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Six Ways to Improve Cloud Security for Your Organization

By: Brittany Holmes, Corporate Communications Manager 

Cloud security has become increasingly crucial as more organizations are transitioning from on-premise solutions to cloud-based services. The scalability and convenience of cloud products drive this shift. According to a study by Gartner, it is estimated that by 2026, 75% of organizations will adopt a digital transformation model predicated on cloud as the fundamental underlying platform. This showcases organizations moving toward the growing trend of cloud adoption and cloud technology as a key driver in their digital transformation journey and cybersecurity strategy.  

The rapid transition to the cloud has greatly expanded the potential areas for cyberattacks, posing a significant challenge for security teams. Cybercriminals have been targeting cloud environments by exploiting vulnerabilities in public-facing applications like web servers, gaining access through valid accounts, password resets, or by planting web shells for long-term access. These insights highlight the critical importance of implementing strong cloud security practices and actively managing exposure to mitigate the increasing threat of cloud-related attacks.  

This blog uncovers how to secure your cloud environment.   

Six ways to improve cloud security for your organization: 

1. Encrypt all data within the cloud:

Encryption makes it more difficult for cybercriminals to infiltrate sensitive information stored in the cloud. This added layer of protection ensures that data remains secure and confidential, reducing the risk of cyberattacks and breaches. Encryption also allows for secure data transmission between users and the cloud, further enhancing the security of information stored in the cloud. 

Implementing encryption also helps organizations comply with various data protection regulations and industry standards. By encrypting all data within the cloud, organizations can demonstrate a commitment to safeguarding sensitive information and maintaining data privacy. 

2. Centralize visibility of private, hybrid, and multi-cloud environments: 

Organizations can have visibility within a single pane of glass view across all cloud environments by centralizing the visibility of private, hybrid, and multi-cloud environments. IT teams can monitor and manage security controls, policies, and configurations more easily. This allows for better coordination and communication between different cloud environments, enabling organizations to quickly identify and remediate any security vulnerabilities or threats that may arise. 

Investing in Extended Detection and Response (XDR) solutions can further enhance centralized visibility across multiple cloud environments. XDR is a security platform that integrates and correlates security data from various sources such as endpoints, networks, and applications, providing a holistic view of the organization’s security posture. 

3. Enforce cloud security standards: 

By implementing and enforcing strict cloud security standards, organizations can ensure that all cloud services and applications adhere to best practices for data protection, access control, encryption, and compliance requirements. This can help mitigate the risk of unauthorized access compromising sensitive information stored in the cloud.  

Organizations should establish policies and procedures to enforce cloud security standards effectively. For example, conduct regular audits and assessments to monitor compliance with these standards and provide ongoing training and education for employees on best practices for securing cloud environments. 

4. Employ machine learning detection capabilities: 

Leveraging threat detection capabilities, such as User Entity and Behavior Analytics (UEBA) and Machine Learning, detects and responds to security threats in real-time. UEBA technology analyzes user behavior patterns and identifies deviations that may indicate a potential security incident. Machine Learning algorithms help block and predict security incidents by analyzing large datasets and identifying patterns indicative of malicious activity. By leveraging these advanced technologies, organizations can proactively protect their cloud environments from cyber threats. 

5. Implement multi-factor authentication (MFA): 

Utilizing security tools and technologies, such as encryption, MFA, and intrusion detection systems, further enhances cloud security measures. MFA, specifically, adds an extra layer of protection to user accounts, requiring more than a password and username or email for access. MFA reduces the risk of unauthorized access and data breaches by requiring multiple verification forms to protect cloud data.   

Read more about the basics of MFA, its strengths and weaknesses, and top methods cybercriminals use to bypass MFA in MFA Bypass Attacks: How to Keep 2FA Secure. 

6. Regularly audit misconfigurations and stale accounts: 

Organizations should regularly audit and address misconfigurations in their cloud infrastructure. Misconfigurations can leave vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data or resources. Organizations can identify and rectify misconfigurations by conducting regular audits of their cloud environments before they are exploited. This can involve implementing automated tools to scan for misconfigurations, regularly reviewing and updating security policies, and ensuring that employees are properly trained on best practices for cloud security.  

Another important aspect of cloud security is managing and monitoring stale accounts. Stale accounts refer to user accounts that are no longer actively used or have not been accessed for a long time. These accounts can become a target for cybercriminals, as they may not be monitored or have proper security measures in place. Organizations should regularly review their user accounts, identifying stale accounts and either disabling or deleting them. 

Maximize Your Cloud Security with Extended Detection and Response 

The shift to the cloud offers organizations a competitive edge by providing cost savings, increased agility, improved collaboration, and enhanced security features. It is no surprise that more and more organizations are transitioning to cloud services due to their numerous benefits. 

For lean teams looking to enhance their cloud security and free up time for other operational tasks, Extended Detection and Response (XDR) is invaluable. By seamlessly integrating with cloud security measures, XDR solutions provide continuous monitoring, threat detection, and prompt remediation, allowing organizations to safeguard their assets in the cloud proactively. 

This proactive approach ensures real-time threat detection and incident response, ultimately strengthening the overall security posture. With XDR in place, IT teams can focus on other critical operational tasks without compromising security. XDR services are vital in effectively supporting lean teams securing their cloud environments.   

