5 minute readSecurity Risks in Cloud Computing
Cloud computing allows you to store and access data over the internet rather than on a company’s computer hard drive or physical network storage arrays. This is especially helpful if you’re in a business that constantly needs to access and update information. If so, your company falls in the category of needing storage that grows/shrinks daily meaning your storage space needs to easily scale up or down at a moment’s notice.
Cloud computing, however, has some challenges. For instance, the cloud can leave users vulnerable. There are thousands of cybersecurity incidents (5,200 breaches, involved external cloud assets in 2019 alone) each year. It is important to know and evaluate the risks before you jump into cloud computing.
Four Common Errors
User Error: Identity and Access Mismanagement
One thing to consider is that the security threat doesn’t always lie within the cloud storage system; sometimes it’s with the users themselves. Cloud systems can get complex, and some companies opt for heterogeneous hybrid clouds that include a mix of public and private cloud services and technology. This makes effective identity and access management hard to employ. Despite this difficulty, a zero trust policy with multi-factor authentication can make your cloud storage much more secure.
Fraudulent Activity: Data Breaches
A large amount of data goes back and forth between employees over cloud systems, and it can easily be intercepted by hackers. In 2017, Equifax, a consumer credit reporting agency, experienced a huge data breach that affected at least 148 million Americans. The company did not notice their expired SSL certificate for 76 days, allowing hackers to infiltrate their system undetected. When using cybersecurity tools, constant updates and checks are essential, but are not always completed.
Malware: Fake Traffic and More
Malware attacks can be trickier than a data breach, as they can spread to collaborators through cloud systems. Malware can also survive system cleanups. Among the common types of malware attacks are DDoS attacks, which overwhelm a target with fake traffic to overload its servers until the servers are down or unavailable. Educating your employees, especially those working directly with cloud systems, is a good step toward reducing malware risks.
Potential Infiltration: Misconfigured Cloud Storage
Some companies don’t change the default security settings on their cloud storage, posing a security risk. In 2017, the National Security Agency itself experienced a mishap due to a misconfigured AWS and saw its top-secret documents become available to everyone on an external server. Many companies now use the cloud for all operational processes, such as certificate management, marketing automation, and messaging systems. There is a danger that administrators will have difficulty managing the data flow from multiple endpoints. Using default security settings can make systems more open to infiltrations and attacks so be sure to update your settings regularly.
Hire Educated Cybersecurity Professionals
One option to increase cybersecurity and decrease risk is to hire specialists. Find people who have successfully completed courses and/or traditional on-campus degrees. A modern master’s program in cybersecurity will include courses in network security, cloud migration, and security operations management. These professionals will be adept at configuring security programs and incorporating defensive strategies into your company’s system architecture. Many businesses benefit from having a dedicated cybersecurity team onboard.
Invest in Local Backup
While cloud storage may be convenient, having local storage backup can help you sleep better at night. Data in backup storage will be safe from cyberhackers. This can help keep your organization running if, maybe when, your cloud storage is compromised. It is much faster to recover large volumes of data with local backup since it isn’t dependent on an internet connection.
While using the cloud is an option, best practices suggest that every company needs to be aware of the dangers it poses to your data. Above all, you need to take steps to ensure that your data is as safe as possible. Sometimes the best way to ensure safety is to take plenty of time to evaluate all of your options and choose the best storage solution possible.
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Reid is the founder and CEO of Reliant Technology and for 14 years has pursued his mission to remove the pain associated with maintaining IT infrastructure. Reid writes on common challenges related to maintaining, servicing, tracking, budgeting, and upgrading technology.
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