Cloud computing has taken the technology industry by storm in recent years, providing businesses small and large alike with convenient and cost-efficient solutions to store and share data. Platforms such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure provide web hosting for some of the largest and most popular websites on the internet. Cloud Solutions are attractive options for small business owners, as they eliminate the need for spacious and expensive data warehouses and provide for fast and easy scalability. However, these new and evolving benefits are accompanied by an assortment of new security threats. Some of the most common threats to cloud security are improper access management practices, data breaches, insecure APIs, and misconfigured storage. To best protect themselves, small businesses must be aware of these threats as well as best practices for prevention.
Improper Access Management practices pose great security risk to companies in the cloud. Much like when storing sensitive data on premise, companies storing their data in the cloud must allow employees to access certain information while denying them access to other information. AWS, for instance, allows administrators to create identity access management users (IAM users) and assign certain permissions to each user. When setting these permissions, best practice is to give users the minimum access necessary to fulfill their roles in the company. In this way, companies reduce the amount of exposure if an account is hacked. Multi-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security, as a hacker would need both the password and a chosen piece of hardware, such as a smartphone, to gain access to the account. Cloud security can only be achieved when unauthorized users are unable to access data.
A Data Breach is an incident wherein an unauthorized individual gains access to a company’s data through exploiting holes in security or by manipulating individuals within the company. This can have huge financial and legal ramifications for the company. To prevent a data breach, companies and users with access must use MFA and never share their passwords. Firewalls must be used at multiple levels to limit inbound and outbound traffic to web servers and databases. Firewalls must be continuously updated, and passwords continuously changed in order to maintain proper security in the cloud.
The Application User Interface (API) is a common point of vulnerability because it is the main way the system is accessed both internally (by employees) and externally (by consumers). Being open to the public makes the API a critical point to consider when analyzing security risk. Using strong passwords and encrypting data are simple measures businesses can take to secure their APIs. Close monitoring and frequent updates to API security are integral to protecting data in a cloud environment.
Misconfigured Storage is a common source of leaked data. Businesses use cloud storage resources such as Amazon S3 to store information. When not configured correctly, these resources lack proper security measures to limit access. Correct configuration includes proper assignment of user permissions in addition to adjusting the default security settings to satisfy needs. Without sufficient access-limiting protocols, cloud-stored data is open to attack from the outside. As the state of cloud computing evolves, companies must constantly assess their security policies and update as needed to protect from new threats and points of vulnerability.
Understanding each of these threats and having measures in place to prevent them are critical to your security in the cloud. Navigating the intricacies of cloud computing can be a daunting task, but you don’t have to do it alone! Our experts at Grove are waiting to help you implement proper security in the cloud. Call one of our consultants now!
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