Security Threat In Cloud Computing
Cloud computing simply referred to as ‘the cloud’ is a type of internet-based computing that delivers on-demand computing resources (applications, storage, servers, bandwidth, etc.) to multiple end-users who can get these resources on a pay-for-use basis with minimal management effort. Cloud computing follows a utility-style costing model where organizations consume computational resources and pay for them just like any other utility like water and electricity. The on-demand nature of cloud computing where resources are rapidly provisioned and released saves organizations the trouble of maintenance and managing their own in-house IT infrastructure. This capital expenditure (CAPEX) saved can be utilized by the organization to achieve other strategic purposes.
Cloud computing promises several important and attractive businesses for organizations. This is the primary reason cloud computing is the hottest buzzword in the IT industry today with organizations both large and small rapidly jumping on the cloud bandwagon.
However, with so much data going into the cloud—and into public cloud services, in particular, there is a potential threat of a host of security concerns and challenges.
“The volume of public cloud utilization is growing rapidly so that inevitably leads to a greater body of sensitive stuff that is potentially at risk,” says Jay Heiser, vice president and cloud security lead at Gartner, Inc.
To provide organizations with an up-to-date understanding of cloud security threats, and help them organize their cloud security strategy.
We List Here the Top Threats to Cloud Security
Misconfigurations of cloud security settings are a leading cause of cloud data breaches. It is often seen that a large number of organizations with inadequate cloud security strategies often expose their data via the cloud. For example, the Exactis incident comes foremost to the mind where the provider left an Elasticsearch database containing personal data of 230 million US consumers publicly accessible due to misconfiguration.
It is important to note that misconfiguration is not only about the loss of data. Mischievous elements in possession of unauthorized data can either delete or modify the data to interrupt smooth business operations. Experts opine that expect traditional controls and change management approaches generally prove to be less effective in preventing data misconfiguration. It is suggested that organizations should instead opt for automation technologies that are capable of continuously scanning for misconfigured resources.
Lack of Cloud Security Architecture and Strategy
This is perhaps the oldest problem when it comes to cloud security. It is often seen that organizations in order to minimize the time and resources needed to migrate to the cloud often put cloud security on the backburner. The end result is that organizations do migrate to the cloud, but the security architecture and strategies are often not in sync with the cloud infrastructure. It is therefore important that the security architecture should be given precedence and designed in sync with desired business goals and objectives. The threat models should be kept up to date, and a system capable of continuous monitoring should be deployed.
An organization’s own IT infrastructure is within its own premises and thus better protected. In contrast, its cloud-based deployments are placed at a remote location and run-on infrastructure that the company does not own.
The prime benefit of this setup is that an organization’s employees can access the data anytime and from anywhere through the public internet. On the flip side, this can limit an organization’s ability to monitor its cloud-based resources. This in turn makes it easier for an attacker to gain unauthorized access to an organization’s cloud-based resources. Poor security can make it easier for a hacker to infringe upon a company’s confidential data.
External Sharing of Data
The cloud is designed to facilitate easy sharing of data. However, the use of link-based sharing is fraught with risks, as the shared link can be easily forwarded or stolen or guessed by a hacker, who in turn can gain unauthorized access to the shared resource.
Account hijacking is one of the more serious cloud security issues, and not without reason. It is often seen that many employees in an organization have extremely weak passwords, which make them increasingly vulnerable to phishing attacks and data breaches. One password for multiple accounts is also common which results in a single stolen password being used on multiple different accounts. Once an attacker gains access to an account, using a legitimate password, there is no limit to the damage he/she can cause, including financial fraud and theft of confidential data to name a few.
Cloud hosting in short is as secure as you make it. Security on the cloud should be your top concern and priority. Just migrating to the cloud without a sound strategy and proper security infrastructure could create serious security challenges. It is of paramount importance to utilize multiple security levels for network, data and physical server security. Also, opt for a service provider that can offer the ultimate level of flexibility and security to manage workloads without compromising on service levels.