The cloud is a wonderful asset that companies and individuals now take for granted and use in everyday life. But these advantages come with some very distinct cybersecurity challenges. While the industry has evolved to address many of these, the cloud continues to represent a variety of cyber-security risks and challenges.
Cloud Computing Security 101: What you need to know
- Data security and breaches
- Poor access management
- Insecure API
- DoS attack
Data security and breaches
The security of our data is one of the most publicized aspects of cloud security issues. When information is accessed by an unauthorized source this is referred to as a breach. There are multiple levels of security to keep information within the cloud safe, and it takes a targeted attack by a hacker to find weaknesses and extract the data.
Hackers can then sell the information on the black market, hold a company to ransom, or simply make it available to the public.
Common reasons data breaches occur include:
– Malware infections: Sneakily installing a program onto the computer or device of a victim
– Social engineering: Gaining a person’s trust and persuading them to divulge login credentials, user names, passwords, etc.
– Failing to update to the latest software: Cloud security is dynamic and ever-changing. New updates are released that contain patches to fix known threats. Failure to install these promptly can lead to inadequacies in the security of a system
Hackers study a company (or individual’s) structure for weaknesses and then focus a defined attack in an attempt to gain access. Such breaches can be avoided by utilizing multi-layered security strategies that authenticate user access. These might include:
– Multi-factored authentication: Logging in requires more than a single password, such as a randomly generated time-sensitive password via SMS.
– Perimeter firewalls: Controlling traffic between a private and public network
– Data-at-Rest encryption: This is data stored in a system but that’s not routinely used on different devices
Poor access management
This is the cause of some of the most regularly seen security risks where multiple people use a particular platform, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. Such a point of access necessitates strict security controls, as they’re magnets for hackers. For example, storing passwords in plain text is a massive security risk, as is insufficient crisis management planning should a database be targeted.
API (Application User Interface) is by far the most common instrument that operates systems within the cloud. If the configuration is flawed this can lead to multiple issues, such as:
– Lack of access monitoring
– Anonymous access
– Reusable passwords
– Clear text authentication
DoS, or denial of service, is a risk because a successful attack means users cannot access the system. Users might experience a complete system failure, or it might work slowly or fail to load as expected. There are two types of DoS attacks:
– An attack from multiple sources to render the system inactive
– Targeted attacks to prevent specific systems from working
Other Security Risks of Cloud Computing
- Further risks
While the above are some of the wider-known risks to cloud computing and storage, there are also other significant threats to be aware of.
– Misconfigured cloud storage
– Reduced control and visibility from users
– Incomplete data deletion
Companies must be aware that such threats and risks are ongoing. Therefore a strategic approach to cloud security from an expert source is vital for companies to ensure they comply with legal obligations and safeguard their users and customers.
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