- Faisal Khwaja
- July 16, 2019
9 Cloud Security Risks Every Company Faces
When using cloud services, you are placing your data on remote servers hosted by a third-party service provider. In this case, maintaining data security becomes a shared responsibility between you and the service provider. While both of you may have multiple measures in place, and your employees may also have the best information security training, the following cloud computing risks are always there:
1. Breach of Data
Cloud infrastructures face many of the same threats as traditional corporate networks, but due to a large amount of data stored on cloud servers, cloud service providers such as AWS, Azure, and google cloud become attractive targets. The severity of potential harm tends to depend on the sensitivity of the exposed data. The exposure of personal financial information tends to be in the headlines, but infractions involving health information, etc. can be devastating.
When a data breach occurs, companies can incur fines, or they can face lawsuits or criminal charges. Gap investigations and customer notifications can accumulate high costs. Indirect effects, such as damage to the brand and loss of business, can have an impact on organizations for years.
2. Broken Authentication, Compromised Credentials, Hacked Accounts
If you have weak passwords, poor password management, and weak authentication measures in place, your data will always be vulnerable. Organizations often struggle with management with respect to identities, as they try to assign appropriate permissions for the user's jobs. More importantly, sometimes, they forget to remove user access when a job function changes or a user leaves the organization.
Multi-factor authentication systems, such as passwords that expire after one use, authentication via cell phone, and smart cards, protect cloud services. Many developers make the mistake of putting the credentials and encryption keys in the source code and leaving them in public repositories, such as GitHub.
3. Interfaces and APIs Hacked
Virtually all cloud and application services now offer API(s). Information Technology stuff uses interfaces and APIs to manage and interact with cloud services, including those that provide cloud provisioning, management, orchestration, and tracking.
The security and availability of cloud services (authentication and access control to encryption monitoring and activity) usually depend on the protection of the APIs. The more APIs you have, the more vulnerable you are to attacks. Attackers usually target APIs to get in the system and think of them as their way in. While you may not be able to eliminate APIs, there are ways you can minimize the risk posed by them.
4. Vulnerabilities of the Exploited System
Weakness in systems or exploitable bugs in programs are not new but have become a bigger problem with the advent of multiuser capacity in cloud computing. Organizations share the memory of the system, databases, and other resources near each other, creating new areas of attack. Penetration testing, vulnerability scanning, tracking and reacting to reported threats and a number of other practices can be utilized to reduce vulnerabilities of a system.
5. Account Hijacking
Phishing, fraud, and software exploitation continue to be successful, and cloud services are not immune. Attackers can gain access to transactions and alter critical data. They can use applications in the cloud to launch other attacks.
Common strategies of protection in depth and defence can contain the damages suffered by a violation. Companies need to forbid the sharing of account credentials between users and services, as well as allow multifactor authentication schemes where available. Accounts, including service accounts, must be controlled so that each transaction can be traced back to an individual.
6. Malicious Individuals
Internal threats have many faces: a current or former employee, a systems administrator, a contractor, or a business partner. An internal threat can destroy entire infrastructures or manipulate the data. Systems that rely solely on cloud services for security, such as encryption, are at higher risk.
7. The Parasite of the APT
APT stands for Advanced Persistent Threat. It is a stealth attack where an individual or a group gains access to your system without your knowledge, and stay there without your knowledge, all the while making use of their unauthorized access to your data.
APTs typically move laterally across the network and integrate with regular traffic, making them difficult to detect. Leading cloud providers apply advanced techniques to prevent ATPs from infiltrating their infrastructure, so customers need to be as diligent in identifying APT commitments in cloud accounts as they would in the local mail systems.
Common points of contamination include phishing, direct attacks, USB drives preloaded with malicious software, and compromised third-party networks.
8. Permanent Loss of Data
As the cloud matures, reports of permanent data loss due to vendor error have become extremely rare. But it is known that malicious hackers permanently remove data from the Cloud to harm businesses, and data centres in the Cloud are as vulnerable to natural disasters as any installation.
Daily backup and off-site storage remain essential in cloud environments.
The cost of preventing data loss is not only with the cloud service provider. If a client encrypts the data before uploading it to the Cloud, then the client must be careful to protect the encryption key. Once the key is lost, the data continues.
9. Improper Understanding of the Cloud
Organizations that use cloud technology without training may encounter a large number of commercial, financial, technical, legal and compliance risks.
Anyone looking to acquire critical certifications in cloud security needs to understand the basic concepts as well as some fundamental complexities. If you, in your experience, encounter a series of questions on which you would like to hear expert opinion then count on us. Our experts come with knowledge and insights into the world of security and its association with the cloud infrastructure, which would benefit you greatly.