You can’t reach into the sky and touch the clouds — but that doesn’t mean the data you store in the digital cloud is unreachable. The data your business puts into the cloud is valuable; cybercriminals desperately want access to personal customer information, financial information and more, and most will stop at nothing to infiltrate your cloud and make off with your data.
7 Threats to Your Cloud Data
Even as more businesses develop hybrid cloud systems or even shift fully to the cloud,few are taking necessary precautions to keep their data, their networks and their employees and customers safe.
The cloud remains relatively insecure, vulnerable to all sorts of threats, and you need to know what risks you are taking by using the cloud. Here are the most common security issues surrounding the cloud and what you can do to thwart them.
When you think of threats to your cloud, you probably imagine black-clad hackers in a dark room somewhere in Russia — but more often than not, you should be picturing your own employees in your brightly lit office.
A lack of awareness of cloud security can seriously compromise your data; ignorant or lazy employees might accidentally delete or corrupt your data, or they might leave it vulnerable to access by cybercriminals. You should invest in recurring security training for your workforce, so they understand the importance of maintaining security in the cloud.
2. Data Breach
A data breach, also called a data leak, is when a hacker finds their way onto your cloud and makes off with valuable and/or sensitive information. Most often, data breaches occur due to malware that has found its way onto the organization’s network, but some data breaches are the result of misconfigured access controls (as happened to Microsoft late last year).
You need to be on the lookout for data breaches with detection tools, and you need to have a response plan in place to protect your company and clients from hackers’ misuse of stolen data.
3. Data Loss
Different from data breaches, data losses result in the complete disappearance of your data. Losses can occur due to human error as well as natural disaster and merciless cyberattack.
The good news is that this event is easy to recover from if you make regular backups of your cloud. You can use cloud security services that automatically backup your information during off-hours, so you don’t have to remember to make backups or interrupt the workday to do so.
4. DoS Attacks
Moving into more technical forms of attack, a Denial of Service (DoS) attack occurs when a cyber attacker overwhelms your network by flooding it with traffic, causing the network to crash and making business services unavailable.
In 2016, one of the largest DoS attacks brought down Dyn, a web application company, resulting in downtime for major websites like Netflix, Airbnb, Reddit and Twitter. Unfortunately, DoS attacks are all but impossible to defend against; fortunately, they aren’t common.
A relatively new form of attack, cryptojacking is utilizing your cloud computing resources to fuel cryptomining, or the generation of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Typically, cryptojackers are incredibly sneaky; you might not realize that your cloud has been infected by a cryptojacker for months or years.
In the meantime, your cloud services will be slow; you might even mistake the problem as a processing power or network issue. You need a robust detection tool to identify and stop cryptojackers.
6. Hijacked Accounts
There are several ways a hacker can gain access to your system with legitimate login credentials — by phishing, blackmailing staff, coordinating with a disgruntled staff member and more. Once they have a viable account, a hacker can do almost anything to cloud and remain undetected by security systems.
Staff security training can reduce the likelihood of unintentional account hijacking, but you should also effect access controls on your cloud to ensure that most employee accounts can’t do much damage if compromised.
7. Insecure Applications
Your cloud can be locked down tight — but one application with a tiny vulnerability can cause unending security headaches. Software can be riddled with insecurities that allow hackers backdoors into otherwise incredibly well-protected networks.
Before you or any of your staff download an application, that app should be vetted by your IT team. It might be wise to whitelist and/or blacklist certain programs using an endpoint security tool once you know that certain programs are safe or unsafe.
The cloud isn’t as inaccessible as many business leaders believe. In fact, as more businesses relocate their data to the cloud, more hackers are finding better ways to infiltrate cloud servers and escape with valuable information. Now that you now a bit more about your cloud’s biggest threats, you can begin improving your cloud security to keep your cloud — and by extension, your business — safe.