Combatting the Security Risks of Cloud Computing

cloud computing

Small and large enterprises continue to benefit from increased digitization and greater use of cloud-based application and storage facilities.  Cloud services are making it possible for businesses to place their information and data in “containers” that can be deployed consistently and reliably.

The convenience and opportuneness of this solution often lead to serious se- cyber security breaches. Recently, Skybox Security calculates cyber risk vulnerability of container software at 240 times more today than in 2017. As alarming as this sounds, with wider deployment and use of container software and other cloud services, are expected to exacerbate the volume and sophistication of undesirable network access.

The Threats Plaguing Cloud

Cloud Security Alliance – a respected cyber security collaborative on this issue – highlights a number of security concerns.

From their survey of cloud users in different industries, they developed an “Egregious Eleven” list of cyberthreats. Here are the top five that should concern all users right now:

1.         Data Breaches

Data leaks are more likely to result from human error, network vulnerabilities, and outdated software than an intentional orchestrated cyber-attack. Now that information of highest value is stored in both company-controlled and externally operated actors, data leaks or breaches should remain the number one concern of all computer users.

It is more important than ever for organizations implement most up-to-date tools and measures to safeguard their passwords, for example, using encryption technologies. Once passwords are protected, customer’s credentials are secure. Some organizations may also opt to  access to their network. This simple strategy employs multiple layers of security on customer accounts and, therefore, company databases.

2.         Insufficient or Inadequate Access Management

Phishers are masters of deception. Their improved modus operandi target unsuspecting and non-vigilant  customers and employees  around the clock. The main concern of management of IT systems is to thwart entry of hackers to confidential files, as a result of insufficient management and control systems.  Automated responses and default installations are examples of weak credentialing practices still prevalent in the cyber community.

We cannot recommend strongly enough that organizations regularly analyze their shared and public environments. This could be the computers, the Wi-Fi router, or the smart appliances used in the office. As the Internet of Things begins to be more and more influential in major industries, these devices also need continuous maintenance and screening to prevent possible breaches.

3.         Insecure API management

Experts agree that insecure API implementations are more likely to be exploited than traditional interfaces. Cyber-criminals can search for existing vulnerabilities in the interfaces and compromise data stored on the cloud. Very often, high-value enterprise data.

APIs should be designed with security concerns as the number one priority. The most up to date of tools and strategies need to be employed to ensure adequate secure authentication and control.

4.         Insecure Systems, Insecure Systems, Insecure Systems

Beyond the interface, organizations should also be concern about general system vulnerabilities. Cyber-criminals are among the most knowledgeable experts in the systems they target or want to bring under their control.  Their expert knowledge allows them to exploit any vulnerability.

5.         Unforeseen Hijacking

Hijacking is more commonly known as identity theft. The consequences of hijacking can be severe. Gaining control of an email or twitter account seems commonplace. Every day, one or more influential person loses momentary control of their personal accounts. Malicious actors can do more than compromise personal reputations. They can monitor hidden transactions and private activities, manipulate the data, and redirect users to site imitations.

Hijacking becomes relatively easier in the world of cloud computing where information is less contained. The multi-tenancy trend means that data is spread across multiple storage devices, making it hard for organizations to verify if the data had been securely deleted.

The good news is that though these are the top five concerns can be managed. Out of more than 7,000 cloud vulnerabilities have been published at the start of 2019, with only 659 of them have proved to be exploitable, for now. Industry experts suggest that only 1% of vulnerabilities will be exploited.

As we live in a growing digital world, our personal and business lives are now becoming more integrated into the amorphous and unwieldy cyberspace ecosystem. All users – individuals or groups of any size– should ensure that they invest in the security of their prized data.

Wilson Consulting Group is an innovative global cybersecurity consulting firm. We offer Cyber Intelligence, Cyber Security Assessment, Penetration Testing and Vulnerability Assessment Services to evaluate any threats that your organization may face and provide solutions to combat them.