Sep 20, 2017 Admin

Corporate, Microsoft Solutions

Overcoming the Data Security Challenges in the Cloud

Recent predictions have suggested that the global cloud market will grow to more than $190 billion by the end of 2020. With the continuous upsurge in cloud computing consulting services, most businesses have joined the cloud bandwagon. From storage to data analytics, the cloud is bringing down IT costs while providing businesses more agility, scalability and faster time-to-market. However, this increasing cloud adoption calls for strong mitigation of security breaches and risks hovering over the cloud.

Any such event that can lead to unauthorized access of device, data, network, services or application by circumventing the security mechanisms. When a person or application illegally tries to enter a confidential IT perimeter, this is where a security breach occurs.

Whether data destruction, disclosure or alteration is done deliberately or unintentionally, it is very essential to protect data from any such event. Data security on the cloud is required to protect your data against unauthorized access. It includes the establishment of administrative controls and logical control and setting up organizational standards, physical security and safeguarding techniques to prevent malicious activities. 

Here are some security concerns threatening cloud applications and possible tips to counter-attack those risks:

1. Lack of Data Encryption is Putting Data at Risk

Cloud computing enables banking & finance solutions, healthcare and other sector organizations/customers to store data in third-party data centers. Leaving this sensitive and confidential data unencrypted on the cloud makes it vulnerable to online eavesdropping and Man-in-the-Middle attacks. The consequences of these breaches can cost big - from legal fines to loss of customer trust and reputation.  

How to Address It

The best approach for avoiding such a scenario is to encrypt organization/customer data with appropriate encryption techniques like Secure Socket Layer (SSL). Cloud service providers can also implement a reliable Virtual Private Network tunnel that can provide an encrypted connection to remote off-site employees to maintain smooth communication while maintaining data safety in the organization.

2.  APIs Threats

Cloud service providers offer APIs to help IT teams with cloud monitoring, management, and orchestration. Now, the security and confidentiality of information depend on the security of API. Weak APIs and interfaces add another layer in the security risks related to accountability, integrity, and availability of data.  

How to Deal with It

An effective approach to mitigate the risks associated with APIs is- blacklisting risky content and applying schema validation to all incoming data. A thoroughly done penetration testing, API security implementation and separating API development are key factors to consider for protection against rising APIs threats.    

3. Compliance Violations

Organizations abide by certain regulatory and compliance requirements such as HIPAA guidelines for healthcare information and FERPA for student records. Under these mandates, it is essential for businesses to remain compliant but trends like Bring Your Own Cloud (BYOC), Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) violate these tenets and put the organization in a state of non-compliance.

What to Do

IT teams must ensure strict compliance with regulatory norms by implementing strong protective measures such as perimeter firewalls, intrusion detection, and event logging systems. By identifying foreseeable threats, companies can remain vigilant and can protect themselves against any anticipated cyber-threat.  

4. Authentication Breaches

Data breaches in cloud applications result from lax authentication, poor key management, and weak passwords. Generally, developers leave cryptographic keys within open source codes which a cyber-criminal can easily access through numerous portals. In addition, lack of multifactor authentication and failure in identity management are other factors that lead businesses to authentication breaches.

How to Prevent This

Businesses can protect against authentication breaches by mechanisms-Two-factor authentication, limiting the number of password trials and locking the user who has exceeded a certain number of login attempts. Also, businesses must plan to federate identity management with cloud providers instead of centralizing it into a single repository.

Also Read: 9 Reasons Why AWS is an Integral Part of Your Next App Architecture

5. Cyber Attacks

Cyber-attacks can hamper the reputation and integrity of any organization. The data stored in the cloud has a higher probability of cyber-attacks. The misconfiguration can expose sensitive data to cyber crooks. It leads to cyber-crimes such as- launching an attack by cracking encryption key, DoS/DDoS attacks, malicious content and phishing emails. Hence, the organization must take effective measures to protect customer data against cyber-attacks across the IaaS, PaaS and SaaS platforms.

How to Prevent Cyber Attacks

Businesses need to make sure that their cloud service providers recognize cloud service abuses and DoS attacks proactively. Also, IT teams can scrutinize network traffic and can make use of flow analytics to minimize DoS attacks.  

Wrapping Up

Moving to the cloud can do wonders for businesses in terms of efficiency and agility, but understanding the risk involved and having the right security measure in place is essential. The threat of viruses is there since the dawn of cloud computing services but provisions to maintain data security are still lacking. The above information describes tips to fight against security breaches in the cloud and employing cloud computing for paving the path of your business growth.

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