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Top 8 Security Concerns in Cloud Computing in 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way many companies are running their businesses. A series of new challenges have impacted every industry in their own unique ways.

One unifying consideration is that many companies have elected to allow their employees to work remotely. The inability to work alongside coworkers has led to the integration of a new technologies.

Cloud computing has seen a rise in usage as a result of the increased tendency for employees to work remotely.

This is due to the ease of use and collaboration opportunities afforded by cloud computing. Many companies host their servers online and make use of cloud platforms like Salesforce.

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And while these platforms themselves are secure, there are a lot of user habits that compromise the overall security of them. In fact, 70% of companies storing data in the public cloud are hacked.

Data breaches are a constant concern for any business connected to the internet. Cloud computing, however, has been associated with breaches in some of the largest companies including Microsoft, Apple, Dropbox, and more.

Top-tier companies experiencing issues with cloud computing should be a sign that everybody needs to take security concerns seriously. Awareness of potential issues will help you better guard against them.

1. Unauthorized Access

Cloud computing is very useful for its ability to provide access to all of your team members through a simple internet connection. However, this is also why it can be a liability because people from outside your company can also access the entry points.

Methods for hacking through login screens continues to evolve.

Compromised credentials and improperly managed settings can allow cybercriminals into your system.

On-premises servers provide extra layers of security that simply aren’t possible in the cloud. Fortifying these barriers is the first step to achieving system security.

2. Misconfigured Security Settings

There is a lot of room for customization in your cloud security settings. This can be a great asset when used correctly. However, it can also be a liability when the settings aren’t properly configured.

According to Divvycloud:

“…nearly 33.4 billion records were exposed in breaches due to cloud misconfigurations in 2018 and 2019, amounting to nearly $5 trillion in costs to enterprises globally.”

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Misconfigured security settings for your cloud computing system leaves your data unsecured.

Whether these settings relate to your system as a whole or maybe just your storage, you need to be sure they are set up properly. Working with a professional to store and secure your cloud-based system is the best way to ensure everything is adequately set up.

3. Insecure APIs

Application User Interfaces (APIs) are a means of interacting with the cloud computing system, either on the part of your team or the cloud service provider itself. They also help users to customize their cloud computing system.

These tools are widely-used and are unfortunately prone to security vulnerabilities. For example, Facebook revealed they had stored user passwords in plaintext, which opened them up to be read by individuals within the organization.

This was done with the help of an API.

Cloud storage providers should be vetted thoroughly and willing to provide reports of the number of attacks on the system, both successful and unsuccessful.

4. Data Breaches

Data is constantly in flow between users and the cloud-based system. This transfer of information creates opportunities for cybercriminals to intercept it.

The vulnerability doesn’t necessarily need to be large in order for it to be exploited. All a cybercriminal needs is access to your system to steal or corrupt your information.

One of the more well-known examples of this is when Equifax was hacked and the personal information of millions of people was compromised. Hackers worked their way through a consumer complaint portal before moving through numerous sections of their system.

5. Data Leaks

Cloud-based computing systems make it very easy for one member of your organization to share information with another member. This asset also creates a vulnerability because it’s just as easy to share the information with people that shouldn’t have it.

This can be done accidentally or intentionally, but it’s potentially damaging either way.

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Your data can be shared with direct links. Entire repositories can also be made public. Cybercriminals have tools that alert them to unsecured cloud systems.

Sharing sensitive information with the general internet can be a huge problem for a company, particularly if they are dealing with the personally identifiable information of their employees or customers.

6. Malware

A malware attack involves cybercriminals uploading their own code or scripts into your cloud servers. These functions infect your system and run just as any other valid software would run.

The effects of this will vary in every instance, but malware often allows hackers access to your system.

They can use this to monitor your company’s actions, access and steal files, or otherwise compromise important data.

Malware can be injected into your system through a variety of security vulnerabilities including phishing, poor configurations, and access control weaknesses.

7. Denial of Service Attacks

A denial of service (DoS) attack doesn’t aim to access your sensitive information—the goal is to create a situation where your system is unavailable to the users that need it. This can be performed by triggering a crash or sending so much traffic to the system that it becomes overwhelmed.

DoS attacks are meant to essentially vandalize a cloud service—making it unusable and costing the target company money.

These attacks can also be used to shield the cybercriminals as they perform other malicious attacks on a system.

This is another instance of how the accessibility of cloud computing can become a liability. Frequent audits to find security issues and frequent updates to address them will help guard against these attacks.

8. Insider Threats

We don’t like to think of fellow team members as potential threats, but they can create a lot of problems. They have access to sensitive information and the company’s system in general.

Cloud computing systems make oversight more difficult because of how the information is shared throughout the organization.

Malicious behavior by insiders becomes much harder to detect and rectify. Constant attention and updated security measures are needed to guard against these types of attacks and to quickly address them if they occur.

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