Cloud computing is oftentimes the most cost-effective means to use, maintain, and upgrade your infrastructure, as it removes the need to invest in costly in-house infrastructure. It can be defined as the outsourced IT infrastructure that improves computing performance.
However, despite its many benefits in cost and scalability, cloud computing has various security challenges that businesses must be prepared for. Let’s explore:
- Guest-hopping/ VM jumping
This is a cloud security challenge that arises when someone gets into your Virtual Machine and host computer by breaching a nearby Virtual Machine in the VMware server. Ways to reduce the risk of VM jumping attacks include regularly updating your operating system and separating database traffic from web-facing traffic.
- SQL injections
A website hosted on the cloud can be vulnerable to SQL injection attacks, where the cyber vandals inject malicious SQL commands into the database of a web app. To prevent an SQL injection attack, you will have to remove all unused stored procedures. Further, assign the least possible privileges to the persons that have access permissions to the database.
- Backdoor attacks
The backdoor is intentional open access to an application created by developers for updating code and troubleshooting apps. This access poses a security challenge when attackers use it to access your sensitive data. The primary solution to backdoor attacks is to disable debugging on apps.
- Malicious employees
Humans are the biggest risk to cloud computing and data security. Security challenges may arise when an employee with ill intentions is granted access to sensitive data. These people may compromise business and customer data or sell access privileges to the highest bidder. Regular and rigorous security auditing is critical to minimize this security threat.
- CSP data security concerns
With public and hybrid cloud models, you hand over your data to the Cloud Service Provider (CSP). Depending on their compliance and integrity, these businesses might abuse your data or expose it to cloud threats through improper storage and processing. You can reduce the risk of that through:
- Restricting your CSPs control over your data
- Employing robust access authentication mechanisms
- Working with a CSP that is regulatory compliant
- Choosing a CSP that has a well-defined Data backup system
- Domain hijacking
Attackers might change the name of your domain without your knowledge or permission. This cloud security challenge allows intruders to access sensitive data and undertake illegal activities on your system. One way to prevent domain hijacking is to use the Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP), which uses an owner-only authorization key to prevent unauthorized name changes.
- Denial of service attacks (DoS):
DOS attacks will make your network or computing resources unavailable. In a DOS attack, the cyber threat actors flood your system with many packets in a short amount of time. The packets take over all of your bandwidth, and the attackers use a spoofed IP address to make tracking and stopping DOS difficult.
DOS attacks can be advanced to multiple machines, in which case it becomes a Distributed DOS or DDOS. These attacks can be prevented using firewalls for packet filtering, encryption, and authentication.
- Phishing and social fraud
There might be attempts to steal data such as passwords, usernames, and credit card information. The threat actors send an email containing a link to users leading them to a fraudulent website that looks like the real deal, where they freely disclose their information. Counter-measures to phishing include frequent system scanning, using spam filter and spam blockers, and training employees not to respond to suspicious emails.
- Physical security
Physical security in CSP data centers directly plays a role in client data security. Datacenter facilities can be physically accessed by intruders that can tamper with or transfer data without your knowledge and approval. In order to mitigate physical cybersecurity concerns, businesses must work with CSPs with adequate physical security measures in their data centers and near-zero incidence response time.
- Domain Name System (DNS) attacks
DNS attacks exploit vulnerabilities in the domain name system (DNS), which translates hostnames into Internet Protocol (IP) addresses for a web browser to load internet resources. DNS servers can be exposed to many attacks since all networked apps, from email to browsers and eCommerce apps, operate on the DNS. Attacks to watch out for here include Man in the Middle attacks, DNS Tunneling, Domain lock-up and UDP Flood attacks.
Unlike on-premise infrastructural security, cloud security threats come from multiple angles. Maintaining data integrity on the cloud takes collaboration between CSPs and business. At all times you must bear in mind that the responsibility for your company’s data is always your own. Consider adopting security best practices, monitoring solutions, and expert consultation for a secure cloud environment.
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