A growing number of organizations are opting to migrate their data and applications to the cloud given the numerous benefits that this delivers: cost savings on server maintenance, scalability, and easy access to data from anywhere, to name just three. The latter is particularly important today due to the massive increase in telecommuting in response to the lockdown measures imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yet cybersecurity has remained in the background for many companies that have decided to take this step. A global study by the Thales and Ponemon Institute carried out last year revealed that there is a gap between the rapid growth in the amount of data stored in the cloud and the attention that companies are paying to security. While 48 percent of corporate data is cloud-hosted, just 32 percent of organizations believe it is their responsibility to protect it.

Such a trend could have worrying consequences, as it is estimated that 44 percent of cyberthreats commence their life cycle on public clouds. Moreover, the COVID pandemic has generated additional cybersecurity risks. The massive interest, on the one hand, that the disease has provoked has been exploited by malware, either in the form of phishing attacks or domains that use COVID-19 as bait. On the other hand, telework and remote access to data and applications has left corporate systems and employees’ endpoints vulnerable, as the security perimeter has extended beyond company premises.

Secure remote access

 With all this in mind, cybersecurity must become an absolute priority. Access to corporate assets and networks must be protected in all environments and endpoints, both on a technological and human level.

Employees themselves and, specifically, their level of awareness of potential risks, represent the best and main line of defense, so it is fundamental to emphasize the importance of sound security practices among staff. This includes general advice that serves under any circumstances, such as not opening attachments from unknown senders, periodically changing passwords and making them strong, and keeping operating systems and applications up to date.

With regard to endpoints, they should be protected with advanced cybersecurity solutions as Adaptive Defense 360. In addition, connections between endpoints and the corporate network must be secured at all times through a VPN (Virtual Private Network), while multi-factor authentication systems ought to be in place to prevent fraudulent access. Finally, firewall systems (virtual or physical) must be implemented to block potentially dangerous traffic, as well as services for monitoring the systems, networks, applications, and users that handle and access data (especially unstructured personal data on endpoints).

To support such a defense structure, it is advisable to have EDR solutions such as those provided by Panda Security, whose goal is to ensure that all processes run on and by users’ computers can be trusted and which provide visibility of all activity on endpoints, regardless of their location. In this way, the attack surface will be reduced, as the security perimeter is greater and the consequences of attacks, if they occur, will be minimized.