instead. Insider attacks are those conducted by a user that has access to a system. Many insider attacks happen as a result of stolen or hacked passwords. Once a cybercriminal has a user’s login, they can do things like send emails, possibly create other users, or release malware.
One of the key pillars of cloud security is to secure your identities. This is also known as access management. This involves putting security in place that ensures only authorized people can access your cloud services and the data they hold.
Some tactics of identity security include:
- Multi-factor authentication (every account should use this!)
- Contextual authentication (based on things like the location of login)
- Enforce the use of strong passwords (at least 12 characters long & using a mix of letters, symbols, and numbers)
- Password Manager (securely stores unique passwords)
When your team is connecting to a cloud service to enter data or download a file, that data is traveling through a network connection. This could be a Wi-Fi network in your office or a cellular network a lawyer is using while at the courthouse.
That data connection needs to be secure. Otherwise, hackers can “grab” that data as it’s being transmitted between your device and the cloud service.
Some of the standard network protections to consider are:
- Use of VPN when away from the office
- Ensuring your Wi-Fi has a strong password
- Only using private or encrypted connections
- Upgrading your router to Wi-Fi 6, which has the highest security standard (WPA3™)
Cloud security can easily be compromised if a device is breached. For example, many cloud services, such as Dropbox and Google Drive, will sync with your device. This allows you easy access to cloud files and makes it simple to save new files to the cloud automatically.
But, if your PC or mobile device is infected with malware, that syncing action can enable the malicious code to infect your cloud storage service as well. Thus, it’s important that devices are properly secured as part of your cloud security strategy.
Device security tactics include:
- Ensuring timely updates through managed IT services
- Installing a good antivirus on all devices (including smartphones)
- Training employees on phishing tactics and how to avoid them
- DNS filtering to block malicious websites
Cloud Security Configuration
One of the leading causes of cloud-based data breaches is misconfiguration. This often happens due to the complexity of cloud security and the misconception that the SaaS provider will “just handle it all.”
While it’s true that service providers like AWS and Microsoft offer multiple security controls, it’s generally up to the user to configure these controls properly. Most organizations aren’t sure what to do, so they just leave them at defaults, leaving themselves unprotected.
It’s important to work with a cloud security professional for the configuration of your cloud services. We can help you identify the best and most secure cloud strategy for your firm.
Request a Cloud Security Review Today
Use cloud technology confidently to boost your law firm’s productivity and client service capabilities. Strategic Technology Solutions can perform a cloud security review and give you expert guidance.