Call us Toll Free (USA): 1-833-844-9468     International: +1-603-280-4451 M-F 8am to 6pm EST
Bad Hygiene: New Study Uncovers Common Security Failures of Cloud-First Organizations

Bad Hygiene: New Study Uncovers Common Security Failures of Cloud-First Organizations

By Ruoting Sun, Vice President of Products, Secureframe

The rapid rise of cloud-first organizations has revolutionized the way businesses operate. Yet with increased reliance on cloud services, information security is now business-critical. According to IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report 2022, the average cost of a data breach in the US rose to over $9M. With an evolving threat landscape and increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks, organizations must go beyond baseline security measures to stay ahead of emerging risks and attack techniques.

Yet many organizations lack foundational security hygiene practices, leaving them vulnerable to costly security incidents. Our latest research reveals alarming statistics about the lack of best-practice security measures in cloud-first organizations.

  1. Access key rotation for cloud service providers has the highest failure rate at 41%.

Access keys are an essential component of cloud security, granting users and applications access to various cloud resources. The high failure rate in access key rotation among cloud-first organizations poses a significant risk to information security.

Organizations must take proactive steps to maintain regular access key rotation. Implementing a key rotation policy and conducting regular audits of access key usage is essential. Security automation tools can also help manage key rotation and ensure consistency across the organization.

  1. 40% of Identity and Access Management (IAM) accounts and 21% of root accounts do not have multi-factor authentication enabled for cloud service providers.

Despite well-documented benefits, many organizations do not have MFA enabled across their cloud environment, leaving them vulnerable to unauthorized access. In addition to mandating MFA for all IAM and root accounts, organizations should educate employees on the importance of MFA and security hygiene best practices.

  1. 37% of organizations reuse passwords for cloud service provider logins.

The prevalence of password reuse makes it easier for attackers to gain unauthorized access to multiple accounts by exploiting a single set of credentials. There are several ways to address this problem, from implementing strong password policies to utilizing password managers to help employees securely store and manage unique passwords.

Strengthening Security Hygiene Through Automation

Failure rates for these common security configurations shed light on why account takeover is still one of the top threat vectors leveraged by bad actors. Top cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform all provide capabilities around multi-factor authentication, access key rotation, and password reuse prevention natively within their platforms.

The critical question is: why are so many organizations failing to implement well-known best practices to secure their cloud environment? Too often it is because they are needlessly manual, time-consuming tasks that get neglected for other business priorities.

Forward-thinking organizations are embracing compliance automation tools as one solution to this pervasive problem. Automation allows companies to quickly and easily address routine security tasks and compliance requirements by continuously monitoring systems, collecting documentation for routine security audits, automating responses to security questionnaires, and streamlining annual employee security training. With routine security hygiene tasks automatically completed, IT security teams have more resources to contribute to complex business issues.

Automated security tools improve efficiency, streamlining time-consuming tasks and freeing up IT personnel to focus on critical security initiatives. They add consistency, helping maintain uniform security processes across the organization. And they enable scalability, accommodating expanding infrastructure as the organization grows.

There are several areas where automation can be effectively implemented to improve security hygiene:

  • Vulnerability management: Automated vulnerability scanners can regularly assess an organization’s infrastructure for potential weaknesses, ensuring timely identification and remediation of security risks.
  • Patch management: Automated patch management tools can monitor and apply software updates and security patches, keeping systems up-to-date.
  • Access management: Automating user access management can streamline the process of granting, modifying, and revoking access privileges, reducing the risk of unauthorized access.
  • Incident response: Automated incident response tools can quickly detect and respond to potential security breaches, minimizing potential damage and ensuring a swift recovery.

While automation offers numerous benefits, it is essential to balance automation with human expertise.

Security teams must work closely with automated tools, leveraging their expertise to fine-tune and optimize these technologies. As the security landscape evolves, teams can adapt automated tools to new challenges and regularly assess performance, making adjustments to ensure automated tools continue to support the organization’s security goals.

The Urgent Need for Good Security Hygiene

As cloud adoption continues to grow, it is crucial for organizations to prioritize proper security hygiene to ensure the ongoing protection of their valuable assets and data. By embracing automation, organizations can simplify and streamline routine security tasks, elevate their security hygiene, and demonstrate a strong security posture to customers, prospects, and partners.

Secureframe Trust empowers organizations to prove a strong security program and build customer trust using real-time data.

  • A customizable Trust Center allows organizations to build a dedicated space to publicly demonstrate their security program with data continuously pulled from Secureframe.
  • Questionnaire Automation streamlines the process of managing and completing security questionnaires using machine learning and AI, enabling organizations to quickly satisfy specific customer requirements.
  • The Knowledge Base serves as an organization’s privacy, security, and compliance system of record. In-house subject matter expert can edit details to ensure the Knowledge Base stays up-to-date, removing friction while allowing admins control over sensitive documentation.

Compliance automation offers cloud-first organizations a powerful way to maintain a robust security posture while proving their commitment to security and compliance to customers and prospects. As the cloud landscape continues to evolve, organizations that effectively leverage compliance automation will be better positioned to navigate emerging challenges and seize new opportunities for growth.

About the Author

Bad Hygiene: New Study Uncovers Common Security Failures of Cloud-First OrganizationsRuoting Sun is Vice President of Products at Secureframe, the leading all-in-one compliance automation platform. Build confidence with prospects and streamline security reviews with Secureframe Trust.

cyberdefensegenius - ai chatbot

12th Anniversary Top InfoSec Innovator & Black Unicorn Awards for 2024 are now Open! Finalists Notified Before BlackHat USA 2024...