What Are the Security Risks of Cloud Computing? Significantly, cloud computing has transformed the ever changing business landscape and how companies function today. Everything from data storage to sharing and managing workloads is being taken care of by cloud computing services. It is estimated that by 2025, over 100 zettabytes of data will be stored by cloud services. But with an array of benefits, come several data security risks.
In this blog post, we enlist how cloud computing governs data security, the security risks associated with cloud computing. Additionally, we point out how those risk factors can be intelligently managed.
What Is Data Security In Cloud Computing?
What Is Cloud Computing?
In addition, the constraints of on prem storage capacity are dealt with by cloud storage that virtually delivers unlimited storage capacity. Then, it is scaled up and down easily as needed in backups, analytics, cloud native apps, etc.
What Is Data Security In Cloud Computing?
Certainly, data security in cloud computing is the practice of protecting critical cloud data with a combination of policies, security controls, technologies and services. These together protect the data from any kind of exfiltration, data breach, fraudulent data alteration, misuse, or any unauthorized access.
As per a study in 2022, about 79% of companies have suffered a data breach at least once in eighteen months.
The three tenets of Cloud Data Security are:
- Protecting the confidentiality of the data.
- Safeguarding the data integrity.
- Ensuring the availability and accessibility of data.
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What Are The Security Risks Of Cloud Computing?
Loss of Data Privacy/Security
Equally, the critical information of organizations stored in the cloud is susceptible to cyber attacks all the time. When your organization opts for the services of a cloud service provider, the control inevitably goes into the hands of the latter regarding the end user’s security and privacy.
According to a 2021 report by Verizon, about 90% of security breaches happen because servers are the primary targets. The data suffers due to the following scenarios:
- Data loss or damage due to the negligence of the service provider or staff.
- Service providers themselves becoming the target of the cybercrime.
- Data or critical information being accessed or shared with a third (or unauthorized) party.
- Insufficient security practices.
Importantly, whenever the data is shared with a third party, it is constantly at risk of being breached or compromised. Therefore, the cloud service provider must ensure that the organizations are aware of the data security assurance that comes with privacy regulations and security rules. Weigh all the vendor options before going ahead with a service provider to manage your company’s crucial data.
Compliance Issues And Legalities
Every service type has to comply with certain pre-determined regulations such as:
- HIPAA (The Health Insurance Portability And Accountability) — This 1996 US law prevents the sensitive information of a patient from being disclosed without the individual’s knowledge or consent.
- GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) — It is a law by the European Union to protect the data and privacy of the EU and the European Economic Area.
- PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) — A set of security standards by Master Card, VISA, American Express, JCB International, and Discover Financial Services.
- SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley Act) — A 2002 US Federal Law which makes record keeping and reporting in the financial sector a mandate.
As a result, with so many regulations in place, it is difficult to ensure that the same is being followed and maintained. According to the majority of companies, the major issues of compliance and accessibility control arise in maintaining data compliance.
According to O Reilley’s report on cloud computing, about 48% of organizations are planning to migrate half of their applications to the cloud by the coming year. While about 20% are looking forward to migrating their entire applications to the cloud.
Evidently, the Insider threat concerns threats are from a source within an organization who has access to the company resources, as well as data. The insiders are for example an employee, ex employee, contractors, etc.
In turn, these threats are not necessarily deliberate acts. But mainly act of negligence or lack of appropriate training in managing and handling cloud resources. This continues to remain the major cause of most data breaches.
For example, an employee using weak passwords or trying to access the organization’s resources (emails, data, etc.) on a personal device. These are a few instances that lead to data leaks or server hijacking.
According to Symantec reports, about 4800 websites are compromised every month with form jacking code.
The rapid growth in cloud migration brings multiple complexities in its operational domain. Mostly, caused by various factors such as security systems, databases, excessive workloads, governance models, etc. Further, integrating on prem, cloud systems and cloud applications only intensifies the complexity.
By and large, cloud services provide their customers with such an expansive array of functionalities and plans. Further, that might become utterly complex and time consuming for the customers to pick the right options. Additionally, some companies are using infrastructure as code tools which makes it simple to request infrastructure at the code level but requires hardcore developers.
Furthermore, the constantly changing application demands, emerging options and a different implementation challenge and multiply the intricacies of cloud services.
A contract between your organization and the cloud service provider restrict the authorization of data accessibility. In such cases, moving the restricted data to the cloud accounts without access permission from the concerned authority often results in legal complications.
Indeed, an organization is expected to obey its contractual boundaries when adopting cloud service infrastructure. These risks are qualified as practical and commercial risks.
Eve so, the violation of the data confidentiality agreements is quite common. Since the cloud service providers carry the rights of information sharing with third parties.
The threat of data breach due to insecure APIs depends largely upon the level of usage and the data that is associated with APIs. Best tackled if the data vulnerability is identified at the earliest.
APIs are generally used to customize cloud computing services. The common practices which usually lead to insecure APIs are:
- Misuse of Insufficient Authentication — In most cases, the APIs become vulnerable when developers create APIs without authentication. This makes these interfaces open for anyone on the internet to access data or enterprise systems.
- Extensive use of open source software — The use of open source software in the code is time saving and is therefore used by developers commonly nowadays. This gives rise to several supply chain attacks.
Agitated Customers And Compromised Trust
Equally important, is that the numerous customers have been the victim of data breaches. These are instances such as credit or debit card details compromised at the cloud storage facilities level. This affects the customer trust in cloud service providers’ capabilities.
The above factor further gives rise to customer agitation. Why? As they are unable to opt for the most efficient cloud service provider amidst data breach instances and lack of service providers’ credibility.
Best Practices to Manage Security Risks Of Cloud Computing
To mitigate the risks that come with poorly managed cloud computing usage, the following are ascertained:
Enterprises and other firms must keep their IT departments under close supervision and go through regular audits. This includes checking the IT system and data vendors’ compliance. Then, auditing the security protocols of the cloud service facility. Also keeping an eye on internal control possibilities of the cloud service provider, etc.
Ensuring Effective Governance And Compliance
Companies must follow all the regulatory and compliance policies to keep their assets safe from malicious activities. The policies should be well laid out with predefined roles and responsibilities for all the employees.
Understand Security Vulnerabilities
It is crucial that both — the organization (that is giving access to the cloud service provider), as well as the latter (who is given the responsibility to maintain the security of the data) should understand how and when the data can become vulnerable to cyber attacks.
What Are The Security Risks Of Cloud Computing? Conclusion
Summarizing, there are multiple risk factors when you hand over your data accessibility to the cloud services. But, regardless of its shortcomings, this is managed if you diligently take into account the above mentioned aspects which in some way challenge your data safety from cyber attacks.
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