Companies are using cloud computing to host their business data and other assets that provide multiple benefits data management, scalability, and access. According to the study, Gartner forecasts businesses spending on cloud services to reach $482 billion by 2022. Additionally, by 2026, cloud spending will exceed 45% of all enterprise IT spending.
The spontaneous growth in the use of cloud computing raises the security risk among businesses data. These risks have centered around data loss, denial of service, data breaches, malware, and system vulnerabilities. Cloud security experts believe that companies can benefit from security solutions built into the cloud.
The rise of ransomware attacks indicates that attackers identify the value of software and cloud providers to attack company assets. Subsequently, attackers have been increasing their focus on this inherent vulnerability. To protect your organization’s data, validate your cloud provider’s security programs. Set the expectation to have expected third-party auditing with shared reports and maintain breach reporting terms to balance technology solutions.
Various security measures can benefit companies to prevent their data and security vulnerabilities in the initial stages. It includes simple cloud security solutions that can block theft and control access. Recognizing abnormal behaviors, securing and fixing orchestration tools, and computing network analysis of all side traffic as a possible trade-off signal become standard measures in preventing cloud infrastructure deployments at scale.
Top 7 Cloud Computing Security risks and ways to reduce them
Let’s take a comprehensive look at the top 7 cloud computing security risks and how to reduce them.
Data Breach and Data Leak
Data breach is the condition where the data or information gets leaked or extracted without any authorization. With most data breaches, cybercriminals try to extract names, email addresses, usernames, passwords, and credit card numbers. The main reasons how data breaches occur:
- Malicious link and software
- Weak and stolen credentials
- Badly designed network
- Improper configuration
- Over permissions
- Applications that are built based on poorly written code
According to the IBM annual study on “Cost of Data Breach,” conducted by Ponemon Institute, over 500 organizations suffered from data breaches between May 2020 and March 2021.
One of the examples of a data breach, In September 2018, cybercriminals attacked Facebook by manipulating the code for “view as” to get access to the user security token. With that token, they can hack into the person’s Facebook profile. That can reveal the personal data of 50 million users. To prevent this, Facebook had to log out 90 million users forcefully.
How to Prevent Data Breaches and Data Leak
In the cloud security system, there are multiple layers of approach to identify the whole extent of user activity. It includes:
Multi-factor Authentication: In this case, the user requires more than evidence of his identity and login credentials. This multi-factor authentication includes the process of typing the password and receives a notification on the mobile with a randomly generated single-use pin that actives for a short time. This has become one of the essential cloud security standards to protect data.
Data-at-Rest Encryption: In this case, data is stored in the system but cannot be used on other devices frequently. This procedure involves databases, logs, datasets, and others.
Lack of secure API (Application User Interface)
In the cloud infrastructure, the application user interface (API) is used to implement control. Some APIs are built into the mobile applications or on your web to provide access by the company employee or an external user.
Any external API can cause unauthorized access by cyber criminals looking to jump into a company’s confidential data and manipulate services. Such external-facing APIs maximize the risk of cloud security. Let’s look into the reasons for API security risks:
- Broken Authentication
- Excessive Data Exposure
- Security Misconfiguration
- Lack of Resources and Rate Limiting
- Broken Function Level Authorization
- Improper Assets Management
- Insufficient Logging and Monitoring
How to Prevent insecure API
To prevent insecure APIs, the developers must design APIs with strong authentication, access control, and encryption. This can make the APIs more secure. Executing penetration tests also helps to secure external attacks objecting to API endpoints and get a preventable code review.
It is best to have a secure software development lifecycle (SDLC) to develop secure software and APIs. Using SSL/TLS encryption for data-in-transit and executing multi-factor authentication with schemas such as digital identities, one-time passwords help prevent strong authentication controls.
Misconfigured Cloud Storage
A survey “State of DevSecOps,” from Accurics, reported that misconfigured cloud storage services in 93% of cloud deployments led to over 200 breaches in the past two years, exposing more than 30 billion records.
With the growing complexity in services, misconfiguration of cloud storage increases. It can damage the stored data or information with data manipulation, deletion of data, or public exposure of data. It is required to keep default security and access management settings for sensitive data. Let’s look into the significant risks that cause misconfiguration:
- Databases with insufficient security settings
- Creation of storage buckets with public access
- Firewall rules which allow public-facing traffic
- Weak password policy and incomplete IAM configurations
How to Prevent Misconfigured Cloud Storage
To secure the misconfigured data, it is required to cross-check cloud security configurations by setting up a dedicated cloud server. It can be safely stored by keeping stuff in storage without second thoughts regarding its safety.
Using specialized tools and cloud solutions, finding the security configurations. It can analyze the state of security configurations in an interval of time and identify the possible issues before anything happens.
Loss of Online Visibility
Various companies out there access a range of cloud computing services through different devices and departments. These types of complex cloud service setups cause the loss of visibility of access to the cloud infrastructure.
