Trends in Technology

Managing Cloud Computing Security Risks

February 17, 2021 by Bamboo Duck
Read similar articles in: Business Technology, Cloud

Cloud is about how you do computing, not where you do computing.” — Paul Maritz, CEO of VMware

Since its inception, the worldwide cloud computing market continues to grow at an exponential rate. In fact, according to the latest industry statistics, the value of the current global cloud computing market is estimated at around 141 billion U.S. dollars.

In the United States, almost 90% of companies have a cloud presence. Furthermore, 60% of the workloads of U.S. companies are running on cloud-hosted services as of 2019.

There are also billions of individual personal cloud storage users. Cloud computing technology is rapidly becoming mainstream. Clearly, users benefit by gaining access to computing power that would be extremely expensive without this option.

Cloud computing allows users to take advantage of storage space, advanced computing services, and additional processing power via internet. It offers these conveniences without requiring additional hardware.

Based on statistics and advantages of cloud computing, experts projected global cloud computing market growth to 191 billion dollars by the end of 2020!

Unfortunately, as with any new technology, cloud computing is vulnerable in certain areas. The two major concerns for cloud adoption are security and privacy. Here we will discuss the major cloud security threats and how to mitigate or avoid them.

Poor Access Management:

One of the most common cloud computing and storage security risks is access management. The point of access is a critical component of cloud services and is usually targeted by hackers. A major professional social platform, LinkedIn, came under attack and experienced a breach of data that involved credentials of an estimated 164 million users in 2016!

The reasons for the security breach include:

  • Ineffective information campaign
  • Insufficient crisis management
  • Hacker capabilities

Other platforms such as  Google and Facebook have also faced security threats after storing user passwords in plaintext.

The following strategic steps can minimize such risks.

  • Add multi-factor authentication to create an extra layer between the user and system access.
  • Create a distinct layout for access management to ensure each department only has access to information pertaining to their tasks.

Data Leaks and Breaches:

A data breach is usually a cause and effect kind of thing and occurs because of a security flaw. When a company neglects security concerns, the data leak is a natural consequence. Data breach refers to giving accidental access to information without authorization. Opening confidential information to the public, which can then be held for ransom or sold on the black market, is an example of data leakage.

Data breaches usually occur after a hacker has identified potential weaknesses in the company’s structure. This could be a weakness of the technology or the people in charge of ensuring data security. The hacker can then get into the system via malware. Security breaches can also occur when the system is updating as many firewalls are down at the time, and the system is vulnerable to attacks.

A prominent example is the data breach that occurred in Equifax a few years ago that resulted in a leak of personal data of more than 140 million consumers.

A data breach can be avoided by adding a simple multi-factor authentication and data-at-rest encryption. Companies can also get secure cloud services that include perimeter firewalls to create a barrier between private and public networks.

Data Loss:

Data loss is very unpredictable and can result in vital data loss that cannot be recovered. It is also harder to handle than data breach because it can take years to re-collect the same data. Common causes of data loss include:

  • Unintentional alteration of data and information that cannot be reverted to the previous state.
  • Problems with cloud providers such as unreliable storage medium outage.
  • Wrongful or accidental erasure of data with no backups. This may occur from malicious intent such as viruses and malware, unreliable database structure, human error, or a glitch in the system.
  • Loss of access due to lack of credentials or encryption keys.

The best way to mitigate data loss is by ensuring there are plenty of backups. So, secondary backups are available to restore data in case of a compromised primary storage. Proper disaster recovery and cloud backup strategies is another way to ensure data security. Many IT companies offer cloud backup outsourcing services to organizations. As a result, a total loss of information is almost impossible.

Other Security Risks and Threats:

In addition to these three major security threats, insecure APIs affect cloud storage. This involves unencrypted data accessed via web and mobile applications. Additionally, cloud misconfiguration contributes to security breaches and data loss vulnerabilities.

There are also some on-premise security threats and risks for cloud computing. These include:

  • Increasingly complex system
  • Strained or inexperienced IT staff
  • A compromised supply chain system
  • Stolen credentials
  • Insufficient due diligence

In Conclusion:

While cloud computing is full of complex requirements and security concerns, it is a game-changer in the technological world. If companies wish to stay ahead of their competitors, they need to move their business operations to the cloud.

Shifting to the cloud gives organizations the flexibility to stay ahead in an ever-changing market. Subsequently, they gain much-needed scalability to increase or reduce their business processes easily.

The best way to mitigate cloud computing security threats is to outsource it to an organization that follows the standards of cloud security and has various options for data backup and recovery. Note that the company should also have extensive experience in protecting confidential data.

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