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Increase in Cloud Services and Cloud Security Threats
2020 can be known as the year digital transformation truly penetrated global industries. According to a McKinsey survey, digital transformation initiatives accelerated by seven years in 2020. Robust cloud infrastructure that is at the center of digital transformation has helped organizations as they moved to remote setup. Simply put, cloud computing has been truly beneficial in reducing the costs of operation, increasing speed, scalability, and facilitating ease of use. However, it also comes with its set of complexities, security vulnerabilities and risks.
Cloud Computing and Emerging Security Issues
Broadly, there are three types of cloud — public, private, and hybrid. These cloud services are offered by cloud computing companies in various service models such as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). The guaranteed seamless setup process has encouraged businesses to increasingly move to the cloud. Gartner predicts that worldwide public cloud services will reach USD 805.5 billion in 2025.
Various security issues in cloud computing can compromise stored data and make it more vulnerable to attacks. In contrast to an on-premise environment, cloud adoption adds newer complexities as more organizations move to the cloud, security threats increase. This is especially true for multi-cloud environments. With multiple users having access to data, it makes it more susceptible to attacks, as multi-user means multi-access. The top five emerging cloud security threats include data breaches, misconfigured cloud services, poor access management, malware infection, and API vulnerabilities.
Data Breaches are one of the biggest security threats in cloud computing. Hackers look for a loophole in the security defenses and enter the system through a connected device or cloud service to gain access. The healthcare and medical device industry which stores patient data is one of the highly attacked industries. Other sectors which use the cloud and store highly sensitive data include banking and financial services, government agencies, and e-commerce portals, are also heavily targeted for cyberattacks.
Misconfigured Cloud Services have been on the rise. As per 2022 Cloud Security Report by Check Point Software Technologies, 27% of organizations have been victims of misconfiguration. Some common examples include insufficient access restrictions, permissive storage policies, exposure of unencrypted data to the public, and using open repositories for storing passwords. Misconfiguration is a major security threat as it is one of the easiest ways for cybercriminals to take advantage of by instigating a ransomware attack on the system.
Poor Access Management was the root cause for a security breach at one of the largest oil and gas companies in the US in 2021. Improper Identity and Access Management (IAM) issues can be due to multiple administrator accounts, inactive assigned users, or even weak passwords. With the cloud storing all sensitive information, granting access to everyone or not having a hierarchy for permission can increase the chances of compromise during a cyberattack.
Data Loss is a growing security threat. There could be many reasons such as viruses, system failures, or improper backup protocols. Data loss can create irreparable damage to the business as it can disrupt workflow, affect customer services, or even compromise client security.
Data Privacy in the Cloud
The rise in the use of the cloud to store data raises the question of privacy. The healthcare industry stores patient information to offer quality medical care to patients. Banks also have access to customer information to serve them better. While all of this from a service point of view has its advantages, it also has its own drawbacks from a privacy standpoint. To mitigate this issue, governments globally have set up various laws and regulatory bodies that help govern and protect privileged information. Some of the most known regulations are The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), The HIPAA Privacy Rule, and The Indian Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill. While these regulations are in place, it is the responsibility of the business to strategize its own security measures to protect the data for the sake of the business and the customer.
Mitigating these Challenges
Gartner’s 2021 Hype Cycle for Cloud Security report predicts that 99% of cloud breaches will be due to preventable misconfigurations by end-users. There are three major components of cloud security — infrastructure, people, and data. Each of these components has a set of measures that need to be deployed to keep the data secure. While having a strong security strategy is imperative, there are a few preventive steps organizations can take. Some of them are —
- Create easily accessible backups in different servers to contain a data breach
- Enable multi-factor authentication to confirm a user’s identity, to add an extra layer of security
- Schedule period reviews of cloud configurations and access privileges to avoid authorization gaps
- Conduct penetration testing to identify security gaps that need immediate attention
GAVS for Cybersecurity and Data Privacy
GAVS offers end-to-end cybersecurity services to help businesses manage risk and build an effective cybersecurity program. Focused on people, processes, and platforms, our solutions cater to the full suite of organizational cybersecurity needs. Our data privacy services and solutions are designed to help organizations protect their information over the entire data lifecycle – from acquisition to disposal.
Please visit https://www.gavstech.com/service/security-services/ and
https://gavstech.com/service/data-privacy-services/ to learn more about our offerings.