Do you know which industries are prolific users of multi-cloud computing? If you guessed Telecommunications, you’re not wrong; however you may not know that insurance and retail are also leaders with 11 clouds in use by 2023. With the global cloud computing marketing expecting 18.6% growth by 2027 businesses in all industries need to also be aware of prevalent cloud security threats and how to avoid them.
Insights for Professionals present interesting data on cloud cybercrime. It also suggests organizations shouldn’t switch to multi-clouds and cloud-based services without a careful security risk assessment to lessen the threat of data loss and security breaches damaging their business reputation.
This business blog looks at ways to mitigate security risks using cloud computing. First, let’s review how businesses are using the cloud.
How Organizations Use The Cloud
How are businesses using cloud computing?
Businesses use third-party apps and systems i.e. ‘as a service’ services for functions such as:
- Data backup, storage, access and analysis
- Email services
- Apps development
- Video creation and streaming
Cloud Computing Security Threats
While service providers take cloud computing security seriously, some gaps keep technology managers awake at night. Account hijacking is a major threat to data security, including highly sensitive customer credit card information. Whale phishing is one-way hackers are gaining access to it. Business executives are more vulnerable than other staff, as they often are exempt from regular security audits and training. Plus, executives can be tardy in executing security best practices that protect them when using public networks via their devices.
Basic Security Fails
Some of the common security fails of executives include:
- No regular backing up of devices
- Irregular updating of software
- Using weak passwords
- Not using MFA
- Not using VPNs especially when using public networks
- Using weak email and website filters
Avoiding Security Threats Of Cloud Computing
With account hijacking worrying IT leaders, there are ways to lessen the vulnerability of security gaps in cloud services.
Security Compliance and Governance Requirements
Needless to say, creating and adhering to security compliance requirements starts from the top of an organization. The chief executives send the message to staff that security prevention measures are paramount to keep hackers away from business data. Communication and collaboration between cloud service providers and the business security teams must be transparent and robust for sharing of information on security gaps and known threats and prevention measures.
Disaster recovery plan
The inclusion of disaster recovery plans and regular testing of the archiving and the recovery process will provide peace of mind to the business that in the event of significant data loss, data loss is minimized, and the recovery of most assets is possible.
The disaster recovery plans should also include the steps to communicate to staff, stakeholders and clients what’s occurred, actions taken, and the recovery’s success. Remember, business reputation is on the line when adverse events like criminal activity occur. How your business responds to it is vital to retaining customers and presenting confidence in the face of adversity.
One of the biggest threats or security gaps is the misconfiguration of security settings. The challenge is more significant when too much data is available. Getting control over what data is stored and accessed by users is part of the configuration process. Plus, many businesses rely on default security settings instead of working through the options for user access and device access. Hold off rushing the implementation process until upper management has set and agreed to the compliance and security rules.
Always use services that encrypt data, from storage to access footprints must be protected from prying eyes. End to end encryption is a must, and the good news is it’s everywhere apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and other chat platforms. Plus, email systems and collaboration tools like Zoom, Skype, Google Teamwork, etc.
Encryption starts at the source, i.e. device level and this blog provides a layperson’s guide to end to end encryption for your further reading.
Limit user access, and assign different user access levels. For example, your executives may not get the same level of access as your security professionals. Ensure all user access is recorded and regularly audited by security IT auditors. All user access must also adhere to your business cloud security controls.
Plus, there will be additional requirements like using tokens for some users with lower-level access or if a user is attempting to access the service via a new location. Cloud services providers may also insist on access that’s not privileged using their security steps before access is allowed.
All users are responsible for managing their devices to prevent hackers from gaining access to business networks and data. Cloud computing is the now and the future, but the default security settings will not likely provide you with confidence that your business is doing all it can to avoid cyber threats.
Remember SolarWinds cyber attack as a reminder of just how vulnerable all businesses irrespective of size are to professional hackers.