There are a number of key data security issues to be aware of in cloud computing. Find out more about what they are and how to protect your data in the cloud.
With the proliferation of online activity, more and more information is saved as data every day, meaning that more is being stored in the cloud than ever before, opposed to hardware. There are three types of cloud: public, private and hybrid. Public cloud is the most common, in which resources such as servers and storage – including all hardware, software and supporting infrastructure – are owned and operated by third-party providers. Private cloud refers to resources that are operated by a single organization but may be hosted by third parties. Hybrid cloud amalgamates the two, offering the ability to move data between public and private clouds. Sensitive information can be privately hosted by the organization, while other services can be stored in other public clouds, external to the company.
Data security in cloud computing, such as antivirus for cloud systems, works to protect digital information from any threats that could jeopardize its integrity. Data that is stored online often holds private information – such as addresses, payment details and medical documentation – that becomes the target of cyber criminals. Security capabilities are put in place to combat cyber threats and vulnerabilities, ensuring data is not leaked which could endanger those whose private information has been released.
When data is in transit, meaning it is actively moving between locations, it needs to be protected. When data travels between networks – cellular, WiFi or other – it is often deemed as less secure as it can fall outside of a firewall, meaning cloud security and privacy are more at risk. When finding a security function to protect your information, you should ensure it also covers data when in transit. Many safeguarding features opt to encrypt data within the cloud infrastructure when on the move to protect it.
What are the security issues in cloud computing?
There are a number of security issues involved with cloud computing that can place data in danger and make it more vulnerable to attacks. For example, data in transit often falls at risk when, in the process of moving locations, it is no longer covered by a firewall. As the cloud was designed to be used by multiple users, this makes it more susceptible to attacks, as multi-user means multi-access. With more people – and more devices – having access to the cloud, the danger of cyber criminals entering the infrastructure increases.
When the safety of data is compromised within the cloud, this can lead to attacks such as leaked data. If the cloud service – or a connected device – is breached, sensitive data has been accessed. If a cyber criminal has access to this information, they could choose to distribute it. When the data in storage is transferred, either electronically or physically, it becomes leaked. As the cloud does not use hardware, cyber criminals can leak cloud data online or by remembering information and distributing it later. Also known as low and slow data theft, data leakage is a common danger in cloud computing.
Personal health information (PHI), personally identifiable information (PII), trade secrets and intellectual property are often the targets of data breaches and require some of the highest levels of security in cloud computing.
Another common cloud storage security risk is data loss. As opposed to information being stolen and distributed, it is erased entirely. This could either be the result of hacking, a virus or a system failure – this poses an issue when data is not backed up, highlighting the importance of securing cloud services. However, if a cyber criminal is targeting specific data, they may target the backup as well.
Data loss can be damaging for a business – the information can be difficult or impossible to recover, and you may find recovery attempts use a lot of time, money and resources. Some data may have to be recreated, and others may be found in hard copy formats that need converting. Data loss can be very disruptive to workflow.
Cryptojacking is a form of threat that uses resources to mine cryptocurrencies. The threat can control cloud networks to hack web browsers and compromise endpoints. This can happen if there are weaknesses in security and the cloud infrastructure becomes vulnerable, enabling devices to be hacked without the user’s knowledge to mine cryptocurrencies.
While cryptomining is legal, this mining activity can then use up a lot of resources, hence why cyber criminals opt to mine on devices that aren’t theirs. You may find you have higher electricity bills, lower battery life and slower processes. Cryptomining can be a profitable business, however, in order to be successful, you will likely have to spend a lot in advance on the resources you use.
Other security considerations
Data laws vary across the world. In many regions, legislation states the responsibility for safeguarding data lies with the company storing it. In this case, you may be required to have the appropriate protection against cloud computing security attacks to avoid any issues with the law, such as compliance violations, as well as your own peace of mind.
Customer and client trust
As businesses are legally required to disclose if they have been subject to a data breach, clients will know how secure companies’ security measures are. This can have a huge impact on trust and retention, as 87% of consumers will take their business elsewhere if they don’t trust how a company with their data. By being able to showcase how secure your operations are, you are more likely to get new customers and keep your existing ones.
As a direct result of losing clients, businesses may also face revenue loss. This could also be the result of the attack itself – paying compensation to those affected by the leak or loss of their sensitive information, the resources and technology used to fix the problem and updating the security platform. Other expenses could also include lawsuits and marketing campaigns to rebuild reputation.
The average cost of a cyber-attack reached $13m in 2018, increasing by $1.4m from 2017 – installing security software could end up saving you millions.
How do I protect my data in the cloud?
There are several key features that a strong antivirus can offer to provide ultimate data security in the cloud.
If working in real-time, a security solution can keep your data safe at all times. With advanced scanning and detection, the automated process can remove human error – saving time and improving accuracy. Real-time updates will alert of any issues as soon as they arise, allowing you to respond as soon as possible. Real-time software offers constant monitoring and response, leaving no gap in protection.
However, in the event that data is lost, it is important that data backup is featured in a business’ data policy. Enforcing a policy in which employees backup their work – either online or on hardware – can help save time, money and resources when managing data loss.
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Avast Business Team, 18 April 2020