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Common Cloud Security Challenges and How to Avoid Them

Common Cloud Security Challenges and How to Avoid Them
The Siliconreview
03 January, 2022

Small, medium, and established businesses have increasingly embraced cloud computing due to its unmatched flexibility. Latest studies show that small and medium businesses using cloud technologies grow 26% faster and 21% more profitable. On the other hand, established companies benefit from clouds’ resilience, agility, scalability, and flexibility.

However, amidst this spiraling growth, cloud security challenges have made organizations hesitant to embrace cloud computing fully. Below are common cloud security concerns affecting businesses and how organizations can combat them.

1. Cloud Provider Concerns

Most businesses think they can offload their security concerns to cloud service providers. However, while cloud service providers provide average security structures through their shared infrastructure, you cannot access or evaluate the effectiveness of their security.

Understanding how cloud service providers protect customer data is important, especially for businesses handling sensitive customer data. Below are cloud provider security concerns to worry about.

  • Restricted control over cloud data

Businesses don’t have the same level of data control on public cloud infrastructure as they do with on-premise data storage solutions. Since cloud infrastructure is only available through the internet, businesses should have access controls to keep their intellectual properties and personally identifiable information safe.

Businesses should implement various security best practices to ensure that data stored on the public cloud is safe. Two or multi-factor authentication, using unique keys, and double-checking internal security practices of cloud service providers can improve data security.

  • Cloud-Native Data Breaches

Data breaches on the cloud take advantage of cloud vulnerabilities to mount attacks and compromise organizational data, such as using Ransomware to lock down data. A common point of vulnerability is cloud misconfiguration and visibility. Unfortunately, an estimated 93% of cloud apps are not ready for extensive enterprise SaaS sprawl. This creates a wide attack surface for data breaches.

  • Compliance and regulations

Rapidly changing federal, state, and global standards, frameworks, and regulations guiding data privacy should be a concern for all businesses. Strict data regulations, such as the CCPA and GDPR, and emerging guidelines, such as improving the nation’s Cybersecurity Act, outline stringent measures on how data should be stored, shared, accessed, or deleted by companies and cloud service providers. They also provide provisions guiding data breach notifications.

Companies should regularly review their active contracts with CSPs to ensure that they comply with new overlapping laws. Most established cloud service providers must comply with complex security frameworks, such as NIST.

2. Organizational Concerns

Common organizational threats to cloud security include;

  • Insider threats

As you may know, insider threats refer to malicious or accidental systems or data compromise by anyone with unrestricted access, such as employees and third-party persons. Insider threats are a significant concern because more than 50% of businesses don’t know if they can detect insider threats from the cloud.

Unfortunately, despite the simplicity of these threats, most companies struggle to mitigate insider threats. However, limiting system and data access by ensuring that only those who need specific information access it, regular data audits, and robust authentication protocols can reduce exposure by malicious insiders. You should also train your employees to avoid simple mistakes and identify phishing scams that can introduce risks.

  • Lack of experienced cloud security personnel

Talent scarcity in the U.S has tripled over the last decade, especially in IT fields. Currently, nearly 70% of IT employers cannot find the right personnel for their vacant positions. Shortage of skills is particularly grave in IT and cloud security. If you experience this in your organization, smart outsourcing can help. Outsourcing to cloud security consulting experts align your company with people with the right skills that can support cloud migration and security frameworks.

3. External Concerns

Organizations also experience a lot of cloud security challenges from external players. Common concerns include;

  • DDoS and DOS Attacks

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) and Denial of Service (DOS) attacks can prevent companies from accessing information stored on cloud systems by flooding bandwidth, making their services unavailable. Fortunately, businesses can implement various measures to reduce DOS and DDoS threats. Among them, include rate limiting, installing firewalls, blackhole routing, and IP blocking.

  • API Attacks

API attacks are the malicious use of APIs to compromise data and web applications. Even though being open is a key concept in digital transformation, most businesses overlook the importance of API security testing during the testing phase. Like other external threats, you can reduce the risk of API attacks by using strong access tokens, monitoring API traffic, and end-to-end data encryption.

  • Account Hijacking

Interestingly, more than half of recent data breaches, especially on cloud services and access points, are attributed to hacked credentials. While this reiterates the importance of shared responsibility, implementing strong access controls and training employees on phishing and social engineering scams can help. Adopting a two-factor authentication on sensitive data can mitigate credential-based threats.

  • Cloud migration issues

Cloud migration is another significant cloud security issue that businesses should be wary of. If not handled properly, cloud migration can expose businesses to several risks. Interestingly, among the biggest challenges faced by businesses include visibility of cloud security infrastructure (43%), cloud compliance (38%), developing cloud security policies (35%), and failing to keep tabs with changes in cloud applications (35%).

Businesses should implement straightforward cloud migration strategies for a flawless transition. Trying to complete everything at once presents enormous security risks. Typically, cloud migration should be done in stages to reduce critical errors that can corrupt data or expose sensitive information to various vulnerabilities.

Endnote

While shifting to the cloud comes with many benefits, you should conduct a thorough cloud security risk assessment before including cloud services in your organization’s workflow. A rigorous risk assessment includes identifying the biggest cyber security risks, their potential impacts, and how they are likely to occur.

Be it private cloud data systems, SaaS applications, or public cloud service providers, you should maximize data security by engaging in cloud security consulting solutions from Security Compass Advisory. They provide comprehensive cloud-native security solutions that protect business apps, assets, and data from all forms of attacks.