Cloud computing is revolutionizing the way small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) and enterprises work. While it has plenty of advantages over on-prem software, it opens up companies to a new age of cyber threats.
One recent example is the city of Baltimore, which was held hostage by a ransomware attack that paralyzed its computer systems for weeks.
As recorded by NPR, Baltimore denied paying $75,000 USD to the perpetrator, which resulted in an attack on data and operations.
The cost of denying the ransom—more than $18 million USD.
Unfortunately, Baltimore is not alone.
Both private and public organizations are increasingly under cyberattack and security risk. That’s why securing the cloud infrastructure market has become a CEO-level issue for businesses.
To help organizations prevent cloud computing threats, we’ll discuss cloud security’s biggest issues—and best practices.
What are cloud computing security threats?
Any event that endures unexpected loss to both customers and organizations at large (e.g., data breaches, hijacked accounts, data loss, denial of service, system vulnerability) is categorized as a cloud computing threat.
Having to live through such a nightmare is catastrophic. You need a response plan in place to mitigate the impact and minimize damage.
Which security risks affect cloud data?
Here are six common cloud security threats and 6 ways to prevent them.
1. Risk of Data Breaches
With the amount of data stored on the cloud environment, it’s only rational to state that data breaches are not stopping anytime soon. From phishing to security scams, hackers are always on the lookout for loopholes.
Apart from the loss of money and intellectual property (IP), data breaches can damage a company’s reputation, impact its brand value and affect its market position. Furthermore, due to mistrust from cloud customers and partners, legal and contractual liabilities may also arise.
2. Weak Access Management
Hackers can easily crack open weak credentials and cause havoc. Examples of weak access management include a lack of scalable login solution, no multi-factor authentication features, and weak passwords usage.
Without an Identity solution in place, hackers can snoop on data in transit. Insufficient identity and credentials allow unauthorized users to appear legitimate, granting them access to sensitive data. When that happens, an organization’s reputation can be irreparably damaged.
3. Insecure Interfaces and APIs
Both API and UI are entities that are exposed to the public. That’s why it’s important to adopt strict authentication and access control measures to ensure that no information is leaked.
A weak set of interfaces and APIs may result in cloud computing security threats. This leads to compromised confidentiality, accountability, integrity, and availability.
4. Intentional Data Loss
Although the chances of losing your data on the cloud are minimal, hackers can gain access to data centers and computing resources and wipe them clean. Hence, it is recommended to place your applications across several zones, defying geographical boundaries.
A malicious attack can lead to permanent loss of customer data if you lack a decent backup storage model. Lost customer data can be a death-blow to your brand value.
5. The Hazards of Account Hijacking
Account hijacking occurs when an organization’s cloud account is abused or hijacked (or stolen). It’s a common form of identity theft where a hacker conducts malicious activities with stolen information.
When hijacking occurs, control of your account, data, functions, business logic, and any other dependable applications on the account is exposed. A breach of this magnitude may lead to widespread data exposure, reputational damage, and degradation of brand value.
6. Havoc by Malicious Insiders
A malicious insider can be any current or former employee that has access to your cloud network. They can be tagged as threats due to their access to your organization’s sensitive information.
Malicious insiders can pose a serious threat by compromising proprietary information and intellectual property.
Cybercriminals are constantly on top of their game, finding new ways to steal and abuse cloud data. The complexity of cloud computing makes it a playground for them. Therefore, it’s prudent to follow security measures like those outlined above. These will help you prevent cloud security threats that can jeopardize your company’s most sensitive data.