The cloud has been hailed as the savior of 21st-century businesses. Not only is it possible to build a company from the ground up using only cloud-based services, but taking advantage of the cloud allows a company to save time, money, and other valuable resources, helping small businesses get bigger, faster. To many entrepreneurs, the cloud is a digital miracle.
However, the cloud is fallible. Before moving to the cloud ― or before tragedy strikes from the cloud ― business leaders must learn about the potential threats of working with the cloud and what they can do to ensure the safety of their organizations.
Top Threats Lurking in the Cloud
Too often on the web, writers use vague language when describing digital threats to businesses. Terms like malicious attack and cyber threat sound terrifying, but they do not provide much information about what hackers actually do to cause damage to digital business data. In the interest of informed preparation against assault, here are some of the most common risks associated with the cloud:
- Data Breach / Data Loss
- Insufficient Identity, Credential and Access Management
- Insecure Interfaces and APIs
- System Vulnerability / Shared Technology Vulnerabilities
- Account Hijacking and Use of the Stolen Passwords (password re-use in other services/systems)
- Malicious Insider
- Insufficient Due Diligence
- Abuse & Misuse of Cloud Services
- Denial of Service
How to Thwart Cloud-Based Attacks
Not sure where to begin? Education should always be the first step to securing any cloud against attacks, both external and internal. The more a business leader knows about the cloud and understands how certain threats manifest, the better equipped his or her company is to effectively combat the attacks that will inevitably occur.
Specifically, there are four main strategies that will go a long way toward helping to secure a company’s cloud infrastructure, but not every method is appropriate for every business. Performing additional research to learn the strengths and weaknesses of each of the following precautions should improve a business’s cloud security to keep it safer from various threats.
- Create a cybersecurity policy. To thwart insider attacks (as well as employee negligence that can lead to massive data breaches) businesses should have strict cyber policies that enforce authorization, password creation, and other essential security measures.
- Use a private cloud. Private clouds give individual businesses complete control over ALL aspects of the cloud. If businesses are smart, this can translate into enhanced security and risk reduction in meaningful ways.
- Never talk to strangers. Often data is fully protected in the cloud, but while it travels back and forth, it is vulnerable to attack. Data encryption during transit is indispensable.
- Hire a security expert. Businesses should add a qualified security professional to their IT team. These experts should be extensively trained in the latest techniques and technology to keep all data safe, especially when it is in or around the cloud.
Why the Cloud Is Still Safer Than Alternatives
The cloud is one of the most valuable tools a business can deploy and use today. As opposed to their analog forefathers, digital files do not suffer damage due to water or fire; files in the cloud are not typically misplaced due to improper sorting; and even if some data gets deleted, prior backups should prevent a catastrophic loss. As long as business leaders remain smart about cloud security, the cloud will continue to be a good place for business information.