How to Avoid the Biggest Security Risks of Cloud-Based Services

My Post (18).pngConsiderations for migrating to the cloud Cloud-based services bring several economic and technical advantages to a business.

They eliminate the cost of hardware that becomes increasingly obsolete each year after…

Cloud-based services bring several economic and technical advantages to a business. They eliminate the cost of hardware that becomes increasingly obsolete each year after it’s purchased. They make applications and data views accessible from any geographical location through mobile apps and web-based applications. They also solve the scalability problems that crop up as a business grows and contracts over time.

A website or customer-facing app, for example, can quickly respond to changing traffic volumes from hour to hour using a cloud-hosting service’s automated provisioning of its servers. The efficiency gained from these systems can be substantial.

Businesses can eliminate the cost of buying and maintaining server capacity that’s only used during peak hours. One problem that switching to cloud technology doesn’t solve, however, is the security problems that result from its very nature – being online. Those security problems may not go away completely, but they can be reduced to low risks that are manageable.

In this article, we’ll consider five of the biggest security risks of cloud-based services, and what you can do to avoid them.

1. Regulatory Problems

In the domain of internet security risks, regulatory sanctions have become part of the constellation of issues that can impact a business’s bottom line. It’s not a security risk by itself, but instead industry and legal frameworks that require you to handle security risks appropriately. It’s both an internal and external issue.

You and your partners need to comply with regulations like Europe’s GDPR and the American medical industry’s HIPAA regulations. When it comes to picking cloud-based services for your business, you’ll need to choose those that comply with the regulations that apply to your industry.  That might include conducting audits or commissioning independent studies.

You’ll also need to conduct risk assessments when you’re deciding to move your operations or data to the cloud. You may need to consider a private cloud server for regulatory reasons.

2. Loss of Data

The loss of data generally means the destruction of data. Ransomware attacks by hackers involve you paying them to release key assets they are holding hostage. If you don’t comply, they may delete your business’s critical data as punishment.

There are also attackers that simply want to cause damage by destroying your data assets or hamper your operations by rendering servers inoperable. Data loss can also result from hardware failures or disasters that aren’t man-made.

The primary way to mitigate these risks is to identify critical data and create backup copies that serve as a fallback if data is lost to foreseen events. The cloud is often the place we create backups because it’s an off-premises location, but if the data is stored only on the cloud, that creates a vulnerability, too. One solution is to choose a cloud service that includes backup and restoration of data with their service.

3. Data Breaches

The worst-case scenario for most businesses is a network breach in which data is stolen and sold on black markets or released to the public. Data breaches are usually the work of outside actors who find a way to gain unauthorized access to a corporate network, but they can be the result of unintentional lapses in security by employees, too. It’s important to include cloud services in your business’s overall security plan and analyze the vulnerabilities that they have.

There are different types of cloud applications that hide or expose your network to possible hacking attempts. Public cloud services are accessible to the internet, while private services exist inside your network. The security risks should be weighed when deciding which type of cloud service is best for your needs.

4. Insider Fraud

Another way that sensitive data and communications can be stolen is insider fraud. In this case, one of your employees abuses their access to your information. Sometimes they may release inside information as revenge, or they may be bribed by outsiders to steal customer data.

In the case of cloud-based services, the insider might work for the service provider rather than your business, or they may be part of your development team. The best way to control insider fraud cases is to put monitoring and strong access controls into place.

When you outsource infrastructure to a cloud service, you’ll also need to research the controls that they have in place to protect you from their own employees who might be tempted to sell your data. Encrypting data at rest and controlling who can access it are a couple more ways to discourage insider threats. – Read more

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