Biggest Security Issues In Cloud Computing
Causes, effects, and potential damages that lack of security brings in cloud computing
Cloud computing has given consumers invaluable opportunities for taking advantage of flexible and cost-effective IT services. The importance of the cloud is definitely not decreasing, and instead, more and more companies look for cloud solutions that will take over their computing requirements and release them from heavy on-premise installations. A number of technologies and concepts such as SOA (Service Oriented Architecture), Web 2.0, and virtualization offer numerous possibilities for companies that want to migrate to the cloud but also concerns in regards to security or potential data breaches. In fact, a study conducted last year included 400 000 cybersecurity professionals that confirmed moderate or extreme concerns about cloud security in overwhelming 93% of responses while 28% experienced a public cloud related incident in 12 months.
That said, we will focus on the most prominent cloud security issues that professionals can learn from and evaluate their own cloud management processes.
1. Unauthorized access brings multiple consequences
95% of cloud security failures in the year 2020 will be ‘the customer’s fault,’ according to Gartner. Security concerns such as unauthorized access through missuses of credentials put companies at considerable risk of employees’ login through their private mobile phones, computers, or tablets. External threats, in this case, are higher, especially with the rise of phishing attacks, social engineering, and password thefts. Strong and secure password policies are a must-have in our digitally driven world, and companies need to adopt stronger measures and rotate the passwords periodically in order to avoid any unauthorized access. Human errors are common, but sometimes they need to be completely eliminated to prevent very expensive and dangerous threats.
2. System vulnerabilities can enable breaches in cloud infrastructure
Complex networks, multiple third-party platforms, and other components supporting the cloud are necessary. But the issues arise, for example, when potential loopholes enable hackers to breach the infrastructure. Luckily, there are security suites, communities of developers, tools, and resources to help companies in securing the cloud at a system level. As more organizations demand Internet access to their data, solutions such as online business intelligence secure access to data on-the-go, through web browsers, apps, mobile devices, or tablets. Although system vulnerabilities are still present and will be present in the future, providers are continuously working to close the loopholes and discourage any potential attack and we can expect that more security measures will be available in the future.
3. Compliance regulations are causing regular headaches
Professionals working in the cloud computing industry need to respect various industry standards and regulations. From the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) to the CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act), and PIPEDA (Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act), depending on the industry, cloud professionals certainly have experienced some headaches when dealing with compliance regulations and requirements of each. While this is not a security issue per se, it can cause serious damages to companies that don’t comply with set regulations, including heavy penalties and damages to the brand image itself. Juggling through different regulations requires time and effort, but the results are worth investing into.
4. Misconfiguration of the cloud platform can bring confidential files into the public
You’ve probably heard of the classified NSA material that has reached public view after a misconfigured AWS server. Confidential content was publicly available by a simple, yet heavy mistake and Pentagon was soon notified by the researcher who discovered it. Needless to say, the misconfiguration caused quite a scandal. The document contained information about “Red Disk,” a project that would enable soldiers to log into laptops and view drone footage, intercepted messages, satellite images, and other confidential files and reports. Luckily, the Red Disk system was never deployed due to technical issues but the damages could have been enormous.
5. Lack of staff and skills can cost companies millions
It’s a general fact that companies throughout the world face skills shortage across a range of IT specialties and cloud computing professionals are not exempt. In fact, the cybersecurity workers’ skills gap is estimated at 3 million workers, making the challenges of employing such professionals even harder. What companies can do in these cases is to level-up their HR management processes and offer better incentives, regularly track employee satisfaction levels, and make sure that competitors can’t offer better workplace conditions and salaries. While this point isn’t directly connected to a specific security issue, it certainly proves how professionals in the cloud industry are invaluable for companies that need to secure their cloud management operations.