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An Overview of Microsoft 365 Security Best Practices

By: Brittany Holmes, Corporate Communications Manager 

As organizations rely on cloud-based technologies for their operations, Microsoft 365 (M365) has become popular for its integrated suite of productivity and collaboration tools. M365 offers built-in security features that aim to protect organizations from various cybersecurity threats. However, in today’s complex threat landscape, relying only on the built-in security of M365 may not be enough. 

Managed Detection and Response (MDR) providers specialize in offering advanced security services that can integrate seamlessly with M365 to provide an additional layer of protection. MDR providers employ a range of technologies and techniques, such as AI-driven threat detection, real-time monitoring, and incident response, to actively identify and contain threats before they can cause significant harm within the M365 environment. 

This blog details the importance of expanding M365’s security by covering the best practices MDR providers should offer.  

M365 Data Security Best Practices   

Train Employees on Phishing Attempts 

Phishing attacks are a top method for cybercriminals to infiltrate systems, posing a significant risk to organizations using M365. These attacks have evolved in sophistication, making it harder for users to discern legitimate messages from malicious ones. As M365 is widely used for email communication, cybercriminals exploit this platform, disguising their phishing attempts as genuine correspondence. This tactic aims to trick users into exposing sensitive information or unknowingly downloading malware, posing grave security threats to organizations relying on M365 for their day-to-day operations.  

By training employees in email security through a Security Training Program, you can help them understand the risks and how to identify suspicious emails. This can include training employees to spot phishing signs, such as unexpected attachments or unusual email addresses, and avoiding clicking on suspicious links.  

Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for Admin Accounts 

MFA is a crucial security measure that adds an extra layer of protection to user accounts. While it is commonly known that employees should be required to enable MFA, it is equally important for administrators. Admin accounts, particularly those with high-level privileges such as Global Administrators, are prime targets for attackers due to their access and control level. By compromising an admin account, an attacker can gain unauthorized control over an organization’s systems and data, wreaking havoc and causing significant damage. 

However, it is important to note that while MFA is a powerful security measure, it is not foolproof. Cybercriminals have found ways to bypass MFA and gain unauthorized account access. For example, they may use sophisticated phishing techniques to trick users into providing their password credentials on a fraudulent website that will bypass the MFA. 

Integrate Logs with Existing MDR Solution 

Integrating your M365 logs into your existing MDR solution is crucial for achieving complete visibility into your environment. By doing so, you can ensure that all logs and events from M365 are analyzed and correlated with other security data from various sources. This helps you identify and respond to threats quickly.  

Firstly, it allows you to monitor and analyze user activities, such as logins, file access, and email actions, within the M365 environment. This visibility is essential for detecting anomalous behavior which may indicate a security breach. Secondly, integrating M365 logs with your MDR solution enables better correlation and analysis of events across your entire infrastructure. You can gain valuable context and a broader perspective on potential threats by aggregating and correlating M365 logs with logs from other systems, such as firewalls, endpoints, and cloud services.  

This holistic approach to monitoring identifies complex attack patterns and helps your security team make informed decisions on incident response. MDR solutions often provide specific integrations for M365, making the process of integrating logs seamless and efficient. These integrations typically include connectors or APIs facilitating the ingestion and analysis of M365 logs within the Security Operations Platform.  

Investigating Alerts for Suspicious M365 Activity 

Investigating alerts for suspicious M365 activity is critical for maintaining the security and integrity of your environment. According to Microsoft, these activities can include looking for unusual activities related to external user file activity, external file sharing, volume of file deletion, and more. 

However, configuring and managing alerts can be a lot to handle for IT teams, especially in large and complex environments. MDR solutions can alleviate the heavy load on IT teams by sifting through and prioritizing the alerts generated by the M365 integration. These solutions can analyze the context of alerts, correlate multiple events, and provide real-time insights into the severity and priority of each alert. 

One common scenario where MDR solutions provide immense value is detecting “impossible travel” from the M365 integration. Cybercriminals often attempt to log in from multiple locations across different geographical regions within a short period of time, which is humanly impossible.  

User Entity & Behavior Analytics (UEBA) is a critical tool that allows MDR teams to effectively track and analyze employee behavior patterns within the M365 environment. With UEBA, organizations can identify anomalies and suspicious activities, including unauthorized logons from different locations, as cybercriminals may possess employee credentials. By leveraging UEBA, companies can establish a proactive approach to securing compromised accounts, preventing further unauthorized access, and taking immediate action. The presence of a dedicated MDR team provides organizations with extended visibility beyond their boundaries, ensuring enhanced security measures. 

Strengthening Cybersecurity with MDR Providers 

While M365 offers built-in security features, the evolving threat landscape requires additional layers of protection to safeguard organizations. MDR providers fill this gap by integrating seamlessly with M365 and leveraging advanced threat detection technologies, real-time monitoring, and incident response capabilities.   

MDR solutions not only help manage the overwhelming number of alerts generated by M365 but also provide expertise and insights to prioritize and address these threats effectively. By partnering with MDR providers and implementing best practices within your cybersecurity strategy, organizations can enhance their security posture and mitigate the risks associated with using M365. Typically, this integration is an additional cost, but Adlumin offers it at no additional cost. 

Learn more about Adlumin’s integrations and gain complete visibility across your entire enterprise. Our vendor–agnostic approach means you get the most out of your current security investments. 

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