The term “cloud” has become eminent in modern-day businesses. Cloud technology is economical and flexible and it enables users to access data from anywhere. It is used by individuals as well as small, medium, and large size enterprises. There are basically three types of cloud services that include:
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
- Platform as a Service (PaaS).
While there are a lot of advantages to cloud technology, it also has its share of security challenges and risks. It is equally popular amongst hackers and attackers as it is amongst genuine users and businesses. The lack of proper security measures and mechanisms exposes cloud services to multiple threats that can cause damage to one’s business. In this article, I am going to discuss the security threats and issues that need to be addressed and taken care of while incorporating cloud computing in your business.
What are Cloud Security Challenges, Threats, and Issues
The main risks with cloud computing services are:
- DoS and DDoS attacks
- Account Hijacking
- Data Breaches
- Insecure APIs
- Cloud Malware Injection
- Side Channel Attacks
- Data Loss
- Lack of Visibility or Control
1] DoS and DDoS attacks
Denial of Service (DoS) and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are one of the major security risks in any cloud service. In these attacks, adversaries overwhelm a network with unwanted requests so much that the network becomes unable to respond to genuine users. Such attacks may cause an organization to suffer less revenue, lose brand value and customer trust, etc.
Enterprises are recommended to employ DDoS protection services with cloud technology. It has actually become a need of the hour to defend against such attacks.
Related read: Free DDoS protection for your website with Google Project Shield
2] Account Hijacking
Hijacking of accounts is another cybercrime that everyone must be aware of. In cloud services, it becomes all the more tricky. If the members of a company have used weak passwords or reused their passwords from other accounts, it becomes easier for adversaries to hack accounts and get unauthorized access to their accounts and data.
Organizations that rely on cloud-based infrastructure must address this issue with their employees. Because it can lead to leak of their sensitive information. So, teach employees the importance of strong passwords, ask them to not reuse their passwords from somewhere else, beware of phishing attacks, and just be more careful on the whole. This may help organizations avoid account hijacking.
Read: Network Security Threats.
3] Data Breaches
Data Breach is no new term in the field of cybersecurity. In traditional infrastructures, IT personnel has good control over the data. However, enterprises with cloud-based infrastructures are highly vulnerable to data breaches. In various reports, an attack titled Man-In-The-Cloud (MITC) was identified. In this type of attack on the cloud, hackers get unauthorized access to your documents and other data stored online and steal your data. It can be caused due to improper configuration of cloud security settings.
Enterprises that utilize the cloud must plan proactively for such attacks by incorporating layered defense mechanisms. Such approaches may help them avoid data breaches in the future.
4] Insecure APIs
Cloud service providers offer APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) to customers for easy usability. Organizations use APIs with their business partners and other individuals for access to their software platforms. However, insufficiently secured APIs can lead to the loss of sensitive data. If APIs are created without authentication, the interface becomes vulnerable and an attacker on the internet can have access to the organization’s confidential data.
To its defense, APIs must be created with strong authentication, encryption, and security. Also, use APIs standards that are designed from a security point of view, and make use of solutions like Network Detection to analyze security risks related to APIs.
5] Cloud Malware Injection
Malware injection is a technique to redirect a user to a malicious server and have control of his/ her information in the cloud. It can be carried out by injecting a malicious application into SaaS, PaaS, or IaaS service and getting tricked into redirecting a user to a hacker’s server. Some examples of Malware Injection attacks include Cross-site Scripting Attacks, SQL injection attacks, and Wrapping attacks.
6] Side Channel Attacks
In side-channel attacks, the adversary uses a malicious virtual machine on the same host as the victim’s physical machine and then extracts confidential information from the target machine. This can be avoided using strong security mechanisms like virtual firewall, use of random encryption-decryption, etc.
7] Data Loss
Accidental data deletion, malicious tampering, or cloud service being down can cause serious data loss to enterprises. To overcome this challenge, organizations must be prepared with a cloud disaster recovery plan, network layer protection, and other mitigation plans.
8] Lack of Visibility or Control
Monitoring cloud-based resources is a challenge for organizations. As these resources are not owned by the organization themselves, it limits their ability to monitor and protect resources against cyberattacks.
Enterprises are gaining a lot of benefits from cloud technology. However, they can’t neglect the inherent security challenges it comes with. If no proper security measures are taken before implementing cloud-based infrastructure, businesses can suffer a lot of damage. Hopefully, this article helps you learning security challenges that are faced by cloud services. Address the risks, implement strong cloud security plans, and make the most out of cloud technology.
Now read: A Comprehensive Guide to Online Privacy.