Keeping track of the ever-changing world of cloud security is a full-time job—believe us, we know. And as more businesses move to private and public clouds, the risks have only gone up. The number of reported data breaches increased by 40% in 2016, and there was an average of 4,000 ransomware attacks every day.
It’s safe to say the threats are very, very real, but knowledge is power. Learning about the most ominous perils—and how to prevent them—is a crucial first step in creating a robust security plan. In that spirit, here’s a sampler platter of the security risks facing your cloud today.
Any time you put sensitive information in the cloud, you subject yourself—along with your customers, partners and employees—to potential data breaches. In a data breach, sensitive information like credit card numbers and company intellectual property is exposed, which can have far-reaching consequences. More specifically, data breaches frequently necessitate an embarrassing and potentially revenue-damaging public statement, followed by years of repairing your brand’s reputation. And you could face legal action, as well. Protect yourself from a breach by using encryption and multi-factor authentication for cloud-hosted data.
Permanent data loss
In some circumstances, permanent data loss can be just as damaging as a data breach. Natural disasters and technical failures are often the culprits, but there have also been reports of large-scale data center hacks causing losses. What’s more, accidents do happen, as development integration service GitLab learned when it unintentionally removed a whole database’s worth of client information. Although any company worth its salt will run backups, a technical failure meant thousands upon thousands of lines of GitLab’s code were forever lost in the digital ether. Don’t let this be you! Perform multiple cloud backups to keep yourself out of a sticky situation.
Imagine your site flooded with tons of fake visitors, bogging down your resources and rendering your services utterly useless. If you’ve ever lived through a denial-of-service (DoS) attack, you’ve experienced this firsthand. A DoS attack cripples your assets for an extended period of time, causing frustration to ripple through your internal team and customer base, and your only recourse is to wait it out. Your cloud storage provider probably has security practices in place to prevent these kinds of attacks, but you can give yourself extra protection by using a content delivery network (CDN) and a web application firewall (WAF).
We’d love to live in a world where every employee wholeheartedly and ethically gives themselves over to their company’s cause, but that’s just not how things are. Without proper access levels, criminally minded employees can exploit sensitive data for ill gains, while disgruntled ex-employees can wreak all sorts of havoc if their accounts aren’t properly disabled after they leave.
Hacked interfaces and APIs
Halloween may be over, but security threats from cloud applications and third-party APIs will chill your bones all year long. Applications that interact with hosted sites and servers are only as secure as the clouds they touch, and the fact that many services give third-party developers access to application APIs only serves to compound that vulnerability. If your company offers SaaS services and APIs, your development team should implement threat modeling applications and systems into the development lifecycle. Frequent code reviews aren’t a bad idea either, as these will help you spot security gaps before they become hacks.
Although the cloud can come with risks, staying away from it isn’t exactly an option—these days, not using some kind of cloud storage is kind of like not having an email address. So why not reduce those risks by hiring an IT consultant like MyITpros to review your cloud security and offer some protection pointers?