What Are The Security Risks Of Cloud Computing? (Informative Guide)

What Are The Security Risks Of Cloud Computing? (Informative Guide)

The use of cloud computing is currently trending in the IT industry. Undoubtedly, cloud computing is changing how small-medium businesses (SMBs) and organizations utilize information technology.

The development of cloud computing has allowed businesses to obtain access to state-of-the-art resources and data without having to empty their pockets in the process.

Typically, in the past, if an organization wanted to utilize a certain type of software or database, it would have to make a significant upfront investment in terms of both money and time. With cloud technology, all of that has changed.

Now, organizations can simply subscribe to the services they need on an as-needed basis. This is not only more cost-effective, but it’s also much more convenient. However, there are always possible drawbacks to think about.

This post will discuss what are the security risks of cloud computing, so you can decide if it’s a good fit for your company.

Cloud Computing Data Security

Modern cloud providers utilize a wide variety of powerful techniques to assure the highest level of security possible, with no vulnerabilities from either the inside or the outside.

When discussing data security in the context of cloud computing, it is important to note that this term refers to the practice of implementing resources, systems, and programs that increase an organization’s awareness of its most sensitive data, including its location, its users, and their activities.

Cloud security aims to prevent unauthorized access to, modification of, or deletion of data and information stored in the cloud. 

In particular, it concentrates on the following:

Preventing data breaches

Rapid threat identification and mitigation

Ensuring regulatory compliance

There are several approaches that cloud providers take to provide their customers with data security. These include:

Physical security: This type of security focuses on the physical infrastructure of the data center, including the security of the building itself and the security of the equipment within it.

Network security: Network security focuses on protecting the network that connects the data center to the outside world. The term “network security” encompasses both intrusion detection systems and firewalls.

Application security: Application security focuses on the security of the software running in the data center. This includes things like web application firewalls and application-level encryption.

Data security: Data security focuses on protecting the data at rest and in transit. Things like encryption and secure entry systems fall under this category.

As you can see, cloud providers take data security very seriously. However, keep in mind that no method can guarantee complete safety.

What Are The Security Risks Of Cloud Computing

Now that we’ve taken a look at some of the ways that cloud providers secure data, let’s take a look at some security risks associated with cloud computing.

Data Breaches

Data Breaches

One of the most common risks associated with cloud computing is data breaches. This is when sensitive data is accessed without authorization. A data breach can arise due to many factors, such as poor security practices, malicious attacks, and human error. 

When a data breach occurs, it can have serious consequences for both the organization and the individuals whose data has been compromised.

For example, suppose an attacker gains access to an organization’s customer database. In that case, they could potentially gain access to a wealth of sensitive information, such as credit card numbers and home addresses. Identity theft and various forms of monetary wrongdoing may result. 

In addition, cloud data breaches can damage an organization’s reputation and result in significant financial losses. There have been instances where data breaches directly caused the collapse of the targeted company.

Denial of Service Attacks

Another common security risk associated with cloud computing is the denial of service (DoS) attacks. It’s when an adversary sends an excessive number of requests or traffic to a system in an effort to overload it and render it inaccessible to its intended users. 

DoS attacks can have several motives, including political activism, revenge, and extortion. 

DoS attacks can significantly impact an organization, both financially and reputationally. For example, if an attacker launches a DoS attack against an e-commerce website, it could prevent customers from being able to access the site or make purchases. 

If this happens, the company could see a drop in income. As an added downside, DoS attacks can hurt a company’s credibility and drive away consumers.

Malware and Viruses

Malware and Viruses

Another security risk associated with cloud computing is malware and viruses. Malware is a type of software designed to damage or disable computers, and viruses are a type of malware designed to replicate itself and spread to other computers. 

When companies store massive volumes of private information in the cloud, they are vulnerable to new cyberattacks. Research has shown that as cloud use rises, so does the risk of malware assaults, with nearly 90% of firms seeing an increase in the frequency with which they face data breaches. 

Organizations must be mindful of the changing threat landscape as cybercriminals become more sophisticated in their attack delivery tactics.

Compliance

Another risk associated with cloud computing is compliance and regulatory issues. This is because many industries have strict regulations that govern how data must be stored and handled. 

In the medical field, for instance, HIPAA governs the storage and disclosure of patient information. If an organization stores data in the cloud that is subject to these regulations, it must ensure that the cloud provider is compliant. Otherwise, they could face hefty fines or other penalties.

Data Loss

When data is stored remotely, there is always the chance that it could be compromised or lost entirely. Even with robust cloud computing security measures in place, there is always the possibility of human error or malicious attacks. 

For instance, the organization may suffer greatly if a team member inadvertently deletes a critical file. A company may go bankrupt if they lose too much data. As a result, companies that rely on cloud-based storage need robust backup systems to protect against data loss. 

Additionally, sensitive information should be encrypted to make it more challenging for cybercriminals to access.

Limited Visibility

Organizations lose some oversight of their networks when they move their workloads and assets to the cloud. This is because the cloud service provider takes on the management of certain systems and policies. While this can be beneficial in terms of cost and efficiency, it also means that organizations have less visibility into their networks. 

