Top Cloud Security Threats and How to Mitigate Them

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Cloud Security

Many organizations are taking steps towards digital transformation and remote working to stay in business in light of recent global events. This trend is expected to linger even after the Covid-19 pandemic ends. One of the key enablers of digital transformation is cloud computing. Cloud solutions deliver flexible, on-demand access to the resources, allowing CIOs to transform their businesses digitally.                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Cloud-based solutions allow users to store files and applications on remote servers and access all the data via the internet. With cloud storage, you can access resources, data, services, and applications anywhere, anytime, as long as you are connected to the internet. But there’s a risk. Cloud storage opens the door for someone else to access your files from another device, and that’s where cloud security comes in. Lets find out the top cloud security threats.

Security Threats Facing Cloud Service Users

Nearly every organization has adopted cloud computing to varying degrees in their operations. With enormous amounts of data going into the cloud, these resources become a natural target for online threat actors. Understanding cloud security threats can help organizations take proactive steps to protect themselves. Below, we look at some of the most common security threats facing cloud service users. 

Data Breaches

Data breaches are the most prevalent security threats for cloud service users. Data stored in cloud systems are more susceptible to breaches simply because of the sheer volume of data flowing between users (employees) and the cloud. Attackers can easily intercept this data, as was the case in the 2017 Equifax breach where hackers stole and published personal data belonging to more than 147 million Americans. 

Misconfiguration

Misconfiguration is another common threat in cloud systems. Cloud systems are designed to be easily usable and facilitate seamless data sharing, making it very difficult for businesses to ensure that cloud resources are only accessible to authorized parties. The lack of control and visibility over their cloud infrastructure makes it easy for businesses to misconfigure their cloud settings, leaving sensitive data exposed. 

Insider Threats

Malicious insiders pose a significant cybersecurity threat for any organization. Insider threats already have authorized access to internal networks and all the sensitive data that they contain. It could be a disgruntled employee, contractor, or a trusted business partner. Attempts to gain this level of access by external threats are what alerts companies of an impending attack. As a result, detecting insider threats is very difficult in the cloud. 

Account Hijacking

As organizations become increasingly reliant on cloud services for core business functions, account hijacking is becoming a more serious cloud security issue. A lot of people have poor password hygiene, including the use of weak passwords and password reuse. A single password stolen in a data breach or a phishing attack can be used for multiple cloud accounts. 

Insecure Interfaces and APIs

When it comes to cloud security, APIs and user interfaces are common attack vectors. Interfaces and APIs allow users to manage and interact with cloud services, but they can also expose cloud environments to malicious actors. In 2018, social media giant Facebook experienced a data breach where more than 50 million accounts were hacked. The attackers targeted the ‘View As’ feature, allowing users to view their profile as someone else.

How Users Can Secure Their Device

Data is moving to the cloud at astronomical rates, but security isn’t always keeping pace. Contrary to popular belief, the primary responsibility for protecting business data on the cloud lies with the cloud customer, not the service provider. Here are some of the steps cloud service users can take to safeguard their data from various cloud security threats. 

Deploy Security Tools

One of the best ways to mitigate data breaches and other security threats in the cloud is to protect your data using at-rest and in-transit security. Encryption is one of the most effective deterrents to data breaches. You can encrypt data at rest using built-in desktop encryption tools such as FileVault and BitLocker. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to scramble in-transit data. Download a VPN for security and keep hackers from intercepting cloud data

Check Your Configuration Settings

Checking and verifying your configuration settings is one of the best steps you can take towards protecting your organization’s data on the cloud. For many organizations, the only way to do this is to have a discussion with your cloud service provider and seek assurances that your configuration settings have been set up correctly. A good cloud service provider will help you evaluate your cloud storage use and bring to light any potential risks. 

Turn on Account Alerts

A cloud storage service should be able to alert you about significant account events. You might be able to get alerts about activities inside your cloud storage accounts, including new sign-ins, files and folders that have been removed, and shares that have been created. Account alerts can help you detect suspicious behavior among the users and detect malicious insiders. 

Use Strong Passwords and Two-Factor Authentication

Promoting good password hygiene within your organization can help you mitigate the risk of account hijacking and other forms of unauthorized access. Encourage the use of strong, unique passwords that are difficult to guess. A password manager can help you generate strong passwords and keep them safe. If two-factor authentication (2FA) is available, make sure that it’s enabled. With 2FA, bad actors can’t access your account even if they have your login credentials. 

Choose Your Cloud Service Provider Carefully 

When looking for a cloud-based solution, you must research how the service plans on keeping your data safe. Choosing your cloud storage vendor carefully can go a long way towards keeping your cloud storage safe and secure. It’s the only way to protect against threats such as insecure APIs and interfaces in your cloud system. A good cloud storage provider will observe OWASP API security guidelines

Now more than ever, businesses are integrating cloud-based solutions into their operations to enable digital transformation. With so much vulnerable data on the cloud, organizations must take steps to keep their cloud storage safe and secure. Use these tips to mitigate common cloud security threats such as data breaches, insecure APIs, and unauthorized access. 

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