Businesses of all sizes are embracing the use of the cloud and they are migrating their data and applications to this new infrastructure. Though beneficial, this migration has its own set of risks. As a business owner, you need to find ways of minimizing the risks associated with cloud computing. The very first step in minimizing the risks in the cloud is by first identifying the top risks that exists in the cloud infrastructure.
Current Cloud Security Threats
The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) has listed the top 12 cloud computing threats that every organization needs to pay keen attention to. They have named these threats as the “Treacherous 12”. Here is a discussion of three of these risks which we believe are the most serious:
- Data Breaches
The cloud environment faces near similar threats to the traditional corporate IT networks. The cloud holds a vast amount of data making them a target to hackers. Data breaches can expose information on personal finance, health, intellectual property and trade secrets. The most recent case of data breach from a cloud server was seen in July 2017 when Verizon’s customer details were exposed. Data breaches are expensive to the company as they lead to fines and penalties and they can also face criminal charges and lawsuits.
- Data Loss
Whereas data breaches occur as a result of malicious attacks, most of data losses occur when there is loss of data which the owner had not backed up. Data loss can also occur when the owner of encrypted data loses or forgets the key needed to unlock the data. Depending on the amount of data lost, the business might or might not recover from such a risk. It is therefore important to always backup your data and keep all keys safely so that you can access them in case you need to decrypt your encrypted data.
- Account hijacking
As technology continues to advance, fraudsters and hackers are also becoming sophisticated in the way they deploy their attacks. Today, these attackers can eavesdrop on transactions happening in the cloud, provide information that can damage the relationship you enjoy with your clients , manipulate data and redirect customers to inappropriate or competitor sites.
Improving Cloud Security for Your Business
Having discussed some of the serious threats that your business can face in the cloud, we now suggest some proven ways by which you can improve your cloud security
i. Restricted Access
You need to ensure that access to the cloud infrastructure is restricted to authorized personnel only. You must then train these persons on how to safely access the data to ensure that they do not expose your system to intruders.
ii. Strict Security for sensitive data
You must make sure that all sensitive data has extra layer of security. Sensitive data such as customers financial and personal data must be encrypted and stored securely in a safe place within the cloud infrastructure.
iii. Extend security to all devices
You need to ensure that you keep your business data distinct from your personal data. There is need to have a patch management agent installed on all your devices to ensure that they keep fixing all bugs and keep all your software up to date. You should also scan all the devices used to access the cloud for any vulnerabilities.
iv. Invest in network protection
It is important for you to add intelligence to your network to enable you to see through the cloud and capture the details of all users accessing your data. Such an ability will also help you when it comes time to conduct forensic investigation into the whole cloud infrastructure.
Cloud Security Monitoring Software & Services
There are a number of cloud security monitoring software and services providers. These include Dome9, Zscaler, Qualys, Netskope, Alert Logic Cloud Defender, Cisco Cloud Web Security, IBM Cloud Security Enforcer among others. Some examples of cloud security tools include Vormetric, SafeNet, Proofpoint among others.