In certain cases, they may not become aware of concerns or issues until after they have caused extensive harm. This lack of visibility can also make it more difficult to comply with regulations such as HIPAA or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. 

As a result, organizations need to be sure that they clearly understand their cloud provider’s policies and procedures. They should also implement measures to keep an eye on their network for signs of trouble.

Loss of Control

Organizations that use cloud-based services lose some control over their data and applications. This is because the cloud service provider controls the servers and storage where the data is stored. 

In addition, the provider also has control over the cloud infrastructure and security measures. As a result, organizations must choose a reputable and reliable provider. They should also clearly understand the provider’s security measures and policies. 

Moreover, organizations should put their security measures to protect their data.

Contractual breaches

Contractual agreements between businesses frequently govern data usage and access privileges. It is a potential breach of contract for an organization if employees upload restricted data to the cloud without proper authorization. 

For example, cloud services whose terms and conditions state that the corporation reserves the right to share any data transferred to the service with third parties, violating a confidentiality clause the company struck with a business partner.

How To Minimize The Risks

Despite the potential risks, there are many steps that organizations can take to minimize the risks associated with cloud computing. Here are some of the most important:

User Access Controls

Since cloud computing is typically more accessible than on-premises facilities, user access restrictions are important in guaranteeing cloud security. Organizations should consider strategies like zero-trust security, which is founded on the idea that nobody ought to have open network access that is specifically trusted to them. 

Instead, only the most essential features required by each role are made available to consumers. In order to successfully implement zero-trust security, businesses must be able to answer the question of who should have access to what. They must also set up procedures for confirming the legitimacy of users and gadgets. 

In addition, they should monitor user activity to detect any suspicious behavior.

Data Encryption

Data Encryption

The best way to protect information saved in the cloud is using data encryption. It’s crucial to encrypt data while it’s in operation, transport, and at rest. 

The term “data at rest” is used to describe information that is sitting on servers or other types of storage devices. 

Data in transit refers to data being moved from one location to another, such as when it is being uploaded or downloaded. 

The term “data in use” describes information currently being used by the software. 

Organizations should encrypt any sensitive data, such as SSN and other identification numbers. They should also consider encrypting all data, regardless of its sensitivity. This is because encryption makes it more difficult for attackers to access and misuse data.

Policies and Procedures

Regarding safeguarding information and software, businesses should have security policies and policies in place. They should also ensure that their employees know these policies and procedures. 

Furthermore, they should also implement measures to ensure the policies and procedures are followed. Organizations should also have incident response plans in place. These strategies should assist organizations in responding to security incidents.

Automation

The threat landscape and sophistication of cyberattackers are growing in the field of cybersecurity. Since then, a flood of security alerts has overwhelmed many IT departments. 

Instead of spending time manually assessing all potential threats to the network, teams may focus on more high-priority duties by automating essential projects like cybersecurity monitoring, threat intelligence collecting, and vendor risk assessments.

Third-Party Risk Management

The dangers presented by third-party providers should be properly taken into account by organizations. They should only use providers that have strong security controls in place. In addition, they should establish contracts with these providers that stipulate the security measures that must be taken.

Regular Testing

Organizations should regularly test their security controls. They should also test their incident response plans. Regular testing helps to ensure that security controls are effective, and that incident response plans are up-to-date.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does cloud migration raise security concerns?

A: Organizations should carefully consider the security risks posed by cloud migration. They should only use providers that have strong security controls in place. In addition, they should establish contracts with these providers that stipulate the security measures that must be taken.

Q: What do public, private, and hybrid clouds mean?

A: Public cloud refers to cloud services that third-party providers offer. Private cloud refers to cloud services that an organization runs on its own premises. Whereas, hybrid clouds blend public and private elements.

Q: What is the cloud solution to the security risk of BYOD?

A: The cloud solution to the security risk posed by BYOD is to use a mobile device management system. This system will allow organizations to manage and monitor mobile devices. In addition, it will allow organizations to enforce security policies on these devices.

Q: Which cloud solution is more secure, public or private?

A: Both private and public cloud options have benefits and drawbacks. Public cloud solutions are generally more scalable and easier to use. Private cloud solutions are generally more secure and offer more control. Before implementing a solution, businesses should thoroughly assess their requirements.

Q: What is the largest security threat associated with using cloud services?

A: The biggest security threat posed by cloud computing is data loss. This may happen if data is not adequately safeguarded or is kept in an unsafe environment. Data encryption and safekeeping should be among the measures businesses take to ensure their safety.

Final Words

The use of cloud computing has completely altered the competitive landscape for businesses in terms of both productivity and efficiency. There are various upsides to using it, including enhanced adaptability and scalability. However, it is not without its dangers. 

Organizations should carefully consider what are the security risks of cloud computing before migrating to the cloud. They should also implement measures to reduce the impact of these dangers. Despite the risks, cloud computing can be a secure and efficient way for businesses to operate. Organizations can reduce the likelihood of a security incident by adopting the necessary precautions.