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5 Common Cloud Security Threats and How to Mitigate Them

Cloud Computing is on the rise and so does the risk of cloud security. The increased use of cloud services has been spurred due to the borderless work world and remote work possibilities. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has also increased the number of people working from home and accessing information from cloud services. This puts the whole network on the verge of vulnerability and data breaches. 

From one report on cloud security in 2020, respondents were asked whether public cloud apps are more secure than on-premises applications.

Cloud computing has provided businesses with the option to scale up the organization and introduce flexibility. But at the same time, it has exposed networks to increased data breaches and attacks. The attack on the network can result in a potential loss of information, time, and money. Hence, prevention is always better in this case. 

Cloud Security Report Results on Security of Applications on Cloud

27% of respondents said that cloud apps are lesser secure than on-premises ones. 45% of respondents said that the level of security is the same for both, online and on-premises applications. This shows that there is still a requirement for the reduction of cloud system threats. Here are the 5 common cloud security threats and the techniques to mitigate them.

1. Cloud Misconfiguration

Most of the companies and businesses, around three-quarters of them, are undergoing some kind of cloud misconfiguration. This misconfiguration comes in several forms and most of the time results from a lack of security awareness and insider threats. Some of the examples of misconfigured cloud security settings include:

  • Weak default passwords
  • Wrongly managed permission controls
  • Inactive data encryption
  • Inadequate access restriction

The cloud misconfiguration and associated vulnerabilities also result from the usage of add-ins, plug-ins, or changes in security settings as personalization. The changes in the settings put the system to configuration drift, security problems, availability problems, and management problems.

How to Resolve: 

The cloud misconfiguration can be resolved using the tips below:

  • Learn all the concepts of cloud services and settings. The user should have knowledge of permissions and the advantages of integrated services.
  • Change default passwords and permission and set up multi-factor authentication to put an extra layer of security before authorizing usage.
  • The audits of the cloud system and assets are important. The security assessment and audits help to identify potential weak areas of the network from which information can be breached.
  • The usage of the right mixture of security service providers helps mitigate the potential threats by proper audits and assessments.

2. Unauthorized Data Access

Unauthorized access to data is the biggest and most common risk for cloud security systems. The unauthorized data access is defined as:

 “the access of enterprise data, networks, devices, endpoints and application without having proper permission.” 

The unauthorized access to data can be attributed to two main factors: improper access controls and usage of employee credentials. The improper access controls can be resolved using access management policies and security solutions. There are security solutions that are targeted towards blocking access controls based on parameters like the user’s IP address, geographical location, and many others. These solutions are also instrumental in tracking, reporting application access, monitoring, and enterprise compliance with data security regulations.

How to Resolve: 

The methods to resolve the unauthorized Data Access are:

  • All the users must be added and connected to a data governance framework like Active Directory. This central directory should be able to monitor and revoke access privileges in a time of need.
  • Using third-party software and solutions, the networks should be tracking the important parameters of their users like IP address, geographical locations.
  • The continuous monitoring and logging of users, privileges, and groups should be done. The unauthorized usage and unusual activity should be monitored.

3. Distributed Denial of Services (DDoS) Attack

Distributed Denial of Services can be defined as:

The denying of access of legitimate users to online services by flooding them with a malicious connection request.”

This is one of the most common attacks on networks and cloud systems. This reduces access to online services, wastes time and resources, and decreases the productivity of the teams working in your company.

How to Resolve:

The DDoS attack can be resolved using the tips below:

  • The bandwidth size greatly affects the impact of the DDoS attack. The more the bandwidth is, the more hackers must do to flood the connection.
  • Audit and assess the system to scan the system and find vulnerabilities with web application scanning tools to find vulnerabilities. 
  • Configure Web Application Firewall to filter out the malicious IPs from your network. WAF firewall can also be configured with custom rules to monitor the traffic on your network.

4. Data Leaks and Data Breaches

The loss of critical and essential data and information from the system, either unintentionally or intentionally, cause the biggest threat to organizations and businesses using cloud services. The main advantage of cloud computing services like Azure is the ability to work from any device and personal computers. But this advantage can be critical if proper security protocols are not complied with on users’ systems. Data access from cloud storage like OneDrive and Dropbox using personal devices can result in risks and information leakage. Similarly, data stored on plain text files can be breached by attackers easily. So, the protection of data and associated devices is important to prevent data leaks.

How to Resolve: 

The data breaches and leaks can be prevented using the techniques below:

  • Using Data Encryption instead of storing data on ordinary file formats helps save sensitive data to be leaked by hackers.
  • Changing and Modifying credentials like passwords help reduce the chances the data breaches and leaks. Also, the management of password storage in a safe place is critical.
  • Assessing the permissions and controls of your system users is essential. This helps in preventing unauthorized access to sensitive data within the organization.

5. Insecure API

The application programming interface or API for short, has proven to be advantageous for the businesses and users but puts a great strain on the security teams of your organization. These APIs have proven to streamline the cloud computing processes but in this process of streamlining, there are potential weak areas that, if left unsecured, can allow the hackers to exploit the private details. 

How to Resolve: 

The tips and techniques to improve the security of API are:

  • Comprehensive measures to ensure the security of APIs by designing them with signatures, encryption, tokens, quotas, and API gateways. 
  • Usage of Web Application Firewalls helps alleviate the exploitation due to vulnerabilities in the API design.
  • This standard API framework provides the basis for the integration of third-party applications in organizations’ cloud systems. Using the standard API framework helps in the selection of API which is designed according to the set goals of security in mind. 

Final Words

Cloud computing has provided businesses with the option to scale up the organization and introduce flexibility. But at the same time, it has exposed networks to increased data breaches and attacks. The attack on the network can result in a potential loss of information, time, and money. Hence, prevention is always better in this case. 

Rogue Logics provides in-depth security services for the assessment and protection of your application, data, and infrastructure against potential threats on-prem or in the cloud. 

Want a consultation with the professionals at Rogue Logics, contact us and get a free quote.

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