Did you know that upwards of 70% of the world’s businesses are at least partially reliant on cloud technologies? When you look at the benefits of lower fixed costs, automatic updates, and the freedom to work remotely, it can be easy to understand why.
With hat being said, cloud computing is not without its own set of risks. The security risks of cloud computing need to be weighed carefully if the cloud is going to truly serve as a benefit to your organization.
Here are the top ten security risks of cloud computing that you must know about:
1. Reduced control
The most obvious and potentially most dangerous risk is the simple fact that consumers have less visibility and control when using cloud computing. Once an external service is involved, the degree of control over assets and operations is necessarily reduced. The consumer is no longer left with sole responsibility.
This means that organizations need to be even more diligent when it comes to monitoring and analyzing information about applications, services, and data. Nothing should be taken for granted.
2. Data breach
The number one fear of reduced control is first that there could be a data breach, and second that it could take time to detect it. Of course, these kinds of breaches are not unique to cloud computing, but studies done over the last several years have shown that there are characteristics associated with cloud computing that necessarily make it more vulnerable.
3. Data loss with no backup
Due to the fact that cloud computing is still relatively new to many organizations, there is the increased risk of human error which could have devastating consequences. One of the worst among these is a loss of data without backup. Of course, this could also be a failing of the system itself and therefore it is crucial that there are measures in place to back up data at all times.
Unfortunately, the implementation of cloud computing has led to a whole new set of vulnerabilities in terms of account hijacking. As a result of the fact that attackers can now use you or your employees’ login information to access sensitive data remotely, the risk is higher.
They are also able to manipulate information through hijacked credentials, scripting bugs, and reusing passwords. There has also been an increase in incidents involving the theft of user tokens. These are used by cloud platforms to verify individual devices without the need for logins during each update of sync.
5. Insider threat
Although you might be quick to dismiss this security threat as irrelevant to your organization, it is important to acknowledge the fact that it exists. Once you’ve granted someone authorized access to cloud-based services, you’ve also increased the number of people who could potentially misuse the information that it contains.
Furthermore, these threats don’t even necessarily have to be informed by malicious intent. A simple mistake could have serious consequences in access is not controlled tightly.
6. Malware injection
A malware injection is a script or code that is embedded directly into the cloud service itself and is seen as a “valid instance.” As a result, malicious code can be put in and will be viewed as part of the software or service that is running within the cloud servers themselves.
7. Insecure Application Programming Interfaces
As a result of their very nature, APIs can pose a threat to cloud security. They are intended by give users the opportunity to customize their cloud experience, but they also authenticate, provide access, and effect encryption. Due to the fact that APIs are likely to be the initial entry point for attackers, it is a good idea to use regular pen testing in order to expose any weaknesses that exist.
8. Contractual breaches
Problems can occur when the contract you have established with customers or business partners is compromised. For example, if employees move restricted data into the cloud without authorization, the business contract you’ve established might be violated. This could lead to breach of a confidentiality agreement, for example, and legal action could follow.
9. Insufficient due diligence
Another vulnerability, that is not technical in nature, is the lack of guidance on behalf of the organization using the cloud accounting. It is crucial that, if using cloud computing, there is a clear plan in place and the goals, resources, and policies surrounding its use are clearly established. Many managed IT service providers have a well-established policy in place to protect against the security risks of cloud computing.
This can easily happen when a business transitions too quickly to the cloud without taking the time to adequately anticipate problems. It is important to assess whether or not what you’re setting out to do will match up with customer expectations.
10. Revenue loss
Ultimately, all the security risks of cloud computing can result in a loss of revenue if not dealt with swiftly and efficiently. It is important to take appropriate precautions to stay on top of how the world of cloud computing is changing. It is great to take advantage of the new frontier for storage, access, and flexibility that cloud computing has opened up, but the security concerns should not be neglected.