More and more companies are recognising the many benefits offered by cloud computing. In fact, it is thought that up to 94 per cent of organisations now use cloud computing for at least some part of their business operations.
However, while cloud computing is just as reliable as an onsite IT solution, it’s not without its risks. There are a number of security risks associated with cloud computing, but these can all be mitigated with the right protocols and approach.
Cloud computing is the online delivery of computing services such as server space, storage, networking, databases and more, rather than hosting all of this on traditional physical hardware.
Cloud computing offers a host of advantages, including reduced capital expenditure, scalability, speed, reliability and security.
The main security risks of cloud computing are:
Data loss is one of the security risks associated with cloud computing. This is hard to predict and can be caused by a number of factors, including:
Data deletion – If not backed up, data may be accidentally deleted as a result of human error, system error, or even malicious intent.
Data alteration – If information is changed, it may not be possible to revert it back to its prior state.
Storage outage – Data may be lost as a result of problems on the cloud provider’s side of the system.
Loss of access – Information may still be in the system but inaccessible due to not having the right encryption keys, personal account data, etc.
There are, however, ways to minimise the risk of cloud computing data loss. Data should be frequently backed up and stored across geo-diverse data centres.
A data breach involves information being accessed and extracted from the cloud without authorisation. This could mean confidential data being released to the public, sold or held for ransom.
There are a number of steps that can be taken to help avoid data breaches:
Multi-factor authentication – This requires the user to prove their identity in multiple ways before being granted access to the data, such as a password and a unique code sent to their mobile.
Data-at-rest encryption – This is data that is stored in the system but isn’t actively used on different devices.
Perimeter firewall – A perimeter firewall can be established between the public and private network to control traffic in and out of the system.
Because an internet connection is required to store data on the cloud, anybody using cloud services could potentially be at risk of a cyberattack.
DoS attacks, for example, are becoming increasingly common, with hackers directing unprecedented volumes of traffic to a web-app, resulting in the server overloading and ultimately crashing.
The API is used to operate the system within the cloud infrastructure; it includes both internal and external use.
If the API doesn’t meet requirements or contains flaws, its integrity can be compromised. This can cause issues such as access without authentication, lack of access monitoring, reusable tokens and passwords, and clear-text authentication.
While the shift to cloud computing offers enormous benefits, including unrivalled scalability and flexibility, it also brings with it new security challenges, such as vulnerability to data leaks and loss.
To find out more about eliminating cloud computing security risks, please get in touch.