In recent years, the cloud has become an integral part of data storage for businesses everywhere. It’s a cost-effective and efficient means for solving IT challenges, yet the cloud is not without risks. Below are some of the most significant risks facing cloud users in 2013.
1. Shared technology vulnerabilities
In a cloud, a vulnerability for one is a vulnerability for all. Any shared technology that is compromised leaves any data stored in the cloud open to attack. To overcome this problem, the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) recommends that all cloud delivery systems have sophisticated defensive strategies and monitoring systems in place.
2. Insufficient due diligence
Because of the attractive benefits cloud computing has to offer, companies often rush into implementation without learning enough about the cloud environment. Before companies embark on their migration, they should do as much research as possible to minimize their risks.
3. Abuse of cloud services
Hackers are always a threat, but one with a cloud server on his side is an even bigger problem. Attackers have been able to use cloud computing to distribute pirated software, send viruses and other malware or even crack through encryption to access privileged information.
4. Malicious insiders
Your data is only as secure as the service provider you choose. When service providers employ disgruntled or malicious individuals, an inside job can compromise data and bring companies to their knees.
5. Denial of service
If a server isn’t secure, malicious hackers can weaken or disable the service, which prevents users from being able to access their data and other resources.
6. Insecure APIs
Application programming interfaces (APIs) are a necessity for smooth operations in the cloud, but they can also present a security problem. Developers must be able to prevent weaknesses in APIs through careful design and solid security measures.
7. Account or service traffic hijacking
Even before the cloud, hackers were able to use phishing to steal a user’s credentials and break into private accounts. When hackers use this same strategy in the cloud, they can gain access to even more privileged information and redirect users to fraudulent websites.
8. Data loss
If a cloud provider hasn’t got sufficient backups in place, a mistake can easily erase all a company’s important data and applications. Making sure a provider offers cloud backup services is a crucial step to take when choosing a host company.
9. Data breaches
Cloud infrastructures that aren’t designed properly may allow for data breaches, in which unauthorized users gain access to a company’s sensitive data.
Although the risks mentioned here are significant, most can be avoided through carefully selecting the right cloud provider. Most of the serious risks result from low-quality cloud hosts without sufficient security. Before migrating your company’s data into the cloud, find a provider that offers multiple security controls, strong data encryption and a solid infrastructure that’s unlikely to be breached. Also, don’t utilize cloud services without backing up your data on a regular basis. Finally, before you agree to use the services of any cloud provider, take some time to research the provider’s service history. Read reviews from previous customers, learn about prior security breaches and make sure the company doesn’t have a history of insider security problems or long periods of downtime.