We are living in a digitally vulnerable world and this vulnerability extends to organizations too. Organizations are looking for solutions to keep critical data and applications protected from falling into the wrong hands, limiting access from anywhere, at any time. The most suitable solution is shifting to cloud technology, but it comes with its share of challenges. With that solution in hand, organizations are now struggling to ensure that the cloud offers a secure and protected environment for sensitive data and applications.
|Cloud Security Report 2018 |
|91% of cybersecurity professionals are worried about public cloud security||Nine out of Ten concerned about public cloud security|
|Top three cloud security challenges|
In our technology-driven world, cloud security policies must be addressed by the management.
This blog discusses cloud security, its challenges, and the appropriate solutions to them.
Cloud Security in Brief
Cloud security is also referred to as cloud computing security. The term consists of multiple levels of procedures, policies, controls, applications, and technologies to protect data, websites, applications, services, and relevant infrastructure stored on the cloud. The security measures are not only subjected to the protection of data, but also ensures that the cloud service providers follow defined regulations and maintain confidentiality and integrity of the customer’s data. These cloud solutions can be customized as per the need of the organization. Cloud computing solutions can have authentication access or network filtering process, or any such required security feature. With service providers, business owners are also responsible for the cloud security implementation process.
Critical Cloud Security Challenges
Five major key challenges faced by cloud-based businesses are listed below –
Challenge 1: Data Loss and Leakage
Providing remote access to users is a bane of cloud but there is no way one can eliminate human error. Thus, the issue of data loss/leakage is the biggest concern of cybersecurity professionals.  Data loss and leakage bring customers to lose faith in your organization. It can also lead to legal disputes.
Organizations with no Data Loss Prevention (DLP) plan might face end-users posting critical information, unknowingly.
The best solution to this problem is to back up all data and monitor it. If not done properly, your organization won’t only lose its productivity but will also face a steep decline in the revenue from concerned clients.
Challenge 2: Misconfiguration of Cloud Platform
It is one of the most prevalent issues which is preventable. Threat Stack, a US-based software firm stated in its 2018 Computing Cloud Review that 73% of all companies witness crucial AWS cloud security misconfigurations.  A tiny negligence during the configuration of cloud can lead to major security risks. In 2017, Alteryx, a data analytics company unintentionally exposed details of over 120 million U.S. households. The mishap occurred due to misconfigured Amazon Web Services (AWS) S3 Bucket. The compromised data involved consumer demographics and information about their mortgage. It also included addresses and contact details of the customers.
This challenge can be combatted by paying proper attention while configuring the cloud. Apart from that, implementing the best practices can save organizations from accidental exposure of data –
- Get Better Understanding of Your Cloud
Though the cloud offers easy setup, it demands your full attention during the basic implementation process. It would be in the best interest of the organization if all the IT staff is aware of all the settings and permissions of its cloud services. This is obviously a time-consuming step, but it will surely strengthen your data security.
- Modify Default Configurations
Businesses which are newly shifting to cloud solutions consider the default configuration as the best way to protect their cloud data with less workload. Organizations should modify the default credentials to limit the access to only authorized users. It would be much better if the organizations can set up a multi-factor authentication process.
- Regularly Check for Signs of Misconfiguration
Cloud configuration is not a one-time job. The concerned professional should be auditing it frequently as authorized users can unknowingly make some changes capable of exposing other stored assets. For instance, a user can create a folder with no credential required to access it. In such a situation, it would be better for the IT professional to monitor and audit the unintentional misconfiguration of the cloud.
- Implementation of Security Measures are Important
Implementing security measures like network segmentation and logging during the configuration of the cloud helps minimize the data breach and unauthorized access. These tools alert the concerned team regarding any malicious attempt. Besides this, choose security solutions integrated with the best security features like threat detection, network intrusion prevention, and security management.
Challenge 3: Data Breaches
Data breach confirms the vulnerability of your sensitive data. This can happen due to either an unintended or an intended attack, but it affects the usual operations, credibility, and stock price of the organization. It is known that insecure data is always susceptible to cyber theft.
As per Verizon’s 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report, 2018 faced 2,216 confirmed data breaches.  While there were 1,253 publicly data breach incidents were reported in the previous year, based on the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) organization.  The contrast clearly depicts an increase in data breaches. Usually, IT professionals have control over network infrastructure but in the case of cloud (public, private, and hybrid), most of the control stays with the trusted partner.
To avoid these data breaches, applying encryption would be the most optimal solution. Other than making the data unusable without an authentic key; encryption also complicates the availability of the critical data for unauthorized users.
Challenge 4: Vulnerable Access Controls
Cloud offers anytime, anywhere access to its users which gives a way to more susceptible access controls. Hackers look for vulnerabilities to exploit and APIs can give them an easy entry point.
To deal with vulnerable access controls, integration of behavioral web application firewall in your cloud services can monitor the network flow. It can protect your data from security breaches.
Challenge 5: Spectre and Meltdown
In late 2017, researchers uncovered that computer chips manufactured in the last 20 years have fundamental security flaws, named Spectre and Meltdown. Meltdown can help attackers to view data stored on virtual servers which were hosted on the same hardware. While Spectre affects desktops, laptops, smartphones, and cloud servers.
This problem needs a fundamental architectural rework. Being the flaws in the design of the modern computer chips, a new model is what we require.
Learning Cloud Security Is Now Easy
EC-Council offers Certified Ethical Hacker (C|EH) with a module completely dedicated to cloud security. The program enlightens you with not only the basic but the advanced technical knowledge of the domain. It offers a practical approach to protect your cloud-based information assets. Besides cloud security, this DoD recognized program has a lot more to offer which include a broader aspect of whole information security.
Sources: https://pages.cloudpassage.com/rs/857-FXQ-213/images/2018-Cloud-Security-Report%20%281%29.pdf  https://www.computing.co.uk/digital_assets/fcda9cc9-d1ba-4f58-91c3-e950a031f183/CTG-Cloud-Review-2018-180418.pdf  http://www.documentwereld.nl/files/2018/Verizon-DBIR_2018-Main_report.pdf  https://www.bna.com/2017-year-data-b73014473359/