Cloud computing has gained immense popularity in the past few years. All enterprises, big and small, are migrating to the cloud to improve their business processes and increase productivity. However, with rising importance, there are also increasing concerns about the excessive use of cloud applications and the overload of information in the cloud. Some of the biggest concerns revolve around its privacy and security. It is the duty of companies and their IT departments, who are deploying cloud computing, to adopt measures and techniques to protect the cloud for its clients.
Data at Risk
Out of the many security concerns of the cloud, the biggest thing at risk is the huge amount of data. An average hacker can get access to a huge amount of data due to a small glitch in any of the client’s system. Moreover, there is also the potential risk of employees, using the cloud applications, losing their user IDs and passwords. The cloud is so integrated in each and every aspect of the business that each employee needs to use a number of applications every day. This might make the employees more prone to being careless and leaving their access information out in the open.
Confidential data being hacked is of concern but the fact that it can all be erased without any trace adds further to the dilemma. Data loss can ruin relationships with clients, resulting in huge business losses and can get the company in trouble with regulating authorities. Trying to find a way to secure data from breaches and loss at the same time might be difficult, but it is necessary to find a balancing solution to lessen cloud security risk.
Service Traffic Hijacking
Data is not the only thing at risk from the hackers. What can possibly wreak more havoc is service traffic hijacking. With all clients and data being on the cloud, a hacker with access to a company’s account and credentials can cause a lot of damage. With such access, the hacker can send falsified information to clients, spam them, manipulate the stored data, follow your activities and transactions and after ruining your reputation, use your services as a base for more attacks.
A recent example of such an attack was at Amazon in 2010. The hackers got access to Amazon user’s account exposing customer credentials. For a website with traffic as high as Amazon’s, this is serious bad news. Organizations, deploying cloud computing, should employ security measures that require two-factor authentication and probably, restrict the users and services credentials sharing.
Unreliable Employees and Inadequate Due Diligence
Apart from outside attacks, there are certain risks to cloud security from inside the organization too. Two of these risks are unreliable employees and inadequate due diligence.
Unreliable employees are untrustworthy workers who are either presently working in the organization or have worked in the past and have sensitive information. These employees can gain access to data and severe relationships with clients. Hackers, despite all techniques, have restricted access to some extent. Insider employees have unlimited access and have a lot to gain, if they know how well they can manipulate their employers.
Inadequate due diligence is entering the cloud without being prepared. This can mean insufficient research and analysis and a scarce supply of resources. There are a lot of issues to deal with once you have integrated all your systems with the cloud. There are a lot of threats and risks to be concerned about. Not knowing what these risks are and not having enough resources and technical expertise to deal with them just adds more to the level of risk.
Therefore, it is highly necessary, as with all projects big or small, to be sufficiently prepared for entering into the cloud. While cloud computing may provide unlimited benefits to your organization, the cloud security and the effects of the associated risks should be considered too. Keeping in mind all the vulnerabilities associated with shared technologies, IT executives and their workers should design systems that help protect the cloud from all threats. There should be measures in place that not only protect the cloud and the clients but also limit the damage in case of a breach.
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