How to Combat Top Cloud Security Threats Because Data is Asset
Cloud security breach has led many companies such as Facebook, British Airways, Shein.com, Cathay Pacific and Chegg to suffer compromise on customer and user data, which has shackled their customer/consumer base and caused trust issues. According to recent research conducted by ForcePoint, only 7% of businesses have good visibility of critical data. 58% say they only have slight control. The numbers are frightening as cloud security threats not only steal credentials but also results in colossal loss to the organization. This fact was reflected in a 2017 study conducted by CGI Inc. and Oxford Economics which evaluated the overall costs born by data breaches in the past 5 years. It was more than $50 billion. The cloud was introduced to give an easier, flexible, cost-effective and robust data management features. However, the past few years have seen marked growth in the migration of mission-critical applications to the cloud platform resulting in illegal data infiltration.
Cloud security has become a major discussion-pitch among the businessmen to save their important data and credentials from internal and external threats. A 2019 cloud security report revealed that unauthorized access (42%) and insecure interfaces (42%) rank number one as the biggest data security sabotage. The list is further followed by misconfiguration of the cloud platform (40%), and the hijacking of accounts (39%). Additionally, over 66% of users complain that traditional cloud security tools either don’t work or provide limited functionality and 17% confess that conventional tools are incompetent to work on the cloud. This simply implies that companies seek smarter and high-end cloud security solutions to protect their data from any kind of cyber theft or compromise. Below are the ways how cloud security providers are working vigorously to combat these complex and advanced threats.
What if a user misuses official data after the office hours for its personal use or some marketer poaches clients’ information to contact them for personal profit? Such mischief is data abuse.
- IT admin can restrict user access to business data via user interface or APIs.
- Browser control allows user or administrator to whitelist specific browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla, Safari, and Internet Explorer that are beneficial for the organization.
- Give limited access to users for accessing corporate data from unknown, external or unauthorized sources or devices.
- Cloud computing enables the user to confine employees to access corporate data during odd times like intervals or after office hours.
Two of the most exposed areas of systems are UIs (User Interfaces) and APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). It is important to safeguard both the interfaces from malicious and accidental cloud theft attempts.
- Implement two factors or multi-factor authentication for access to all cloud applications.
- Also known as Identity and Access Management (IAM), user access management ensures proper levels of authorization. This will allow each employee to access data required to perform its job.
- Irregularities in user activity can be detected if there is real-time monitoring. This can help you detect and implement remedial measures before the situation gets worst.
- A detailed plan can enable data retrieval with as little fuss as possible.
Misconfiguration of the Cloud Platform
A 2018 Computing Cloud Review conducted by Threat Stack revealed that over 73% of the companies are suffering from AWS cloud misconfiguration resulting in data breaching.
- Train IT staff about the settings and permissions of the cloud platform configuration.
- Cloud configuration needs regular care as it’s not a one time job. Check all the loopholes regularly by auditing local and cloud assets and unintentional misconfiguration of the cloud.
- Maintain security control by managing permissions and roles across the cloud network. Give limited access to individuals to strengthen security networks.
Hijacking of accounts of the cloud platform
No matter how much you try to keep your security passwords and logins safe, some hackers are really good to infiltrate cloud security resulting in phishing, software exploitation, data theft, and information manipulation.
- Give limited credentials and access to your employees/users.
- Encourage two-way authentication process.
- Keep regular track of your employees’ unauthorized activities.
External sharing of data
What if an insider shares account credentials to an external group or individual? External sharing of data will allow the hacker to reap profits by sabotaging your data and information. They can even steal clients’ credentials for their personal benefit.
- Secure your IP address.
- Share credentials to trustworthy users only.
- Encourage behavioural modelling and anomaly detection technology to detect unauthorized credential sharing on different platforms.
- Implement single sign-on for secure authentication.
While the concern is centred to internet-oriented threats, external attacks, and viruses, we often forget that insider threats caused by business partners, employees, interns and even customers equal destruction as external data attacks.
- Promote security policy clearly mentioning about the consequences of data misuse.
- Use strong multi-factor authentication and configuration for delicate systems and software.
- Investigate anomalous activities like logging in at odd hours or on weekends.
Malware like Trojans, Viruses, ransomware, and spyware are specifically designed with the intent to damage viable data, steal credentials and destroy systems.
- Avoid strange emails, luring pop-ups, fake profiles, and abrupt alerts.
- Cross-check the provider before downloading any file.
- Implement an ad-blocker for eliminating ‘malvertising’.
- Assure vulnerable hosts in public cloud environment.
Data has become the most fragile yet central asset to any business. The demand for public cloud continues to surge, security concerns reflect lesser signs of abating the threats. Hackers have become smarter with their sabotaging acts and tactics and are lurking to infiltrate from the ambiguities which are out of your imagination. Along with the aforementioned cloud security threats and their solutions, emphasize on developing an effective and robust plan for due diligence while selecting the cloud provider. Meanwhile, do not forget to adopt penetration testing, system updates and disaster recovery plans. Stay Alert!