Cloud Security Threats & 5 Tips for Mitigation

Posted by graham.westbrook
April 06, 2020

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In 2005, if I asked you to tell me about the “cloud,” I imagine you might look up at the sky. Only 15 years later, if I asked you about the “cloud,” I have a hunch you’d tell me about virtual storage and applications that don’t require a physical server. This is an incredible technological leap. Alongside this leap is an incredible need to secure the cloud. Take a look:

What is the cloud?

Simply put, the cloud is an innovative and powerful tool for transferring data and hosting applications virtually. Cloud technologies gained attention in 2006 when Amazon Web Services introduced their cloud storage service called S3, still a big player on the market today. Since then, cloud computing has completely changed the way we work and store our data. 

Cloud security threats and their consequences

Every minute, millions of people around the world transfer their documents and files in the cloud. With so much sensitive data, it is also important to recognize that there are security threats associated with cloud computing that must be addressed. The most important of which are:

  • Data breach, when unauthorized users or programs gain access to confidential data, especially in the case of cloud misconfigurations; 
  • Data loss, which can happen as a result of negligent or accidental error;
  • Account hijacking, when cybercriminals steal or manipulate sensitive data from the cloud.

In 2019, for example, a Federal agency exposed the bank account information of 2.5 million hurricane survivor victims because an employee accidentally shared too much information in the cloud without correct permissions. These threats may cause severe operational and business disruptions and damage your company’s reputation. They may lead to leaks of sensitive data and loss of intellectual property. And they may sow mistrust among customers and employees stemming from data breach. 

The bottom line is it is crucial to secure your cloud and promote cloud security awareness so people know how to handle it safely. 

Measures you can take to secure your cloud 

According to LogicMonitor’s The Future of the Cloud Study, 66% of IT professionals say security is their most significant concern in adopting an enterprise cloud computing strategy.

When you add another study, this time by the Ponemon Institute, pointing out that the average cost of a data breach equals $3.92 million, it is no wonder cloud security is a crucial topic to tackle. Luckily, there are simple measures you can introduce to make your cloud secure straight away. 

5 Tips for Mitigation

  1. Set long and strong passwords and avoid the most obvious ones;
  2. Share your passwords only with those who need to know them, via a password manager whenever possible – it is the best way to limit access to your files;
  3. Review access permissions regularly, especially if your company works with contractors;
  4. Set up a cloud security strategy, keep the cloud security measures updated and back up your data regularly; 
  5. Train your employees! According to the Oracle and KPM research, 82% of organizations are concerned that their employees are violating cloud service policies. Don’t take chances. People who know how to use the cloud securely are your best sensors. Your valuable data will be in good hands if your employees know how to keep it safe. This is exactly what we do here, at Living Security – we make sure all our clients understand the risks they can encounter in the cyber world and know how to avoid them.

Not securing the cloud is like leaving the doors of your fancy new apartment wide open. 

Don’t wait for an attack to happen. Take measures now and enjoy the cloud no matter the weather!

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