Top 5 Cloud Security Challenges and Risks

Over the past couple of years, we have witnessed the cloud technology expose itself in many useful forms. It is powerful, effective and most importantly offers even the smallest enterprises advantages they might have not fathomed possible before.

In the traditional world, IT professionals had more control over the network and propriety data of an organization, with the success of cloud computing more and more people are beginning to trust and relinquish more of their data to the server.

All that being said, like it is with all modern technology and solutions cloud computing comes with its own set of challenges, most of which are security related.

There is a way to be able to reap the benefits of cloud technology and at the same time ensure that your data remains in a safe environment. The first and most crucial step towards this is recognizing the cloud security challenges and risks. Here are some of the key ones.

Little Control and Visibility

Not being able to see the service you have chosen and their processes, also the lack of control that you were enjoying when you had a team backing your internal servers can become an issue. Third party cloud providers do not offer their clients the granularity they might want when it comes to management and administration.

The cons of not having the visibility that businesses previously often relied on include not being able to identify potential risks and incoming threats regarding data security. In a lot of sectors, it is estimated that cloud adoption goes down to as much as 17 percent only. This is a very popular factor for being the number one reason for said lack of control as well as visibility.

Complexity with Compliance

Most entities and organizations often forget that cloud security links to a lot of legislative work, especially when it comes to industries such as the finance and healthcare sectors. Not only are there strict regulations, but the compliance rules make up detail oriented processes and complex requirements. This makes it harder to choose a cloud vendor and keep up with the constantly updated compliances for data.

Most businesses simply pay extra to have a vendor on board who is certified and can reliably take care of all compliances. However, this means that a business places all their trust in the efforts of the vendor, a misstep by the vendor and it is the client’s data at risk.

In most places, a statement of compliance is all you need to qualify as a reliable cloud vendor. In fact, this lack of transparency runs so deep that no vendor will ever provide you full descriptions of exactly how the service works, or how they use their platform. This is one major reason why businesses find it so hard to evaluate while informed about whether their data is properly secured at all times or not.

Downtime and Data Breaches

It is generally believed that legacy architecture cloud services are not as good as enterprise-grade service providers, there is a definite possibility of downtime in both. The most frustrating problem here is knowing that these breaches or downtime are entirely in the hands of the third party to solve. Even with a costly settlement post-breach, is losing your data really worth risking your reputation to your customers?

On top of that, a business may be given notice of downtime any time and it is very little or nothing that they can do about it, they must then shift their processes to align with the downtime that the vendor has communicated. The same is the case when it comes to a breach, although more immediate and alarming. One study showed how much the cost of data breaches amounts to really. Globally it goes as high as 3.62 million USD.

Interfaces and APIs that Are Not Secure

Cloud vendors work by providing their clients with a whole variety of APIs, which is Application Programming Interfaces, which are helpful in allowing the clients to be able to manage the cloud service they have subscribed to.

The downside to this is that not all APIs are secure. A lot of them are proven to be so in the beginning, but end up being insecure in some form. When the client builds its own application on top of the API, this problem multiplies as now the vulnerability has transferred to the customer’s handheld smartphone via the application. The same can be the case with an internal employee application.

External Issues

We explored a number of risks that stem from internal factors. Similarly, there are a plethora of security issues that come from external sources. Some of these include:

  • A third party is involved to relay the data, if this is the sort of process you opt for you are risking your data to be altered before it finally reaches you.
  • A DDoS attack is a common vulnerability where a resource is purposefully pushed to go offline due to heavy flooding of traffic.
  • Service hijacking is very real and very common where an intruder has access to your secure data via a breach from some other shared device or entity that employs the same vendor as you do.

However, with the right sources and partners, an organization can leverage the benefits of cloud security.

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