Majority of the organisations are expanding their network and accelerating their adoption of the cloud. Organisations continue to build new cloud-based applications or migrate current ones. This is because Cloud allows for pervasive, convenient, and on-demand network access to a shared pool of programmable computer resources. According to new Confluera research, the majority of enterprises are speeding up their cloud adoption, with 97 percent of IT leaders admitting that their plan includes expanding cloud installations. In today’s cloud world, the report looks at how IT leaders discover, evaluate, and respond to cybersecurity threats.
Although there are numerous advantages of using Cloud, there are also some major concerns. Security is one of the biggest impediments to the adoption of the cloud, followed by concerns about compliance, privacy, and legal challenges.
Understanding the Cloud Vulnerabilities
Organisations should be aware that the security vulnerabilities associated with cloud migration are constantly evolving. Adopting cloud technology or choosing cloud service providers (CSP)s and applications without understanding the risks involved exposes an organisation to a slew of financial, technical, legal, and compliance risks. Apart from these, it is important that enterprises consider other challenges and risks associated with cloud adoption specific to their processes, systems, data and the ones listed above are far from exhaustive.
A company’s cloud journey will be fraught with dangers; all it takes is for them to recognise the risks. The security hazards of cloud computing differ slightly depending on the delivery model, even though most of the hazards apply to all cloud solutions. By taking the time to identify and assess these risks, businesses can ensure that they have the right processes and tools in place to minimise them.
Here are five notable threats, risks, and vulnerabilities in cloud environments:
Data Breaches & Loss: Data breaches are one of the most significant security dangers of cloud computing, with costly ramifications for businesses of all sizes and industries. A data breach may occur when a security breach allows unauthorised access to sensitive information. The other most likely possibility is critical cloud resources would be irreparably corrupted. If you don’t back up your most crucial data, it’s always a possibility that it will be lost. Many significant, high-profile data breaches are caused by preventable cloud security vulnerabilities.
A potential Insider Threat: Insiders do not have to be malicious to be a security threat. Insiders do not need to break through firewalls, virtual private networks (VPNs), and other security defences as they are on a trusted level, due to which, they can access networks, computer systems, and sensitive data directly. If organisations don’t think carefully about their cloud governance model, their own employees can inadvertently put them at risk.
Misconfiguration & Poor Access Management: When computing assets are set up incorrectly, they become vulnerable to malevolent activity, which is referred to as misconfiguration. Unsecured data storage elements, excessive permissions, unchanged default credentials and configuration settings, standard security controls left disabled, unencrypted systems, and unrestricted access to ports and services are all examples of misconfiguration. Organisations today are adopting the cloud without a comprehensive plan that integrates their identity access management (IAM) programme with their cloud environment.
A Lack of secure cloud architecture and strategy: It’s a fallacy to assume that organisations can simply “lift and transfer” their existing internal IT stack and security measures to the cloud. Moving, implementing, and operating in the cloud safely requires the right security architecture and strategy. However, if the cloud-based infrastructure interfaces are not properly secured, this can lead to problems.
Insecure Interfaces/APIs: Organisations and clients are frequently provided with a variety of application programming interfaces (APIs) and interfaces by CSPs. These APIs are well-documented in general to make them as easy to use as feasible for CSP clients. If the API is configured incorrectly, it can expose the organisational data to vulnerabilities that will provide anonymous access without authentication which will eventually lead to potential cyberattacks.
Factors to consider when choosing Cloud Services
Organisations should investigate cloud access and entitlement management systems that enable visibility across all cloud resources as well as uniform enforcement and management of access controls to protect against the security threats of cloud computing. Furthermore, organisations need to consider implementing a cloud governance framework. It is a set of rules and policies that run services in the cloud. The purpose of cloud governance is to improve data security, control risk, and ensure that cloud systems run smoothly.
Cloud governance incorporates cloud access and entitlement management into their overall identity management model. Organisations may use their existing identity procedures, workflows, sign-offs, and reporting for their cloud environments by implementing this identity-centric approach to cloud governance, simplifying administration, strengthening security, and facilitating compliance. Some more integration to manage cloud security:
Firewalls: Firewalls guard the perimeter of a company’s network security as well as its users. Firewalls help keep traffic between cloud-based apps safe. They act as initial shields against potential attacks.
Identity and access management (IAM): Enterprises can deploy policy-driven enforcement processes for all users attempting to access both on-premises and cloud-based services using IAM tools and services. Its primary function is to create digital identities for all users so that they may be actively monitored and limited as needed during all data transactions.
Data loss prevention (DLP): DLP services provide a range of tools and services that are designed to keep regulated cloud data secure. DLP systems secure all stored data, whether at rest or in motion, using a combination of remediation alerts, data encryption, and other preventative measures.
Intrusion Management: The advent of virtualisation and enormous multi-tenancy is creating new targets for intrusions, posing many problems about how to implement the same protection in cloud environments. Intrusion management is the process of monitoring and responding to statistically unpredictable events using pattern recognition. This could include real-time reconfiguration of system components to stop or prevent an intrusion.
Security Information and Event Management system: A SIEM gathers and analyzes data from a variety of event sources, such as host systems, networks, firewalls, and antivirus security devices, across an organisation’s IT and security architecture. It analyses data collected across endpoint, network, and cloud assets using security rules and advanced analytics to uncover potential security vulnerabilities within an organisation. They’re powerful tools that provide security management specialists with both real-time visibility and a historical record of relevant events in their IT environment.
Since Cloud solutions leverage many technologies, it also inherits their security issues. Understanding the vulnerabilities in cloud computing will assist businesses in making the transition to the cloud. Cloud services definitely have numerous advantages, and the future appears to be bright as well. On the other hand, organisations face multiple risks and challenges. This is why, if an organisation plans to migrate their workload to the cloud, they should be aware of the issues that may occur. It will assist them in planning and tackling those challenges without being blindsided. They can not only eliminate those problems but also ensure a smooth transition to the cloud.
(The author is Mr. Nikhil Korgaonkar, Regional Director, Arcserve India & SAARC and the views expressed in this article are his own)