The Main Security Issues in Cloud Computing for Businesses in 2022
There is no doubt that cloud computing is one of the greatest innovations of the 20th century. By eliminating the need to have physical onsite data centers and servers, companies can instead store their data on external servers – otherwise known as the cloud – in order to access data and applications over the internet. This means they can upload and access their files virtually anywhere in the world where there is a stable internet connection, on any device, at any time, and without the need to maintain physical infrastructure.
However, despite its convenience and flexibility, there are numerous cybersecurity risks that are unique to cloud computing. Resolving these cybersecurity issues requires taking a dedicated approach in order to safeguard businesses against data loss, leakage, and theft. Here are the main cloud security issues in cloud computing that you should be aware of and what you can do to protect your business.
Misconfigured Security Settings
There are many factors that determine the quality of your cloud security. These include your choice of cloud service provider, your choice of a private or public cloud, level of password protection, how well your staff are trained in cloud security practices, and more. Together, these contributing factors can have a major impact on the vulnerability of your cloud security.
Unfortunately, misconfigured settings can pose many cloud security threats to your business. For instance, an unrestricted outbound port can create an opportunity for hackers to perform data exfiltration, which is the unauthorized transferring of data from a computer to other devices. Insecure automated cloud backups are another security vulnerability. This occurs when your cloud backups are not encrypted whether at rest or in transit, thus giving hackers the chance to attack during these moments.
Developing cloud security policies and templates is a great way to ensure your cloud security settings are consistent and meet your unique business requirements. Automating your security and configuration checks is another way to stay on top of your cloud security and address any potential issues before they cause any major problems.
These days, more and more companies are relying on outsourcing external workers, such as contractors and freelancers, to fill the skill shortages that exist in their in-house team. Depending on the role of these external workers, they may need to access sensitive company data to perform their jobs correctly.
However, this working arrangement can increase the risk of an unauthorized third-party breach, especially when the contractor or freelancer in question successfully steals, leaks, or modifies the data to suit their own purposes. Worse still, it can be difficult to detect when a third-party breach has been carried out, when the act was not carried out by a permanent team member.
One of the best ways to avoid this main security issue in cloud computing is to enforce access controls. These are rules, guidelines, and settings that determine the different levels of permissions and access that external workers have. For instance, an external worker may only be permitted to gain surface level access to the essential data they need to perform their job correctly, but not be able to access deeper, more sensitive data. However you wish to incorporate access controls into your business, be sure to regularly review your access controls so they are up to date, especially if an employee is promoted to a new role or they leave the company entirely.
Sharing of External Data
One of the greatest advantages of cloud computing is the ability to seamlessly share data across the public internet. By simply sharing a URL link, you can permit access to an internal or external staff member or a member of the general public, enabling them to view and, in some cases, modify the data. However, depending on the type of data being hosted, this benefit can quickly turn into a disaster if the data falls into the wrong hands.
Many cloud platforms, such as Google Docs, let their users invite collaborators via email or permit access to a file with a URL link. However, due to the nature of public link sharing, there is a risk the person on the receiving end could accidentally share the invite or URL link with someone else, who could then view or modify that data however they wish.
Fortunately, many cloud service providers and platforms have measures in place, which limits who can access collaboration invites and URL links. For example, when you opt to share a Google Docs link, a pop-up window appears that lets you decide if either anyone can access the URL link or only a select few. You can also decide whether the permitted individuals can only view the document or also edit and modify the document.
Unfortunately, even under the best of circumstances, there is always a risk that in-house staff could have malicious intent and compromise the security of your cloud system. And, when it comes to the cloud, preventing malicious acts from the inside can be incredibly difficult.
Why? Because it is hard to know when an employee, regardless of their role, position, and day-to-day duties, will gain authorized access to the cloud and commit a major cyberattack. Also, such malicious acts can also be performed by not just current employees but also former employees and external contractors, freelancers, and visitors.
One way to prevent a malicious insider act is to have in place strong cloud security threat systems, practices, policies, and procedures. This ensures that every employee who accesses the cloud understands what they can and cannot do, why this is the case, and what the consequences are if they commit a malicious security breach. Furthermore, having these control measures in place can make it easier to detect abnormal behavior from your employees, and respond accordingly before a malicious act takes place.
Improperly Trained Staff
When it comes to identifying the main security issues in cloud computing, staff are often the weakest link. A staff member may interpret a phishing email scam as a legitimate source and accidentally share their login credentials or financial details. They may accidentally share a URL link to a team member but forget to limit access to the URL, thereby making it possible for anyone on the public internet to access the link.
These kinds of slip ups, no matter how minor, can pose major consequences for your company if you are not careful. This is why it is important that you properly train and educate your staff on cloud security best practices. This training should extend to your external staff as well, including contractors and freelancers. This way, you will have peace of mind knowing that your staff know how to identify a potential threat, report the matter to the relevant personnel, and have the issue rectified.
There are many ways to train staff in identifying cloud security threats. One such example is sending fake, simulated phishing emails to staff and then seeing if they can identify the tell-tale signs of a fake email. For instance, while the email may claim to represent a legitimate business, if an employee can spot the signs of a fake such as made-up contact details or inconsistent use of language, they may be able to avoid falling into this trap and accidentally sharing sensitive company credentials.
Make Cloud Security a Priority in Your Business
Any organization that relies on the cloud to operate their business should take security seriously. While some of this responsibility is shared with the cloud service provider you choose, nonetheless, it is vital that you have measures in place to ensure that your data is safe and easily accessible but also protected from malicious hackers.
Striking the right balance between accessibility (one of the major conveniences of cloud computing) and security (the measures you put in place to protect your data) can be difficult. But, by investing the time, resources, and labor into setting up a strong foundation for cloud security – i.e. multi-factor authentication, password protection, access controls, daily backups, and more – you can relax knowing that your company data is safe.
Whether you are transitioning to the cloud or need help with overcoming the main security issues in cloud computing, contact Orient Software today.
Orient Software’s cloud computing expertise can be proven through various testing methodologies, combined with our skilled vendor-agnostic resources, which all-in-all put us as your most appropriate candidate for cloud computing services. We can provide you with a custom cloud computing solution that is scalable, secure, affordable, and easily accessible, providing everything you need to take advantage of the unique benefits of cloud computing while ensuring that your company data is safe and secure.