Covid-19 still looming at large, recent research shows that over 70% of the world’s businesses now operate on cloud. This is not a very surprising find since cloud offers a major number of benefits like lower costs, flexibility, automatic software updates, increased accessibility and overcome geographical barriers.
But this also means there are security gaps knowns as Cloud attacks that needs to be addressed whilst maintaining the efficiency and reduced operational costs. In the current scenario, 90% of the organizations are moderately concerned about cloud attacks and security. Cloud technology being one of the most actively developed technologies have many vulnerabilities that can be exploited easily by malicious insiders.
Before we explore how to overcome the cloud threats, let’s take a look at some of the most common types of cloud attack seen in the year 2021 and expected to continue in 2022.
WHAT ARE THE TOP CLOUD COMPUTING THREATS
Cloud API vulnerabilities
Shared Technology Vulnerabilities
Insider threats may not seem so common for organizations; however it does exist. Employees have authorised access to organizations’ data that may include sensitive information such as personal information, payment details, customer accounts, financial forms etc. While sometimes the misuse of this information is intentional, it could also be accident or malware too. To overcome this, a recent research suggested few best practices followed by organisations, such as implementing technology, controlling access, business partnerships, and prioritising initiatives.
Cloud API vulnerabilities
APIs – Application Programming Interface allows users to interact with cloud-based services by creating a middle layer. However, any vulnerability may significantly impact the security and directly impacts cloud management, and monitoring. Developing a stronger control over APIs and implementing them helps manage your cloud easily without being exposed to vulnerabilities through API.
Is Cloud safe? Can cloud be used to store sensitive information rather than saving them on premise. Although cloud computing has been gaining traction in the past few years, data breaches are not new. According to recent research, almost 50% of the IT and Security professionals agreed that security measures to protect data on cloud services are low in their organizations. The study was carried out in series of nine scenarios to validate of data breach had occurred. After evaluating each scenario, it was found that data breaches were three times more likely to occur where organizations used cloud than those who use on prem. However, with the right data regulation and stringent security measures, cloud computing has more advantages to offer.
Data on cloud can be lost due to malicious attack or even through data wipe through the service provider. Without a recovery plan in place, data loss could be catastrophic for small businesses since they stand to lose vital information. Many giants like Amazon, Google have suffered data loss permanently destroying customers’ data. Securing data by carefully reviewing back up procedures that outline plans relating to physical storage locations, physical access, natural disasters etc can help minimise the data loss.
Shared Technology Vulnerabilities
Cloud computing involves using a huge number of shared technologies such as cloud orchestration and virtualisation. Attackers can cause significant damage to many cloud users by exploiting vulnerabilities in any part of these technologies. Weaknesses in cloud hypervisor can lead to hackers gaining advantage and causing significant damage to cloud or even the host itself. Hackers gain unrestricted access to the host through shared resources and thus it becomes important to check if your cloud provider has a stringent security measure in place.
There are many other vulnerabilities that are commonly seen in cloud weak cryptography, insecure APIs, Service attacks, Malware injection, hijacking of accounts and so on.
HOW TO PREVENT CLOUD ATTACKS & THREATS
- Using Strong Authentication
- Access Management
- Improve Security Policies
- Identify Intrusions
- Secure APIs
With cloud, the traditional security model used no longer holds good. A cloud provider while ensures security, it is a mammoth task and therefore the responsibility also lies with the cloud users. Cloud providers are now focusing more on following industry best practices to ensure they offer a superior level of cloud security.
Here’s few ways to ensure your cloud is safe:
1. Using Strong Authentication
The most common way to access users’ data in the cloud is through stealing passwords. Cloud developers must implement a strong authentication in the form of multi-factor authentication, tools that prompt for both static as well as dynamic passwords. The dynamic passwords could be in the form of one-time passwords on mobile or using biometric to authenticate user validity.
2. Access Management
To improve security, cloud developers should allow users to assign role-based permissions. This will ensure the data is safe and scope of users’ permission stays well within the purview of the company where it can be tracked efficiently.
3. Improve Security Policies
Cloud providers must protect user data by limiting access to third party software vendors. Security policies must be well laid out and clients must be informed on a regular basis on what security measures have been taken from your side to keep data of the users safe.
4. Identify Intrusions
As a cloud provider, you must ensure to provide a fully managed intrusion detection system for all cloud-based solutions that you offer. This system can help detect and inform about any malicious use of data by intruders. It can perform a continuous network monitoring as well as notify about the suspicious behaviours, if any.
5. Secure APIs
Cloud providers & developers must ensure that any cloud-based application can be accessed only through secure APIs. While it may cause limitations in terms of the number of IP addresses used or providing access only through corporate networks or VPNs, this can be a secure way. But this limitation can be overcome by implementing security protection by using special scripts, templates etc. Furthermore, a security protection can be built to protect your API.
Cloud-based solutions are definitely the way to move forward. Although this technology is exposed to vulnerabilities and cloud attacks, it is possible to enhance security measures and have a smooth functioning cloud-based service at your fingertips. By being aware of top cloud attacks and how to avoid them, your organisation can build a cloud security strategy and protect business from vulnerable attacks.