The Adoption of Cloud Services Has Increased Improves Simplicity of Use but Also Exposes Users to Greater Risk

It’s indisputable that employing cloud-based services comes with numerous benefits for businesses. These advantages encompass cost minimisation, scalability optimisation, improved collaboration, enhanced flexibility and mobility, and the automation of routine tasks such as data backups and software updates.

As more and more companies embrace remote workforces, the benefits of cloud computing for businesses are becoming more apparent. However, one must also take into account the possible drawbacks. In recent times, cloud computing has become an easy target for cybercriminals, resulting in new attack routes. Hence, it’s imperative for businesses to be cognizant of potential risks to safeguard their data in the present and future years.

It’s surprising to learn that a substantial number of organisations are already using cloud services. According to reports, around 75% to 80% of businesses have experienced data breaches in their cloud systems. However, it’s not mandatory to bring all computer operations back in-house. This article will delve into why and how cloud services can be misused, as well as the measures that can be taken to prevent such misuse.

Reasons Why Online Storage is Vulnerable

Cybersecurity threats loom over any environment that stores or uses data. Various types of cloud computing can present distinct security challenges, with hackers having a vast array of potential targets in the public cloud. Consumers of cloud services may be unaware of their simulated infrastructures, and the adaptable nature of cloud computing can result in less rigorous adherence to security protocols in an ever-evolving setting.

Managing multiple public and private cloud providers, along with on-premise installations, raises security concerns when contemplating a multicloud configuration. Customers must take ownership to ensure that their infrastructures comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) while using cloud computing services.

Evolution of Attacks on Cloud Resources

Distributing data across multiple locations heightens the possibility of unauthorised access by malicious hackers. Hence, it’s crucial to have cloud-based security solutions in place. Hackers can employ different techniques to pilfer data, such as through phishing, where fraudulent emails or other communications containing links to websites that acquire personal information are sent.

Watch this video for an easy-to-understand breakdown of what phishing entails:

As the recycling of passwords becomes more prevalent, hackers can gain access to a larger number of accounts with minimal exertion. Such access enhances their ability to collect information and gain control. In ransomware attacks, the perpetrators may disclose or threaten to disclose data unless a ransom is paid.

Providing cyber security training to employees is crucial, given that successful phishing attempts and other forms of social engineering can only happen with the help of someone inside the organisation. It’s paramount that employees are aware of potential risks and are equipped with the necessary knowledge to avert them.

Best Practices for Cloud Cybersecurity

Though the cloud services you use in your business have their own established security policies and protocols in place (as outlined here), it still falls on your company to take necessary measures in ensuring the safety of your data. Ultimately, any possible security breaches would require your business to manage customer complaints, pay penalties and expend additional time and resources to resolve the issue. Check out some of the recommended steps below that you may want to pursue.

  • Employee training and development.

    Cloud-based data breaches could be a result of frequent configuration issues or insufficient security measures by the system administrator. One of the most vital steps towards securing cloud data is offering staff regular training on the latest security threats and how to counter them.
  • Secure hardware.

    Nowadays, workers are opting to use their personal smartphones instead of dedicated work devices that require upkeep when accessing cloud-based applications. Provided that the necessary measures are in position to avert security risks, this setup can be acceptable.
  • Security in the cloud.

    Cloud service providers such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google have incorporated security measures into their infrastructure and provided added tools to ensure optimal use. In case you have any concerns or inquiries regarding the available security measures, feel free to get in touch with your provider.
  • Zero Trust.

    The Zero Trust security approach prioritises vigilance and verifying activities; users should only be granted access rights necessary for their specific tasks. We highly recommend that organisations adopt this strategy as it has the potential to dramatically enhance network security.
  • Identity and Access Management (IAM) tools.

    IAM systems are responsible for the security of online identities. Network access is only granted to authenticated and authorised users who have been successfully identified. To adhere to these principles, users seeking additional access must go through more comprehensive authentication procedures.
  • Web Application Firewall (WAF).

    A WAF regulates and inspects data transfers to and from web application servers and adapts to changing traffic patterns.
  • Password Management System.

    While passwords may appear trivial, they are critical because they are the most common method used by hackers to gain access to user accounts. To mitigate the risks of weak or repetitive passwords, employees should be motivated to use password management software.
  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).

    MFA is an additional security layer for user accounts, which makes it more challenging for hackers to access data. This can be accomplished through diverse ways, including a mobile phone, a fingerprint scanner or a physical key.
  • Data Backups.

    Always remember to create backups of your cloud-based software. In case the provider does not offer this functionality, you may want to explore alternative options.
  • Data Encryption.

    Encryption of data before it is transmitted to the cloud is important to comply with standard policy frameworks. This, together with authorised access, is a crucial safeguard.

Assess Your Current Cloud Security Practices

While cloud computing provides a plethora of benefits, it is vital for companies to take supplementary measures to protect customer data. To guarantee data security, it is crucial that every employee is mindful of their responsibilities in this regard. Numerous resources are available to assist with this, but the most significant action is to ensure that all personnel understand their role in upholding data safety.

Routine updates, reminders, and simulated hacking drills can be advantageous for team members, particularly for those who operate remotely, to keep them up to date with the latest risks. Their contributions are crucial in shielding the organisation against the loss of information, resources and credibility with clients.

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