The more users entrust personal and professional data to cyberspace, the more criminals will target the cloud. Their methods evolve as quickly as the technology they seek to exploit.
The cloud is a vast virtual data storage platform that has radically changed the economics of computing, but it is not as far out of reach as its name implies. Just like a physical storage medium, the cloud is vulnerable to evermore industrious cybercriminals. Their exploitation of the framework’s weaknesses can spell disaster for unprepared individuals or entire corporations.
What are the biggest dangers and what steps can companies take to secure their cloud environment?
The current condition of the cloud
The numbers are huge. Over 3 billion people are accessing cloud-based computing services and while not all of them are business users, that demographic is rapidly on the rise. Although 66 percent of IT professionals surveyed in late 2017 by LogicMonitor identified security as the greatest impediment to moving to the cloud, the firm predicts 83 percent of enterprise workloads will be cloud-based by 2020. Moreover, just because a business does not directly store data on the cloud, does not mean that some aspect of its day-to-day operations won’t pass through it.
The world is at risk from cyber attacks – both tangibly and digitally – and cloud-based data has a big target on its back. The more users entrust personal and professional data to online storage, the more criminals will target the cloud. Their methods evolve as quickly as the technology they seek to exploit.
Cloud vulnerabilities to attack
Here are the cloud’s top five vulnerabilities:
- Data breaches – There have been over 9 billion instances of compromised data since 2013 at an average cost of $3.86 million per breach, according to IBM. The financial expense can be crippling, but the damage caused by a compromised reputation can be devastating.
- Inside agents – A large number of cyber attacks are inside jobs. The biggest threat isn’t always malicious agency, however. Human error can cause as much damage. An inattentive employee may leave a terminal open, a door ajar, or a password in plain sight, all of which could be capitalized on by criminals.
- Inefficient credential management – Simplistic and repeated passwords, poor physical security on the ground, insufficient assignment of high-level clearance – all of these are an open invitation to cybercrime.
- Loss of data – This can be caused by criminals or natural and man-made disasters, and it is usually disastrous itself. If a business isn’t backing up its data, one wipeout could be all it takes to close their doors.
- APTs – Advanced Persistent Threats were once the attack method of nations or large criminal organizations. Now, this mode of maliciously entering a system and remaining undetected for long periods of time is being used by smaller groups.
What companies can do to stay safe
The timeframe governing occurrence, discovery, and action of a security gap varies between models, but it’s safe to say that no response time can be too fast. There are several steps businesses can take to maximize data integrity and reduce the chances of a successful attack. A comprehensive risk assessment should be first on the list.
Next should be to draw up a security plan for your company because cloud security starts on the ground. A fresh look at your current approach will reveal any outdated or non-existent threat solutions. The second step is to critically appraise your current cloud security provider and if you don’t have one, get one!
Your choice of provider makes all the difference. The best companies will work with you to provide initial training, up-to-the-second information, and ongoing support.
Thirdly, it’s crucial to designate and authenticate all members of your staff regardless of duty. Those members with access to data and the cloud must be constantly identified and monitored. Multi-factor authentication before access to terminals or sensitive material is highly recommended.
Next, encryption of data at rest is every bit as important as when it’s in transit. Too many businesses make the error of presuming there’s only a threat when data is traveling between two points. Businesses should always ensure their data is being backed up, but also be aware that this can pose its own threat. If cloud data is lost, a back-up restores operations. If that data is deliberately and positively deleted by a business or stolen, they should make sure it can’t be retrieved and exploited.
An important further resource
We recommend all businesses review this resource from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. It will educate you on core security competencies on which you can build a culture of security awareness. The Cloud Security Alliance offers a global security community that businesses can join and benefit from through education, research, and certification.
Peace of mind is priceless. It pays to know that in a world under constant threat, you’re operating a full security suite that takes care of the technology, policies, and procedures your organization needs.
Over 35 million businesses have closed their doors because of a data loss event. You don’t have to be one of them. Absolute Logic specializes in securing our clients’ interests in a dynamic cyber threat landscape. We offer solutions against malware and ransomware alongside behavior-based threat detection. To learn more just call 844-315-9822.