The cloud computing technological revolution is in progress, though undergoing some evolutionary changes. When an increasing number of individual users and businesses are moving their data and whole IT infrastructures to the cloud, it is natural to start wondering how secure this cloud computing data is.
Cloud computing is an approach that covers a wide spectrum of cloud tools and models. To be more specific, it is a mechanism that can be presented as a threefold system of software, platform, and infrastructure delivered as a service. The technology has a lot of potential and promises its users a boost in efficiency, agility, and profitability. The cloud offers many benefits but, like any other technology, it has its weaknesses. And one of its softest spots is security.
What is data security in cloud computing?
Essentially, security in the cloud does not differ much from the one in the traditional on-premise data centers. In both cases, the focus is on the issues of protecting data from theft, leakage or deletion.
Due to its nature, however, the cloud gets highly susceptible to security threats. Data that is stored with a third-party provider and accessed on the web does not sound too reliable. Besides, the more data is transferred to the cloud, the harder it is to maintain its integrity, which is the basic requirement lying behind data security. In fact, the cloud allows operating at scale and still staying true to data integrity. But ensuring that the cloud is secure takes a multitude of security measures surpassing the number of those taken within the area of traditional IT security. So, with cloud computing, you will have to keep an eye open for new areas of concern.
Another issue to think about is your cloud service provider. Basically, you as a data owner don’t take full responsibility for cloud security. So, yet in the beginning, you should ask yourself if a cloud services provider of your choice is ready to take all the appropriate security measures.
See More:- Choosing the Right Online Shopping Cart
Top security risks of cloud computing
The cloud has its beneficial power but if you have a strong mind to migrating to the cloud, take a focused security approach, review and determine what changes will be needed for your future cloud operations to remain secure. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a position where you have no control over your data. These are the primary risks associated with cloud computing that you must thoroughly analyze in the first place:
- Data loss.
- Compromised accounts.
- Malware infection.
- Regulatory violations.
- Insider threats.
1. Data loss.
Cloud Adoption and Risk Report by McAfee discovered that 21% of files in the cloud contained sensitive data. Obviously, it is very undesirable that it gets lost. One of the biggest fears is losing data at rest, in-transit, or on endpoints. As the security breach may involve the theft of confidential data, the cloud security breach may cause the loss of sensitive data, So, data loss prevention must constitute a key part of the data management strategy. Although the loss of data in the cloud is less likely, it still may happen to anyone. To substantiate the statement, we will give you an example. GitLab, a successfully growing startup that provides release automation services had some security “hiccups” in early 2017. As a result of the admin’s fault, 300 GB of user data was lost. Though some of it was then restored from a backup database, the other part was gone forever. So, it will never hurt to take some extra measures and consider addressing back-up and disaster-recovery services providers.
2. Compromised accounts.
Cloud account hijacking as a process of compromising or stealing individual or organizational cloud accounts is another risk a user may face. Cloud computing consists of distributed systems of diverse networked devices with a variety of connectivity and as a result, these cloud networks are vulnerable to network attacks. Thus, hackers can monitor and manipulate data by stealing account credentials with weak vulnerability. The password-key compromise can also happen through hackers’ guessing a weak password, phishing or spoofing attack.
3. Malware infection.
The cloud not only offers scalability and speed in handling data but also allows delivering super scalable malware very fast. And malware authors are always looking for new ways to infect. The cloud has recently become this new way, as cloud apps are a great asset for spreading malicious attacks on a large scale. For instance, there was a case when malware was received via email as a resume file and, after having been moved to a folder that synced with a cloud app, it was delivered to other users. So, instead of infecting one device, it easily spread to cause greater harm.
4. Regulatory violations.
Most companies have to operate under certain regulations now. This compliance is usually a pillar of security in the cloud. Under HIPAA and HITECH for private or sensitive health information, FERPA for confidential student records, and GDPR for personal data relating to data subjects in the European Union (EU) to name a few, companies should know where their data is stored, who has access to it and what measures are taken to protect it properly. A cloud service provider is a third party that upon receiving data for processing becomes liable for the appropriate care of it.
5. Insider threats.
The human element of data security has many faces and many sources. Sometimes, insiders can pose more of a threat to companies using the cloud than attacks from the outside. This kind of threat can both have malicious and careless nature. One way or another, this harm is easier to do as attackers do not have to break in, they are already inside. User error and resulting data leakage or loss are not the worst part. The rogue insider is what companies should be prepared for. Especially, when the cloud has expanded the scope of insider threat by offering more ways to access data. No company wants to believe they may have a rogue employee on their payroll. That is why insider-threat risks are usually related to a lack of control. Therefore, organizations should establish and keep evolving their data security policies to minimize the risk.