According to DivvyCloud, data breaches caused by cloud misconfigurations cost companies about $3.18 trillion in 2019, they pose threats to cloud computing security.
The Covid-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc on the environment, our social lives, and our work habits. The crisis has placed attention on cloud protection and the resilience of its technology to stand up to cloud security risks, as many employees around the world are now forced to operate from home.
The cyber security risks associated with threats to cloud computing security are not fresh. When the pandemic struck, several businesses were already working on strengthening their cloud protection, but they were forced to speed up their preparations.
This involves a renewed effort to encrypt cloud data with AES and heightened awareness of the risks of phishing attacks in cloud environments. Improved cloud encryption, according to analysts, will save companies up to $1.4 million per cyber-attack, reducing threats to cloud computing security.
Most Significant Cloud Security Threats in Cloud Computing
The cloud isn’t going anywhere. According to Flexera’s 2020 State of the Cloud Study (formerly the Rightscale State of the Cloud Report), for the first time since the report’s inception, every survey respondent confirmed that they had cloud strategy plans or had already used cloud in some way. In reality, 93 percent of those polled said their companies have multi-cloud strategies in place. The broad use of cloud infrastructure by companies of all sizes highlights the importance of minimising cloud security risks by resolving emerging cloud vulnerabilities.
Here are the five most common cloud security threats and what your organization can do to mitigate them:
Cloud computing security Threat#1: Access Management
One of the key risks to cloud storage services is a function of how organisations use them, rather than a feature of the systems themselves. The rising number of cloud providers providing massive free subscription plans reduces prices and allows even small enterprises to migrate their entire data to the cloud. This is mostly achieved without proper consideration of access policies.
How to Protect Your Business from This Cloud Security Threat: Limit Access
There are two basic components to access management. A strict access policy is one thing, and a collection of authentication and identity verification tools is another.
Let’s start with access policies. When it comes to creating access policies for cloud computing, there is a clear rule to follow: When an individual would not need access to specific files or programs to do their work, they should not be granted it. You can check the amount of access your workers have to your cloud services on a regular basis and delete any rights that aren’t required.
When workers leave the company, this is especially true. Disgruntled workers who discovered that they already have access to their employer accounts even after leaving the corporation have been the source of a series of high-profile recent data breaches. As a result, IT managers must maintain direct contact with users.
In addition to this policy, you can implement the most reliable authentication and identity verification tools for your cloud environment. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) solutions are also included with several cloud vendors’ basic kits. Users must have access to a second computer — usually a Smartphone — to log in to these services. This significantly improves the security and connectivity to cloud storage. If you want to boost your cloud protection any further, you can use a division of duties (SoD) model.
Threats to cloud computing security #2: Data Breaches and Data Leaks
Cloud services are more vulnerable to data failures and leaks than on-premise systems. This is due to the vast volumes of data circulating between workers and cloud networks, which can be intercepted by hackers searching for vulnerabilities. This is what happened to Equifax in 2017, when hackers hacked and leaked the personal information of over 148 million Americans. The perpetrators were able to take advantage of an invalid digital certificate in the Equifax hack. This is how the breach seemed to go undetected for over a month and a half — a total of 76 days.
How to Protect Your Business from This Cloud Threat: Secure Communications and Connections
Using in-transit and at-rest data encryption to protect the data is one of the safest ways to minimise this threat. This will require protection for the email server as well as the messages themselves. Digital certificates, such as SSL/TLS website certificates and S/MIME (secure/multipurpose internet mail extension) certificates, are examples of this.
You can also make sure that everybody on your team has encrypted access to your cloud from everywhere, and that you’re using a reputable virtual private network to encrypt data in transit between Wi-Fi access points and your company’s network.
What constitutes trustworthiness? You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars a month per user on an enterprise VPN. However, you should conduct thorough analysis to ensure that the VPN service you use is truly safe.
