Overcoming the security challenges that small-and medium-sized businesses face when accessing the cloud
As more and more companies are moving to and working with the cloud, security issues are becoming a major concern. The benefits of scalability, lower costs, increased dialogue, and the freedom to work from an office, home, or car can be wiped out in an instant if serious security attacks occur.
Companies that are exploring a move to the cloud should review the following security issues with their in-house team and with data center professionals:
Data breaches. Breaches of data can cause the loss of customer accounts, valuable trade secrets and intellectual property, vendor information, and other valuable information that can result in financial losses, lawsuits, and loss of good will with customers. Cloud service providers are constantly working to counter these breaches with new software and updated strategies.
Account hijacking. Competitors and criminals are working to gain access to login and password information so they can take over company accounts. Newer attack methods include scripting bugs, phishing, and the theft of user tokens, which cloud devices use as a way of getting around logins.
Sharing data that violates laws. Hackers and others with access to privileged data can distribute that data, causing the company to be in breach of federal or international compliance laws. The breach may also violate warranties, contracts, and other legal instruments and regulations.
Inside attacks. When companies use in-house systems, it can be easier to physically deter disgruntled employees and those who work for the company from violating your IT systems. The cloud allows a user to conduct threats from anywhere at any time. Insiders who have direct access to customer accounts, personal identity information, and other data can easily cause a great deal of harm if they turn against the company. Some of the ways to prevent inside threats are more controlled access, prohibiting the sharing of account information, better software to monitor who accesses accounts, and internal reviews.
Malware attacks. This is the injection of code into the cloud server, which can stop, breach, disrupt, or alter the computer operations.
Insecure Application Programming Interfaces (API). APIs help users manage their cloud by including the ability to provide access, authorize encryption, and manage performance. But this convenience comes with the risks that attackers will see this management ability as an opening for misconduct. Code reviews, security testing, and access controls are used to reduce API security risks.
Denial of service. Unlike attacks that are aimed at making money by selling information, denial of service attacks are aimed at preventing the IT systems from running.
Lack of due diligence. Security issues can arise when there is a lack of communication between the company and the data center as to the responsibility for management and security issues. Due diligence of how cloud computing works is critical to preparing proper security measures.
A full review of any bugs in the IT operations can also increase security by highlighting weaknesses and entry points in the IT system.
Data centers usually recommend distributing software and data across multiple zones or using hybrid accounts to secure the most sensitive information at the company site. Routine backups and disaster recovery plans are also essential to any cloud security discussion.