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Top Cloud Security Risks Every Business Should Know

Cloud computing brings many benefits both for digital startups and large businesses. It enables cost reduction, performance optimization, and enhanced business agility. However, cloud security risks are the primary concern to a successful operation. Once you handle them, you will be able to make the most of the secure cloud environment. We’ll cover the most common cloud computing security risks and how to mitigate them to take advantage of cloud solutions. You’ll also know why to consider security risks backed with infamous worldwide cyber attack statistics.

What are Cloud Security Risks?

The security risks in cloud computing overlap in many ways with more traditional data center environments. In both cases, cyber threats focus on taking advantage of and exploiting vulnerabilities in software. However with cloud computing, instead of an organization mitigating or accepting physical security risks, they transfer them to another service provider. As a result, the business that contracts with a cloud service provider is responsible for mitigating a new set of risks through their own due diligence regarding security protocols, regulatory compliance maintenance, and more. Understanding the risks is key to determining if cloud services are the right choice for your company’s software needs.

cloud security risks

Top Cloud Security Risks

Data Breach

When your organization’s confidential data is accessed and used without your knowledge or consent, we call it a data breach. It is basically a theft, which mostly happens due to weak credentials or highly complex accessibility systems, which can give wrong permissions to the wrong people. It can also be due to the entry of malware into your system. In this, most attacks are directed at data systems, as this is what attackers value. Inadequate cloud configuration or no protection at runtime can leave data vulnerable to theft.

Different types of information have different consequences when compromised. Identity thieves and phishers purchase sensitive data like social security numbers and medical records from criminals on the dark web. Internal documents and emails contain sensitive information that could be used to ruin a company’s good name and drive down its stock price if it fell into the wrong hands. Regardless of the motivation for the theft, breaches pose a serious risk to businesses that store data in the cloud.

Compliance Issues

Organizations need to be diligent to make sure that they remain in regulatory compliance with the requirements specific to their industry and geographical location. When using cloud-based services for your data, you must ensure that data access and storage needs around Personally Identifiable Information (PII) are being met by the service provider in line with HIPAA security and privacy rules, GDPR, or other areas specific to your business. In addition, cloud services typically allow for larger-scale data access, so companies need to confirm that the proper access controls and appropriately leveled security measures are in place. Connected compliance management software will aid organizations in staying on top of regulatory compliance demands.

Data Loss

In cloud computing, one of the security risks is data loss. This is often referred to as a data leak. Insiders such as employees and business partners have access to sensitive data. Therefore, it’s feasible that hackers will gain access to our private information or sensitive data if the security of a cloud service is breached. Enterprises using cloud computing security issues must cede part of their control to the CSP. Due to this, someone outside your IT department may oversee protecting some of the most critical data in your company. Your company will lose its data and intellectual property and be held liable for any ensuing damages if the cloud service provider is breached or attacked.

According to a report by the international intelligence agency IDC, within 18 months, 79 percent of firms had at least one or two cloud data breaches. Data loss can occur due to various issues, including lost or damaged data, hardware issues, loss of access due to natural disasters, and malware attacks for which the cloud service provider (CSP) is unprepared.

Attack Surface

What we call an environment’s overall vulnerability is called its attack surface. The attack surface grows with each new task. In some cases, the amount of openly accessible workload can increase after microservices are used. If you don’t keep it well-managed, your infrastructure may be vulnerable in ways you are unaware of once it is attacked.

A call at this hour is the last thing anyone wants. Subtle information leaks that open the door to an attack also constitute part of the attack surface. Because of the inherent nature of the internet and the cloud, you always leave yourself vulnerable to outside attacks. It could be crucial to the daily functioning of your company, but you should keep an eye on it.

Insecure Interfaces and APIs

Insecure interfaces and APIs can pose significant security risks for cloud technology because they provide an entry point for attackers to exploit vulnerabilities in the system. Cloud-based applications and services typically rely on APIs to interact with external systems, and if these interfaces are not secure, attackers can gain unauthorized access to sensitive data and resources.