This is especially true if you’re looking for a low-cost VPN service. Any of these services aren’t as stable as they appear to be, as we found out in our recent post on free VPNs. Few free or ostensibly free VPN services are perfect, as long as they don’t hold log files and are AES-encrypted. Others will keep track of everything you do in order to market it, or they will use less secure encryption systems. Both of these methods are efficient.
Cloud security Threat #3: Data Loss
Graphic: Cloud backup strategy
Another problem with cloud infrastructure is data loss. When you move your business operations to the cloud, the amount of data you maintain centrally will easily become unmanageable, making backups impossible and expensive. As a result, according to study, an average of 51% of businesses have publicly disclosed at least one cloud storage facility, and 84% of companies say that conventional security solutions don’t operate in cloud environments.
Not performing regular, thorough backups is a major threat because of the rise of ransom ware attacks, in which a hacker will encrypt your cloud storage and demand payment for returning data to you.
How to Protect Your Business from This Cloud Security Threat: Backup Your Data
It’s too late if you wait before something goes wrong. To avoid an attack like this, you must first plan and install a reliable backup mechanism. To prevent data loss from individual storage area network (SAN) systems crippling the enterprise, this should ideally be a distributed system with data backed up in various systems and locations.
Threat to cloud computing security #4: Insecure APIs
The key means for interacting with cloud computing networks are application user interfaces (APIs). APIs are often used by (at least) two groups of employees: your own people, who can use an API to access data processed in the cloud, and the cloud service provider’s workers.
Unfortunately, several APIs do have security bugs, granting cloud storage services unfettered access to your files. For eg, it was revealed a few months ago that both Facebook and Google stored user passwords in plaintext, which could be read by workers of those businesses.
Considering that the 2019 Online Security Survey by Google and Harris Poll shows that more than two-thirds of respondents reuse their passwords across multiple accounts, that are particularly worrisome.
How to Protect Your Business From This Cloud Security Threat: Choose Vendors Carefully
Mitigating the danger posed by vulnerable APIs necessitates cautious selection of a cloud storage provider. A good vendor would follow the OWASP API security protocols and be able to supply you with information about how many threats they’ve had and how many they’ve beaten.
Risk to cloud computing security#5: Misconfigured Cloud Storage
Another prevalent threat in cloud environments, according to DivvyCloud, is misconfiguration, which can render data exposed. Some businesses don’t change their cloud storage’s default security settings; others allow their data to be stored in large, confusing structures where it’s easy to leave files unprotected. The National Security Agency’s (NSA) mishap, which made a collection of top secret documents accessible to all from an external browser, is a prime example of the risks of misconfigured cloud computing.
The overwhelming number of devices that are now linked to cloud computing exacerbates those weaknesses. From credential administration to email outreach to communications automation to small business phone and messaging services, most businesses can also use the cloud for all of their operating processes. Even the most seasoned administrators can find it challenging to handle data streaming to the cloud from numerous endpoints.
How to Protect Your Business from This Cloud Threat: Check Your Configuration Settings (and Then Verify Them Again)
For most businesses, ensuring that their cloud storage is installed properly would entail speaking with their cloud storage provider and obtaining guarantees (and perhaps legal assurances) that all is in order. You should ensure that you have a detailed understanding of not only your cloud storage system, but also the those systems you use that might jeopardise its stability.
A successful cloud storage service will determine how you use your cloud storage, as well as the other systems you use for it, and point out any possible threats or cloud flaws as a result.
Prepare for the Future with Cloud Security
With the planet battling a global pandemic, now may seem like an odd time to reevaluate the cloud protection. However, this is a necessary measure, and there is no better time than now to take it to reduce threats to cloud computing security.
None of the above cloud protection challenges are new, but when more workers are required to operate from home, they are more relevant than ever. As a consequence, security, as well as frequent checks on who has access to your cloud storage and finding a high-quality cloud provider, is vital protections.
Finally, by taking advantage of this opportunity to enhance your cloud protection, you will be safeguarding your records, workers, and customers in the long run.