What Are The Security Risks Of Cloud Computing?
The cloud is considered one of the most revolutionary and disruptive innovations. Businesses are flocking to the cloud as a means of cost-cutting, streamlining operations, and using emerging technologies that can accelerate digital transformation. However, there are also risks associated with adopting cloud computing. Suppose you’re considering implementing the cloud in your business. In that case, you must understand the potential pitfalls of making an informed decision rather than jumping at the first opportunity to get value. This article will help you understand the risks and benefits of adopting cloud computing in your business and some best practices for protecting your data security.
Security risks of cloud computing
Identity and Access Management (IAM)
The first and most common security risk with cloud computing is identity and access management (IAM). IAM refers to the processes necessary to ensure that developers, users, administrators, and other authorized individuals can access a service in the cloud. Without proper IAM, malicious people can gain unauthorized access to sensitive information or take advantage of applications using the cloud infrastructure. It’s important to implement strong authentication methods like two-factor authentication to deal with this risk. These methods provide an extra layer of security while making it easy for you to quickly add new users or remove old ones. It’s also important to perform regular audits on your IAM policies to identify any potential weak points in your process.
Lack Of Data Sovereignty
Cloud computing relies on the quality of the data center in which your data is stored. If you use a provider like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), or Microsoft Azure, you rely on their infrastructure to keep your data safe and secure. This means that even though you retain ownership of your data, someone else has control over it.
There are also jurisdiction factors to consider. For example, your data will be subject to US law and jurisdiction if you host in the US. US authorities can obtain access to your data without a warrant and could potentially seize it or remove it from your control, which would be disastrous for businesses, especially as they may not have a backup copy of their database. They may even be able to take the data and not give it back if they decide that they don’t want you using their services anymore.
This is one of the reasons why many companies prefer on-premise solutions over cloud-based solutions. There is more control over the data and where it is stored in on-premise solutions.
Problems With Privacy And Anonymity
Most people are familiar with cloud computing, but few realize how hackers can exploit its weaknesses for nefarious purposes. When you store data in the cloud, your information is available to anyone who has access to it. Such a situation can be a huge concern for cloud users, and it’s easy to see why. If you’re storing sensitive data, you want to ensure that it’s secure before uploading it to the cloud.
In addition, because cloud providers are often based in different countries, your data may be stored on a server in another country without your knowledge. If someone wanted to get their hands on sensitive information stored in the cloud, they could do so without you ever knowing.
You Can Never Completely Delete Your Data
cloud data is never completely deleted. Even if you delete your cloud data, it can still be recovered by the cloud service provider. This is because the cloud service provider has the technology to recover and restore your data. Since our data is spread across different servers, there is a chance that some of your data could still be available for recovery.
Your Data Could Be Stolen During Hacker Activity
While some cloud providers offer high-security levels, others do not take security seriously enough and fail to implement the right measures in their facilities and practices. Some providers may even have outdated software or configurations that open up potential vulnerabilities in their systems and networks, allowing hackers access to them with minimal effort — potentially putting your organization’s sensitive information at risk.
A highly publicized case in early 2009 involved Google Docs being attacked by a third-party attacker who was able to access user information because Google failed to put proper safeguards in place on its servers (Source). Even though Google quickly fixed the security issue once it was made aware of it, this case illustrates how even the most secure cloud services can be compromised by outside attackers who find vulnerabilities within their systems.
Another example is when a former employee of a popular cloud storage provider was arrested for hacking into his former company’s servers and stealing user information (see here). In this case, the former employee could access the servers because her company did not have adequate security measures to prevent his access.
Your Cloud Provider Could Be Acquired By Another Organization Or Go Out Of Business.
If your cloud provider is acquired by another organization or goes out of business, your data may suddenly become inaccessible. This scenario is more likely if you are using a smaller, less well-known cloud provider than one of the larger, more established players in the market like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform.
Cloud service providers can complicate data migration
if you decide to move your business to another company, you will need to transfer all of your data from one provider’s storage space. The process of migrating large amounts of data from one server to another has the potential for serious security issues. For example, it is not uncommon for files to get corrupted during migration. In addition, it is very easy for users or administrators to make mistakes that could result in your data being permanently lost.
Due to these challenges, you could be locked into using one particular platform/service — even if it ceases to meet your needs or becomes obsolete — because it is difficult to move your data elsewhere.
Many organizations that have adopted cloud-based solutions have found themselves locked into using certain platforms and services even when they no longer meet their needs or become obsolete due to changes in technology and market conditions. As some providers offer only limited ways for customers to move their data off their platforms and onto other ones, it can be difficult for businesses to leave behind their existing providers without significant effort and expense.
Best Practices for Implementing Cloud Computing in Business
If you’re interested in exploring the potential benefits of adopting cloud computing, you must approach the implementation with a clear plan. You may be tempted to rush into the implementation phase, but this will likely result in a suboptimal outcome. It’s important to take a step back and adopt a highly focused strategy on the security of your data.
Here are some best practices you can adopt to help protect your organization’s data security as you move to the cloud:
1. Implement Data Loss Prevention (DLP) measures
Data loss protection is an important security measure to prevent the unauthorized transfer, storage, or access of sensitive information. DLP solutions can be implemented in-house by IT departments or through cloud services. DLP solutions are most commonly used to prevent data loss in cloud service providers and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.
Encryption is the process of encoding information using an algorithm to make it unreadable without special knowledge (a key). Encryption is a standard security measure that protects information by making it unreadable without a special key. It is good to encrypt all sensitive data before sending it across the network, whether over the public or within your network. Encryption occurs at the application layer, so you don’t have to worry about encrypting your data at rest (for example, on disk) or in transit (over the Internet). You should always use encryption when storing your data outside your organization’s physical premises and transferring data over public networks such as the Internet.
2. Choose what to store in the cloud.
It would be best to be careful about how much information about yourself you provide to the cloud — especially when it comes to sensitive personal information. If someone knows too much about who you are and where you live, that person can easily steal this information and use it in a way that hurts your business or personal life.
3. Additional security tips for using cloud computing:
- Ensure that your cloud adoption readiness is in place and select an appropriate cloud provider with appropriate cloud services.
- Implement a data lifecycle management strategy.
- Have a security monitoring and risk management strategy built-in with business continuity readiness
Final Words: Your Data Is Safest In Your Hands But If You Must Use Cloud, Have A Plan.
The increased use of cloud computing has also seen a rise in security risks. One example is that many organizations use the cloud without understanding what they are getting themselves into. Many companies choose to use the cloud for their business because it offers a wide range of benefits, but not thinking about the risks and ensuring that your company has taken all necessary precautions can quickly lead to disaster. Cloud providers often have similar security measures, but you need to be vigilant and ensure that your company is doing everything it can to keep these risks at bay.