Without accessing the correct procedure, one can lose sight of the cloud service. It can destroy the accessing and uploading of data. One can secure the risk of a data breach or data loss by seeing the online visibility of cloud storage. Let’s look into the takeaways on why the loss of online visibility occurs:
- Unaligned security architecture with business goals and objectives.
- Develop and implement a security architecture framework.
- Unupdated threat models.
- Not using continuous monitoring capability.
How to Prevent Loss of Online Visibility
To secure the data from the loss of online visibility, frequent backups are one of the most effective ways. Make a schedule for timely backups and clear delineation of necessary data for backup, and unrequired data can be deleted. Using data loss prevention (DLP) software helps to detect and secure unauthorized backups.
Also, companies encrypt their data and geo-diversify their backups to prevent essential data from loss or theft. Offline data backup can also be crucial with ransomware.
Inadequate Access Management
Inadequate access management of cloud storage is considered the most common cloud security risk. Cybercriminals use web applications, user login credentials, cause data breaches. Access management shows various managing issues in the organization with a distributed workforce and user password fatigue. There are other challenges faced by companies with inadequate access management, such as:
- Inactive assigned users
- Multiple administrator accounts
- Inadequately protected credentials
- Lack of automated rotation of cryptographic keys, passwords, and certificates
- Failure to use multi-factor authentication
How to Prevent Inadequate Access Management
To prevent inadequate access management in cloud security, companies must develop a data governance framework for user accounts. It is important to link those user accounts directly with the central directory service, such as Active Directory. It helps for provisioning, revoking, and monitoring the access privileges from the centralized stores.
Also, companies must use cloud-native or third-party tools to timely pull lists of users, roles, and groups from cloud service environments. The data can be collected by the AWS command-line interface, and then the security team can store, sort, and analyze the data. Companies should monitor the mechanism of cloud environments to find suspicious activities or unauthorized changes. User credentials or access keys should be securely controlled and managed to prevent poor data management or leakage.
DoS Attack – Denial-of-service attack
DoS is considered one of the old-fashioned systems overloaded with lots of data where data gets overloaded and tends to stop working correctly. Sometimes, it is required not to get into the system but to make it unusable for the customers. That effect is called a denial-of-service attack.
The objective of the denial-of-service attack is to secure users from accessing the applications or disrupting their workflow. The DoS attack is majorly categorized into two types:
- Brute force attacks from multiple sources
- More complicated attacks targeted at system exploits such as content delivery, image rendering, or feed streaming
At the DoS attack, the system resources get lost and can cause various speed and stability problems. It creates difficulty while loading an application, or it is hard to identify the source of disruption. Let’s investigate the indications of a DoS attack:
- Facing issues while loading a particular website
- Having a sudden failure in the connectivity across devices on the same network
- Getting slow network performance such as long load times for websites or files
How to Prevent DoS Attack
To avoid DoS attacks, businesses use Intrusion Detection Systems. This system helps to identify peculiar traffic and provide an early warning as per the credentials and behavioral factors. It is also known as a cloud security break-in alarm.
Using firewall traffic type inspection to check the source of incoming traffic or detect good or bad traffic. So that it can help to sort traffic and delete the bad traffic. Also, blocking the IP addresses that can cause an attack helps to avoid a DoS attack.
Data loss is one of the worst cloud security threats that can be difficult to predict and even more difficult to handle. It can happen due to some reasons such as data alteration where the information can be changed, and it isn’t easy to convert it into the previous state. Such kind of issues can happen with dynamic databases.
With unreliable storage medium outages, data can be lost. It can happen when data gets lost due to issues with the cloud provider’s side. Another reason for data loss is data deletion, erasing the data from the system without any backup or restore. It can happen due to wrongful termination, complicated database structure, human error, or system glitches. Loss of access to data is also a reason for data loss. When the information is unavailable due to a lack of encryption keys or other credentials where the data is still in the database.
How to Prevent Data Loss
To secure data from data loss, it is required to have frequent data backups. Using data loss protection software to automate the process of data recovery. Schedule the operation to clear unrequired data and take the timely backup of required data. Let’s look at different ways how we can prevent data loss:
- Data Backup
- Protect Data from Power Surges
- Firewall and Antivirus
- Develop a Disaster Recovery Plan
- Work With IT Security Experts
Moving to the cloud requires comprehensive cloud security measures to preserve important data. Businesses must include strong cloud security policies that should be well integrated into the IT processes that are used by the teams to build applications and deploy the cloud infrastructure.
Companies must continuously address cloud security risks and challenges while using the right security tools to help make operational work more convenient and more manageable. With the right approach and technology, companies can leverage the benefits of cloud computing.
Embee helps your businesses with cloud security solutions that can manage critical data and workloads instantly to ensure business continuity. We provide a wide range of advisory, stand-alone, and end-to-end Infrastructure Security Services.