Threats, vulnerabilities, and responsibilities to consider while developing new applications, or migrating existing infrastructure to the cloud.
Globally, there are over 70% organizations using the cloud. This popularity is due to the flexibility that the cloud offers. Whether it is the simplified IT management or the ease of scalability, remote access or mobility, the cloud provides enterprises, all over the world, a cost-effective solution for rapid application development and infrastructure management. However, one cause of concern for enterprises opting for the cloud platforms is the security of their data and applications over the cloud. A shared pool of resources is great for scalability and flexibility, but for the professionals who are not so tech-savvy, it may not always be the most convenient option. Experts also believe that there are risks, threats and vulnerabilities in using the cloud!
It is valuable to leverage the advantages of the cloud, but at the same time, it is also important that enterprises address the security concerns and mitigate them to make the transition and application development on the cloud hassle-free. Data breaches, loss of data, DDoS attacks, unauthorized access, etc. are the risks common to both the cloud and on-premise data centers; while reduced visibility and control, insecure APIs, failure to separate multi-tenancy, incomplete data deletion, etc. are the threats unique to the cloud platforms.
Following is the list of 5 topmost cloud security risks and threats:
According to Gartner, through 2022, about 95% of the security failures on the cloud will be due to the customers’ fault.
Security on the cloud is largely dependent on the policies and technologies utilized. In the future, almost all the cloud security failures would be attributed to the user, and not the cloud provider, who will fail in managing the controls needed to protect the data.
According to the Insider Threat Report 2018, 53% of the surveyed organizations named insider threats to their organization as the foremost risk.
Security threats originating from the trusted insiders have more damaging consequences, as compared to the malicious outsiders. More often, these insiders are negligent and fall prey to the malicious intent of an insider or an outsider. Other than these, there are the insiders with malicious intent themselves, which together with the negligent insiders make insider attacks an alarming threat on the cloud.
Both cloud consumers and cloud service providers (CSP) are at a significant level of risk due to the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. It not only causes service outages for a long duration, but also compromises customer information leading to untoward reputational damage.
It is to your utmost advantage if your application communicates with cloud services, and the most pragmatic way to do so is through APIs. Thus, for an attacker, an API is like the initial entry point. This threat can be eliminated with extensive penetration testing to discover the weak points in the API being used.
About 21% information stored on the cloud is sensitive.
User data, confidential enterprise information, sensitive content, etc. if compromised can cause unprecedented damages for an enterprise. Data breach is one of the most common security risks and is not limited to the cloud, but it ranks as a top threat to the cloud users.
Making the Cloud Safer
“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
~ Abraham Lincoln
After discussing five of the most common threats and risks on the cloud, here are five strategies to make the cloud safer for enterprises. Make a checklist of these five commandments to make your living prosperous on the cloud:
- Thou shalt not store your data unencrypted
- Thou shalt not ignore using Anti-virus
- Thou shalt not say no to multi-level authentication for sensitive data
- Thou shalt not choose third party storage before defining stringent policies
- Thou shalt not save crucial or sensitive data on the cloud
Over the years, cloud computing has come to the mainstream in the world of IT. Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure are two of the major players on the cloud among many others. It is important to leverage the cloud safely and in a secure manner, to reap maximum advantages. For that, we require certified cloud security professionals in great numbers who can devise and apply high level cloud strategies to mitigate the risks and threats that plague the cloud platform. Only then the populace, now concerned about cloud security, will say with confidence: No, we’re not afraid of the cloud!