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Top 5 Cloud Security Threats You Need To Understand

Data in the cloud is considered secure, but that doesn't mean you're safe from these five threats.

The age of cloud technology is upon us. Although many enterprises are already moving to the cloud, one question remains: How secure is the cloud?

According to a report by the CSA (Cloud Security Alliance), "Cloud providers are highly accessible, and the vast amount of data they host makes them an attractive target." This article covers five of the most common security threats you may face when migrating your applications to the cloud.

Threat #1: Data Breaches

Although cloud environments employ security measures, they still face the same threats as traditional networks. A data breach can expose sensitive customer information, intellectual property, and trade secrets, all of which can lead to serious consequences. For example, companies could face lawsuits and hefty fines as well as damage to the brand image that could last for years.

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Reputable cloud services usually have several security protocols in place to protect sensitive information. However, it's up to your organization to implement a plan for protecting your data in the cloud. The most effective method is to use encryption and multifactor authentication.

Threat #2: Compromised Credentials

You'd be surprised how many security threats can be prevented by simply choosing a secure password. Companies that don't stress the importance of secure credentials are at a greater risk of being compromised. In addition to using strong passwords, companies can also protect themselves by setting the right user roles and creating processes for identifying critical changes made by other users.

By implementing multifactor authentication, you can also reduce the likelihood of attackers logging into a stolen account. Common authentication systems include smartcards, phone-based authentication, and one-time passwords.

Threat #3: Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks

DoS attacks have threatened computer networks for several years. However, cloud computing has made them more prevalent. These attacks tie up large amounts of processing power and affect cloud availability and speed. The worst part is that there's nothing you can do once it happens except to sit and wait. Of course, you'll also have to pay for the additional load brought on by the attack, which, depending on the severity of the attack, could lead to significant financial losses.

Most cloud services have systems in place to protect against DoS attacks. However, the best way to ensure you remain unaffected is to prevent the attack from happening in the first place. This usually involves sharing critical resources with administrators and performing regular security audits to identify vulnerabilities.

Threat #4: Hacked Interfaces and APIs

Most cloud services and applications use APIs to communicate with other cloud services. As a result, the security of the APIs has a direct effect on the security of the cloud services. The chance of getting hacked increases when companies grant third parties access to the APIs. In a worst-case scenario, this could cause the business to lose confidential information related to their customers and other parties.

According to the CSA, the best way to protect yourself from API hacks is to implement threat modeling applications and systems into the development life cycle. It's also recommended that you perform thorough code reviews to ensure that there aren't any gaps in your security.

Threat #5: Permanent Data Loss

Although the chances of losing all your data on the cloud are extremely small, there have been some reports of hackers gaining access to cloud data centers and wiping all the data clean. That's why it's important to distribute your applications across several zones and back up your data using off-site storage when possible.

You also need to be aware of compliance policies that govern what you can and can't do with collected data. Understanding these rules will protect you in the event of a data breach and keep you away from trouble.

About the Author

JT Giri is the CEO of nClouds, an AWS consulting provider. He has spent the last 10 years helping companies migrate to the cloud and build automated infrastructures. nClouds deals with cloud migration to drive growth for companies and improve the collaboration between software and IT teams.

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