8 Cloud Security Threats with Cloud Services That Clients Should Take Seriously
Enterprises are no more in an undecided position as to decide whether migrating applications and enterprise data to the cloud or not. They are already into the cloud but security continues to remain a crucial concern for every business. Security threats are envisaged as the biggest hindrance for most businesses to take all out cloud adoption.
Dealing and managing with these security threats begins irrevocably with identifying them. Cloud by its intrinsic nature of sharing and on-demand service poses new and previously unprecedented security threats. Here below we are going to discuss the top 8 cloud security threats that service providers and clients should always take seriously.
- Breaching information
There are many security threats in cloud environments that are quite similar to traditional IT environment. Especially because of the huge volume of data stored inside cloud servers often cloud service providers become more vulnerable to data breaches. Unsolicited exposure of sensitive data is the biggest threats causing concern for cloud service providers. While exposure of personal and financial information often grab the headlines other sensitive data like the health information, business data and intellectual property information also subject to data breaches.
With the occurrence of such data breaches, service providers can be subjected to fines, lawsuits against them or even criminal charges. Such data breaches can have really derogatory consequences on the brand damage and business. The impact of such data breaches can take a toll lasting for years.
- Unsolicited access to data through authentication breaking
Poor authentication, non-optimized credentials like passwords, access key or certificate also results in unsolicited data access in the cloud servers. Identity management and corresponding optimization of credentials for data access are crucial for cloud environment to prevent such threats. As preventive measure cloud services, these days apply multifactor authentication process involving one-time passwords (OTP), two-step verification, telephone number identification (TIN) or session based passwords to make unsolicited access impossible. To prevent attackers further developers of cloud apps are no longer embedding the customer credentials in the source code.
- UI and API hacking
Almost every cloud service provider and apps release API allowing interaction from enterprise IT teams with the cloud apps and services. These APIs allows IT staff do provision, manage, orchestrate and monitor cloud apps. Often APIs built on the cloud app interfaces by the third party involves risks of exposing secure credential. API plays an important role in the security and availability of cloud based apps and services. As APIs and UI are openly accessible from the web they are most vulnerable to security threats.
- System vulnerabilities
System vulnerabilities that are often exposed to worst exploitations from intruding programs or malicious activities also pose bigger threats to cloud systems. On the cloud, apps memory, databases, and a whole array of resources are shared that always remain close to one another making it easy for the attackers to exploit any bugs or other vulnerabilities. Though this is a common risk area and security concern for cloud environment they can be addressed by IT processes. Some of the most prescribed practices to mitigate these risks include regular scanning of system bugs, promptly managing patches and quickly addressing of system threats.
- Hacking accounts
Hacking customer accounts from the cloud apps through a host of malicious and fraudulent attacks like phishing, software exploits, and credential theft are still crucial threats for cloud services. These activities are more dangerous because of their silent and covered nature. The attackers with these practices can be successful to secretly eavesdrop on the user activities, take note of transaction data and change crucial information to their advantage. These attacks are often conducted by making use of the cloud application itself.
- Advanced persistent threats (APT)
Advanced persistent threats (APTs) is a major cloud security threat which by its nature is parasitical. APTs invade the systems silently and then over a period of time fetch system and crucial client data.
They mix with the normal traffic making detection of their movement more difficult. While big cloud service providers deploy advanced techniques to block APTs to invade their systems, they continue to remain a crucial threat because of their stealthy nature.
- Permanent loss of data
With the maturity of the cloud environment, instances of losing data have become rare. But some malicious programs and hackers have been cited that delete crucial cloud data permanently from the system causing invaluable loss to the businesses. Besides such intruders and attackers cloud data centers are always exposed to natural calamities and manmade disasters.
To mitigate this risk of data loss cloud service providers always depend on distributed data centers and applications across diverse geographical zones for extra protection. Besides this distributed data centers for easy data backup following best practices to prevent any threats leading up to data loss is also important.
- Denial of Service (DoS) attacks
DoS attacks are the final and most enduring among the security threats that have been into existence for years. Because of the cloud environment, they became more prominent and well known because they can seriously impact the data availability. Such attacks result in slowed down systems that cannot be crawled quickly or that get timed out without producing any result. Experiencing such attacks is often frustrating as you cannot do anything but wait for the system to respond. Moreover, such attacks take up a huge volume of processing power for which the user will be built by the cloud service. DoS attacks are one of the commonest threats experienced by a vast majority of cloud customers getting catered by various cloud providers and apps. Better system level monitoring, preventing mechanism to check vulnerabilities in control and performance augmentation are crucial measures to deal with such threats.
To conclude, we must say that shared technologies pose greater vulnerabilities and risk of exposure to cloud computing threats. Cloud providers and apps typically share platforms, data infrastructure, and apps. Naturally, a vulnerability observed in a layer can quickly escalate into others and can soon affect everyone in the network. So, just a single vulnerability or security shortcoming or configuration mistake can actually compromise the whole security measure of the cloud service.
Juned Ahmed is a co-founder and CMO at IndianAppDevelopers – a mobile application development company, he like to solve problems related to mobile and web app.