With the COVID-19 pandemic devastating the world, Cloud adoption has become the most popular option for businesses. The Cloud can cut costs for businesses and make systems and data available to its employees around the world, which is incredibly important considering most environments are still work from home. More importantly, the Cloud offers scalability which can increase or decrease resources to satisfy evolving needs for businesses.
One thing we must always keep in mind is Cloud Security. Cloud service providers will implement baseline security to protect against some security threats and vulnerabilities. However, this is not enough. It is important to understand the threats that are out in the wild so that you can protect your business and its data from malicious actors.
Let’s jump in to the Top 5 biggest Cloud Security threats in 2022
1. Cloud Misconfigurations
One of the biggest security threats in the cloud is Cloud Misconfiguration. This includes things such as default passwords, poor access restrictions, mismanaged permissions, default users, etc. For example, an admin could be configuring a cloud firewall and accidentally allow outbound access into the network. The same admin could also have not enabled monitoring and logging so if they did get breached, they wouldn’t know how, or where it came from.
All the above examples are entirely preventable if you act with a sense of urgency and aren’t negligent. One of the first things you should do when migrating to a cloud environment is to get to know your Cloud. Learn about all the services, security settings, and permissions so that you don’t run into any issues later down the road. Additionally, it will be a good idea to regularly audit your cloud assets to ensure they are compliant with best security practices. At the end of the day, it will be on the user to ensure that their cloud is secure.
2. Data Loss
According to a recent CPO Magazine Survey, 66% of respondents have said that data leakage is one of their biggest cloud security concerns. Do you blame them? When you go with the Cloud, it will require your business to give up some of its control to the Cloud Service Provider. What this means is that some of the security of your business will be left in the hands of a third party outside of your IT department. This means that if your Cloud Service Provider were to be attacked, it could leave your business (and its data) vulnerable. The resulting damage that happens to your client’s intellectual property or personal information will be the responsibility of the business.
The best way you can protect against Data Loss is by implementing a Cloud-based Data Loss Prevention strategy. This would include implementing security tools into your business such as an Anti-Virus, Intrusion Detection and Prevention systems, firewalls, and ensuring your data is encrypted.
3. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks
DDoS can pose a tremendous threat to your business, but it leaves even more doors open from the Cloud perspective. Your business can be as secure as you make it to be, and you could have all the safeguards and best practices in place. However, if your Cloud Service Provider becomes susceptible to a DDoS attack, it means your critical business infrastructure and resources could come to a grinding halt because of something that isn’t even in your control. The good news is that most modern Cloud providers offer DDoS protection. It makes use of scrubbing centers around the world where traffic gets scrubbed near the source and not the destination. This means that the attacking traffic doesn’t come close to your servers.
The best way to prevent a DDoS attack from happening to your business is to have excess bandwidth on your internet connection. The more bandwidth you have, the harder it will be for malicious actors to flood your internet connection. Another, and perhaps more cost-efficient approach, would be to have a secondary circuit in-case the first one gets flooded. This way, business operations can proceed on the backup connection while the main connection gets fixed.
4. Poor Identity and Access Management Controls
An important aspect of securing your business is to have proper identity and access management controls. Failure to have these controls in place can often cause disaster for your business. A malicious actor could use a technique known as password spraying which is like a brute force attack, except it tries the same password on multiple accounts or systems. This can be detrimental if your business does not change the default password of user accounts or systems. If an attacker were to get into one of the accounts, they could move laterally to take hold of critical applications. Another threat would be if the business doesn’t have proper role-based access controls (RBAC) implemented, a compromised account could give the attacker access to much more sensitive data.
Understanding how you can prevent is crucial. Implementing a strong password policy and not leaving default passwords is a great way to prevent password spraying from working. Additionally, implementing biometric or multi-factor authentication would be another strong way to prevent attackers from gaining access. Finally, implementing a “least privilege” principle would make it so users and programs only have the necessary privileges to complete their tasks and nothing more.
5. Insecure API
APIs have become the new norm in IT infrastructure. As with anything new, it comes with new ways to be exploited. Many organizations will expose their APIs to the public so that third-party business partners and developers can access software platforms. While this is useful from a business perspective, it becomes a major risk from a security perspective as this adds an attack vector for malicious actors. To save time, developers will also often incorporate open-source software into their code. This becomes a security because if a developer chooses to download components from GitHub or Docker hubs, there is a potential it could be tainted with malicious code.
It’s important to educate software developers on how to secure their API. All APIs should be designed with some sort of encryption, authentication, and access control so that attackers can’t exploit them. From a security perspective, it’s incredibly important to implement security solutions that provide visibility into the network. This way security and network teams can identify and address any malicious API risks.
At the end of the day, businesses must remember that security is about due diligence and acting with a sense of urgency. Putting the proper security measures in place helps your business and your clients keep their data secure not become a statistic. Like it or not, the Cloud is the future and MTECH is here to help! Whether you are a start-up or a large enterprise, MTECH security professionals are ready to help you ensure that your business is in full compliance with government and industry-mandated requirements. Our ultimate goal is to deliver robust protection and support for our clients, regardless of industry or niche.
If you are looking to get in touch with industry professionals, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be happy to assist.
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