Insecure APIs can also allow attackers to modify or delete data, launch denial-of-service attacks, or execute arbitrary code. Furthermore, weak or unauthenticated APIs can provide a backdoor for attackers to access the system even after other security measures have been put in place. Therefore, it is critical to secure interfaces and APIs to prevent these types of attacks and protect cloud-based systems and data.

cloud security risks

Misconfiguration

Misconfigurations of cloud security settings are a leading cause of cloud data breaches. Many organizations’ cloud security posture management strategies are inadequate for protecting their cloud-based infrastructure.

Several factors contribute to this. Cloud infrastructure is designed to be easily usable and to enable easy data sharing, making it difficult for organizations to ensure that data is only accessible to authorized parties. Also, organizations using cloud-based infrastructure do not have complete visibility and control over their infrastructure, meaning that they need to rely upon security controls provided by their cloud service provider (CSP) to configure and secure their cloud deployments. Since many organizations are unfamiliar with securing cloud infrastructure and often have multi-cloud deployments – each with a different array of vendor-provided security controls – it is easy for a misconfiguration or security oversight to leave an organization’s cloud-based resources exposed to attackers.

Limited Visibility

When businesses shift operations, workloads, and assets to the cloud, the move transfers the responsibility of managing some of the systems and policies from inside of the organization to the contracted cloud service provider (CSP). This results in a forfeiture of some visibility into network operations, resource and service usage, and cost. Organizations must take care to monitor their cloud services usage with additional tools like cloud security configuration monitoring, network-based monitoring, and additional logging. Setting up protocols that are important to your business up front with your CSP can help to alleviate these concerns and provide the transparency that your organization needs.

Cloud storage data exfiltration

This refers to the unauthorized access and theft of sensitive data kept in cloud storage by cybercriminals or malicious insiders. This is one of the most severe cloud security risks because cloud storage often contains valuable and confidential information, including personal data, intellectual property, financial records, and other sensitive materials.

If such data is stolen, it can result in reputational damage, financial losses, legal liabilities, and other severe consequences for individuals and organizations. Therefore, preventing cloud storage data exfiltration is critical for maintaining the security and integrity of cloud-based systems and data.

Hijacking of Accounts

Many people have extremely weak password security, including password reuse and the use of weak passwords. This problem exacerbates the impact of phishing attacks and data breaches since it enables a single stolen password to be used on multiple different accounts.

Account hijacking is one of the more serious cloud security issues as organizations are increasingly reliant on cloud-based infrastructure and applications for core business functions. An attacker with an employee’s credentials can access sensitive data or functionality, and compromised customer credentials give full control over their online account. Additionally, in the cloud, organizations often lack the ability to identify and respond to these threats as effectively as for on-premises infrastructure.

DoS and DDoS Attack

DoS is likely to happen in outdated systems that get overwhelmed with data and stop functioning properly because of the overload. It is not really synonymous with hacking but the outcome of such an attack is that it renders the system unusable or inaccessible.

The denial-of-service attack’s goal is to prevent users from using the programs or interfering with their workflow. The two main categories of DoS attacks are:

  • Forceful attacks from various origins
  • Complicated attacks aimed at exploiting system processes such as content delivery

System resources are wasted during a DoS attack, which can result in a number of speed and stability issues. It makes it difficult to load applications or makes it difficult to pinpoint the source of disruption. Also, you need to be aware of DDoS, whereby cybercriminals bombard a network with so much malicious traffic that it is unable to function or communicate as it typically would. This stops the site’s regular activity, also referred to as legitimate packets.

cloud security risks

Conclusion

A completely new realm for storage, access, flexibility, and productivity has been made possible by the cloud. But unfortunately, it has also given rise to further security concerns. By being aware of these top 10 cloud computing security challenges, you and your team may develop a multi-cloud deployment security strategy to safeguard your company.

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