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Danger From Above: Be Aware Of Cloud Security Threats

Cloud Computing by samuiblue

Cloud computing has many advantages, so it’s no wonder that uptake and growth continue to increase at a formidable pace. Many companies, not just the major players, are moving their data and applications over to the cloud.

As with all technologies, new and old, there are strengths and weaknesses. One of the major concerns about cloud computing is security. The reality is, no matter how or where you run applications, store your data or transfer information, security will always be a significant problem. A contributing factor is the fear of the unknown. As technology becomes more sophisticated, so do cyber-attacks.

The benefits of cloud computing far outweigh potential compromise. The key is to remain vigilant and make sure your company and cloud vendor are taking the vital measures to protect your business’s data and operations as you go.

Data Breaches.

This threat is no different to what happens on a traditional network with the exception that your company might work with significantly more data, making it a more attractive target for hackers. There are internal, reputational and legal ramifications to breaches in data, and you should take every step to ensure high security standards. Working on the cloud means starting with multifactor authentication and encryption.

Compromised Credentials and Broken Authentication.

Multifactor authentication systems such as phone-based authentication or one-time passwords will minimize the threat of compromised passwords. Streamlining business operations with cloud ERP software allows businesses to integrate many different processes into a centralized hub, and this means more users and devices will connect to the cloud. Security protocols need to be in place to make sure the system is not vulnerable in any way.

Hacked Interfaces and APIs.

Most cloud solutions utilize application program interfaces (APIs). Giving third parties access to APIs will increase risk without adequate protections. The benefits derived from this functionality outweigh the risk, provided your company effectively manages its APIs. There must be adequate first-line defense and detection. You can employ threat modeling applications, ongoing security-focused code reviews, and hardcore penetration testing.

System Vulnerabilities.

This threat is not unique to the cloud but has become a more complex concern. It is important to be aware of it and know that it can be easily managed with the correct security protocols. Ongoing control processes will mitigate potential threats.

Account Hijacking.

Cloud applications add new areas for potential threats of fraud, phishing and software exploitation. Correct protocols, monitoring, and multifactor authentication will minimize risks. Account credential protection is critical. Ensure that all interactions are traceable to their source and monitor any exceptions or discrepancies immediately.

Malicious Insiders.

This is not a new threat, but the cloud gives a malicious insider a greater ability to cause harm. You must minimize access and log, oversee and control all administrator activities. Your company should also maintain rigorous control over the encryption process and keys. 

The APT Parasite.

Advanced persistent threats (APTs) can worm their way into the system undetected if correct safeguards are not in place. They are not easily detected and can lead to a slow and steady exposure of sensitive data. The main way to prevent such attacks is to educate all relevant users of potential threats and phishing by maintaining strict protocols on external devices or networks connected to the enterprise network.

Permanent Data Loss.

While this is a rare occurrence with modern cloud computing, there is a risk of permanent data loss. There are numerous ways to prevent it, and your company must pull out all the stops to make sure it does not happen to you. 

While the cloud may pose new or additional challenges regarding security, it also holds the potential to revolutionize how your company does business. Stay up to date and make sure you have the right tools and people managing your data. This way, you can minimize any potential risks and reap all the rewards of cloud-based operations.

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