The Rise of Cloud Computing Threats: How to protect your cloud customers from security risks


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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.

Let’s begin.

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.

Business impact

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.

Best practices

  • Cultivate the best data security practices, processes, and procedures.
  • Use unpredictable, hard to crack passwords and change them often.
  • Since cloud servers remain encrypted, use these, if possible.
  • Implement multiple levels of authentication to keep hackers away.
  • 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.

    Business impact

    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.

    Best practices

  • Implement two-factor authentication (2FA) or multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever possible. Then, if your password is compromised, an OTP or fingerprint can serve as your second means of identity validation.
  • Track user actions and behavior closely. A reliable identity management solution can help you identify suspicious activity such as multiple password failures or logins from unusual IP addresses. When that happens, you can counterstrike accordingly.
  • 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.

    Business impact

    A weak set of interfaces and APIs may result in cloud computing security threats. This leads to compromised confidentiality, accountability, integrity, and availability.

    Best practices

  • Understand the importance of testing, auditing, inventory, and abnormal activity protection.
  • Use standard and open API frameworks.
  • Ensure strong authentication and access controls via encrypted transmission.
  • 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.

    Business impact

    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.

    Best practices

  • Ensure that your business data is leak proof.
  • Switch to an advance cloud Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solution.
  • 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.

    Business impact

    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.

    Best practices

  • All sensitive data must remain encrypted in the cloud.
  • Employ strong authentication methods like multi-factor authentication.
  • Passwordless biometric authentication may also be helpful.
  • 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.

    Business impact

    Malicious insiders can pose a serious threat by compromising proprietary information and intellectual property.

    Best practices

  • Keep all financial and identifying data in encrypted form.
  • Monitor and log who accesses the cloud and from where.
  • Restrict cloud accessibility and update passwords frequently.
  • Conclusion

    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.

    Rakesh Soni
    Rakesh Soni is CEO of LoginRadius, a leading provider of cloud-based digital identity solutions. The LoginRadius Identity Platform serves over 3,000 businesses and secures one billion digital identities worldwide. LoginRadius has been named as an industry leader in the customer identity and access management space by Gartner, Forrester, KuppingerCole, and Computer Weekly.


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