As more enterprises seek to transform the way they store and share data, applications, and workloads by migrating to public or private cloud environments, bad actors increasingly are attempting to maximize the opportunity to steal sensitive data.
Particularly as IDC reports public cloud adoption is accelerating three times faster than private cloud adoption, it’s important for you to understand you are ultimately responsible for the security of your data – not the cloud service provider with whom you work.
The good news? Working with a Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) such as US Cloud can help make sure you avoid the 12 most important cloud computing threats recently published by the Cloud Security Alliance.
- 1 Data breaches
- 2 Insufficient identity, credential, and access management
- 3 Account hijacking
- 4 Insecure interfaces and application programming interfaces (APIs)
- 5 System vulnerabilities
- 6 Malicious insiders
- 7 Advanced persistent threats (APTs)
- 8 Data loss
- 9 Insufficient due diligence
- 10 Cloud services abuse
- 11 Denial of service (DoS)
- 12 Shared technology vulnerabilities
According to recent statistics, more than 9 billion data records have been stolen since 2013 – in excess of 200,000 records are stolen every hour. Data breaches involve any kind of information unintended for public release, including personal health information, financial information, personally identifiable information, trade secrets, and intellectual property. The risk of losing this precious data? Loss of trust from your customers, running afoul of industry compliance regulations, and potentially million-dollar fines.
Insufficient identity, credential, and access management
Beazley, a cyber and data breach response global insurance provider, reported that only 30 percent of breaches in 2017 were caused accidentally. Bad actors disguising themselves as legitimate users, operators, or developers can read, modify, and delete data; issue control plane and management functions; access data in transit; or release malicious software appearing to originate from a legitimate source. If your identity, credential, and access management isn’t up to snuff, you’re opening your organization to unauthorized users accessing data and causing tremendous damage to your business.
Like our last cloud threat, once bad actors prey on poor access management, they can steal legitimate user credentials to monitor activities and transactions, manipulate data, return falsified information, and redirect clients to illegitimate sites. They can also often access critical areas of cloud computing services, allowing them to compromise the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of those services.
Insecure interfaces and application programming interfaces (APIs)
Cloud providers – especially those who sell public cloud – expose a set of user interfaces (UIs) or APIs that their customers use to manage and interact with cloud services. Provisioning, management, and monitoring are all performed with these interfaces, and the security and availability of general cloud services depends on the security of APIs. Porous API security will enable bad actors to work around your policies and steal your data.
Many public cloud vendors utilize multi-tenancy, which means systems from various organizations are close to each other and access shared memory and resources. This is music to bad actors’ ears, enabling them to gain greater utility out of one system breach. They can take advantage of system vulnerabilities to steal data, commandeer control of your system, or disrupt service operations. Vulnerabilities within the components of the operating system put the security of all services and data at significant risk.
Do you really know who’s administering your IT environment? The CSA found this threat is real: A malicious insider such as a system administrator – or a poorly vetted cloud provider – can access sensitive information and enjoy increasing levels of access to more critical systems and eventually to data. Systems that depend solely on cloud service providers for security are at greater risk.
Advanced persistent threats (APTs)
APTs are a cyberattack that infiltrate systems and leach onto IT infrastructure of their targets to steal data. This is not a quick event – it often happens over an extended period and builds tolerance against security measures intended to defend against them. APTs are essentially a cancer to your IT environment: Once they are entrenched in your infrastructure, they can move through data center networks and disguise themselves amongst normal network traffic to steal your sensitive information.
One of the big benefits – and misnomers – of cloud computing is that companies don’t have to worry about losing their data anymore in the case of human error or an act of god (e.g. a fire or earthquake). However, cloud providers aren’t immune to unexpected data loss: You still need to work with providers to have a robust backup, business continuity, and disaster recovery plan for your data.
Insufficient due diligence
Just because you’re moving your IT environment to the cloud doesn’t mean you can loosen up on your vendor due diligence. Sometimes, though, companies are willing to conduct the rigorous vendor due diligence but simply don’t have the right staff to do so. Having experienced cybersecurity professionals to help assess the security risks are hard to find: there’s a 2-million-person shortage of cybersecurity experts in the job market today, which will double by 2020. Developing a good roadmap and checklist for due diligence when evaluating technologies and providers is still essential for the greatest chance of success.
Cloud services abuse
Bad actors follow the money. Since cloud computing is a multi-billion-dollar industry, poorly secured cloud service deployments, free cloud service trials, and fraudulent account sign-ups through fraudulent payment instruments can expose you to distributed denial-of-service attacks, email spam, ransomware, and phishing campaigns.
Denial of service (DoS)
DoS attacks – which force targets to consume exponential amounts of finite system resources like processor power, memory, disk space, and network bandwidth – have risen 90% in 2017, according to a recent TechRepublic article. DoS attacks cause system slowdowns and leave all users without access to services, data or applications.
Cloud service providers deliver their services through shared infrastructure, platforms, and applications. Great for scalability and cost effectiveness, but terrible for security. Underlying components that comprise the infrastructure supporting cloud services deployment may not have been designed to secure multi-tenant architectures or multi-customer applications. This can lead to shared technology vulnerabilities that bad actors can exploit in all delivery models.
At US Cloud, our cloud security experts are well versed in mitigating these threats in order to protect your business from emerging cyberthreats. From penetration testing and vulnerability assessments to managed security plans, hyper secure cloud and next-generation security tools, US Cloud has you covered. Contact us and get a quote today.