Cloud Security: Threats, Reasons, and Prevention
Information security in the cloud is generally provided in the same way as in local data centers, only without the cost of physical servers and a team supporting their constant operation.
The cloud environment allows businesses to increase the necessary capacity quickly, but information security often takes a back seat when scaling IT infrastructure. As a result, some organizations do not even think about strengthening the protection system because they fully trust the cloud provider.
However, the use of either cloud solutions or local infrastructure will not exclude cyberattacks by intruders looking for ways to access corporate networks. Preventing data leaks and theft is critical to maintaining customer trust and the company’s reputation, not to mention possible financial losses.
Why is this happening? We’ll tell you in this article.
Prevent data leaks and online threats! Follow the rules to stay safe.
Potential threats in the cloud
- Incorrect configuration of security settings
This is one of the main reasons for data leakage from the cloud environment. Many companies are not familiar with cloud infrastructure protection and use cloud solutions from different vendors: private, public, or multi-cloud — each with its own set of security management tools provided by vendors.
Due to incorrect configuration or lack of security control, the organization’s cloud resources may be open to intruders.
- Denial of service
The functioning of the cloud environment directly depends on the internet connection. However, such an infrastructure is particularly vulnerable to DoS and DDoS attacks.
You can read more about the danger of DDoS attacks here.
Attackers can flood a company’s cloud network with a large volume of web traffic, making resources inaccessible to both customers and employees. In addition, the more services and applications of the company are hosted in the cloud, the more damage the actions of intruders can cause.
- Data leak
An insufficient level of protection can allow an attacker to gain direct access to confidential company information and lead to data leakage, both from the company’s local network and from the cloud infrastructure.
Data leakage, in turn, can damage the reputation of the company, cause distrust on the part of customers and partners. Violation of data confidentiality is also associated with financial costs in the form of both sanctions from regulators and claims from customers affected by the leak.
- Hacking accounts
Account hacking is one of the most serious problems since company employees do not always have sufficiently complex passwords and sometimes use the same password for several accounts.
As a result, an attacker with a single stolen password can gain access to several systems, and business logic, data and applications, and sometimes infrastructure components that depend on the account may be at risk.
Learn more about famous hackers and their big crimes around the world here.
- Insecure APIs
Application User Interfaces (APIs) are designed to optimize cloud computing. However, if they are unchecked and adequate security measures are not applied, APIs can open communication lines for attackers to access cloud resources.
Many APIs have their security vulnerabilities, which can compromise the cloud environment.
To reduce this threat, it is necessary to regularly test for vulnerabilities of applications that employees work with, analyze risks before their implementation, and promptly eliminate vulnerabilities.
The main causes of data leakage
#1. Lack of tracking of redundant access rights
Redundant access rights are formed due to a mismatch between the necessary permissions for users to perform their work and the permissions actually granted to them.
In other words, this is the difference between the access rights defined by the administrator and those actually used. These excessive permissions increase the surface of potential attacks on your company.
#2. The problem is not in detecting incidents but in comparing them
Due to the excessive number of notifications, those in charge of security often do not have time to process them. As a result, alerts about the malicious activity are drowned in a sea of warnings, and a real data leak occurs unnoticed.
#3. Inability to compare incidents
Data leakage is not instantaneous. This is a lengthy process when, by trial and error, an attacker tries to gain access to confidential data by performing small actions.
Even if it is possible to detect individual security events, they are often not remembered when the next similar suspicious action is detected — no one thinks to compare the details of different incidents.
How to prevent threats in the cloud
1. Use multi-factor authentication. In addition to introducing a corporate login and password to access corporate systems in the cloud, it is recommended to configure stricter user authentication.
2. Build a strong relationship with the cloud provider. When switching to the provider’s cloud infrastructure, it is necessary to ensure that the provided environment is secure and meets the IS standards.
3. Be prepared for data security threats. Develop a plan of action in emergencies. Backup should be carried out according to a schedule with a minimum RTPO and an optimal data recovery lifecycle.
4. Don’t forget about the cloud penetration tests. From a technical point of view, the penetration test (Pentest) in a cloud environment is not much different from any other penetration test. However, modeling the actions of an attacker aimed at detecting vulnerabilities in cloud environments will allow a detailed assessment of the state of security.
5. Carry out monitoring. Monitoring and analyzing the behavior of end users in real time makes it possible to detect unauthorized access or actions that deviate from the usual patterns, for example, logging in from a previously unknown or suspicious IP address or device, as well as to prevent careless steps by users that may reduce the level of security.
6. Don’t neglect a VPN. A VPN network provides a high level of security for any device connected to the cloud. Without a VPN, a potential attacker can use a packet analyzer to determine which participants have access to the account and gain access to the data.The list of available and well-trusted VPNs is here.