Top 10 Cloud Security Risks in 2023 & How to Tackle Them

Sudeep Srivastava January 3, 2023
cloud security risks

Industries of all types and sizes are using the cloud these days for a variety of services. It could be used for data backups, data analytics, software development, or as a virtual desk. But with such convenience always comes the risk of security. Is the data entered into the cloud secure enough? Who has access to it, and how protected is it?

As companies migrate their data to the cloud, security concerns such as accidental exposure of credentials and data loss have become more common than ever. Over the past few years, cyber threats have increased in number making cloud security solutions essential for businesses.

As reported by Statista, the global cloud security software market was valued at $29.5 billion in 2020 and is poised to reach $37 billion by 2026.

So, your organization must have a strong strategy to protect itself against cloud security threats and ensure business continuity. But to have a strong security strategy in place, you first must be aware about the top cloud security issues and their possible solutions in 2023.

Let’s dive in!

What are the top 10 cloud security risks in 2023 and how to mitigate them?

Top Cloud Security Priorities for Companies in 2022

1. Data Breach

When your organization’s confidential data is accessed and used without your knowledge or consent, we call it a data breach. It is basically a theft, which mostly happens due to weak credentials or highly complex accessibility systems, which can give wrong permissions to the wrong people.

It can also be due to the entry of malware into your system. In this, most attacks are directed at data systems, as this is what attackers value. Inadequate cloud configuration or no protection at runtime can leave data vulnerable to theft.

Different types of information have different consequences when compromised. Identity thieves and phishers purchase sensitive data like Social Security numbers and medical records from criminals on the dark web.

Internal documents and emails contain sensitive information that could be used to ruin a company’s good name and drive down its stock price if it fell into the wrong hands. Regardless of the motivation for the theft, breaches pose a serious risk to businesses that store data in the cloud.

What is the solution?

  • Encryptions

With encryption at the network’s edge, sensitive information can be safeguarded even before it leaves your company’s premises and makes its way to the cloud. Once your data is encrypted, you should hold on to the keys that can be used to encrypt and decrypt the data.

You should never keep encryption keys in the same program as your sensitive information. Apart from ensuring they possess encryption keys, IT departments should regularly assess the efficacy of existing encryption protocols.

  • Multi-factor Authentication

Not just identification and access, credentials must be also provided by the user. For instance, entering a password and then getting a notification containing a one-time use key of numbers. These days, this is one of the standard requirements to mitigate cloud security risks. Know how you can implement a multifactor authentication system in your mobile app.

Studies indicate that 25% of data security breaches are through phishing.

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2. Compliance Violation

Companies run a high risk of severe consequences if they fall into a state of noncompliance. Regulations like PCI DSS and HIPAA that protect sensitive data must be followed by all organizations.

Compliance with these regulations may require you to create an isolated part of the network that is only accessible by authorized staff members. Many organizations place restrictions on access and what individuals can do when given access to ensure compliance standards are followed.

If compliance regulations are not followed, the business might have to face penalties and fines which can have a detrimental impact on the business. Unfortunately, not all cloud service providers adhere to all security standards set by the industry. A significant problem arises when a cloud-based service is added without checking its compliance with all applicable legal standards.

What is the solution?

  • Ensure effective compliance

Most businesses have implemented privacy and compliance policies to safeguard their resources. Furthermore, a governance framework should define roles and responsibilities inside the business and ensure that these rules comply.

Note each employee’s roles and responsibilities in a set of policies. It must also specify how they communicate with one another.

[It might also interest you to read how you can create a PCI DSS-compliant and HIPAA-compliant application.]

3. Data Loss

Losing data is the biggest risk that is, at most times, irreversible. The data can be lost due to various reasons – the vulnerability of the databases, storage on the non-dependable cloud storage service provider, losing or deleting the data accidentally, or losing your credentials to access the data.

Our extensive guide on Data Loss Prevention and its best practices can help you understand various security constraints and how to approach them.

Though a great benefit and essential to cloud-based collaboration is the simplicity with which you may share information via the cloud. However, it gives rise to significant privacy and security problems, and this is the main issue that businesses have with the cloud. When sharing information via public links or a cloud-based repository is set to public, anybody with the link can access it, and there are tools designed to scour the web for such insecure cloud deployments.

What is the solution?

  • Enforce Privacy Policies

The success of any business depends on its ability to keep private and sensitive data safe. An organization’s storage of personally identifiable information is vulnerable to hacking and other forms of security breaches. When a cloud service provider needs to provide sufficient security safeguards, businesses should either go elsewhere or refrain from storing any sensitive data with them.

  • Backups

The best approach to prevent data loss in most of its forms is through regular data backups. You require a schedule for backing up the data and a precise definition of what data will be backed up and what will not. For automation, use data loss prevention software.

[Also Read: How can enterprises protect their data in cloud environments?]

4. Attack Surface

What we call an environment’s overall vulnerability is called its attack surface. The attack surface grows with each new task. In some cases, the amount of openly accessible workload can increase after microservices are used. If you don’t keep it well-managed, your infrastructure may be vulnerable in ways you are unaware of once it is attacked.

A call at this hour is the last thing anyone wants.

Subtle information leaks that open the door to an attack also constitute part of the attack surface. Because of the inherent nature of the internet and the cloud, you always leave yourself vulnerable to outside attacks.

It could be crucial to the daily functioning of your company, but you should keep an eye on it.

What is the solution?

  • Proper Network Segmentation and Security

Create security zones in each of your environments and only allow traffic that is necessary and appropriate to pass past the firewall. If possible, provide each application environment (development, staging, and production) its own cloud account.

  • Leverage the Principle of Least Privilege

With purpose, provide access and resources. A developer who is merely deploying code, for example, shouldn’t have administrative access to the entire cloud account. A developer shouldn’t also have constant access to a working environment. Just provide them with what they require. Tools are available to aid in properly sizing accounts and users.

5. Insecure APIs

Application and API Attack Patterns

Apart from allowing businesses to customize their cloud service, application programming interfaces or APIs also enable access, authentication, and encryption. As APIs advance to better serve users, they also pose a greater security risk to the data store.

Your data and systems could be compromised if you rely on cloud services with unsecured APIs. Usually, these are well-documented for the ease of usage of customers but if not appropriately secured, they can cause critical issues. To break into an API, hackers typically employ one of three methods: brute force, denial of service, or man in the middle. Your cloud security solutions must be able to tackle these three methods.

What is the solution?

  • Fake Breach

Penetration testing that simulates an external assault on a set of API endpoints with the goal of breaching the security and gaining access to the organization’s confidential data will give you an idea of how secure the system is and what improvement is needed.

  • Assessment of General System Security

The regular audits that you should do must include checking the system and its layers of security to ensure it won’t let anyone break into the APIs.

In case you wish to get further insights into how to tackle API security risks, hop on to our blog, The top API security risks and how to mitigate them.

6. Misconfiguration

As time goes on, more and more services will be made available in a cloud environment. Today, it’s common for businesses to work with multiple vendors.

Each service has a unique implementation and subtleties that can vary greatly from one provider to the next. Threat actors will continue to take advantage of security flaws in cloud infrastructure unless and until businesses improve their cloud security practices.

What is the solution?

  • Double-check Your Security

When setting up a specific cloud server, double-check the settings for cloud security. Even though it appears apparent, it is ignored in favor of more pressing matters like putting goods in storage without giving the security of their contents a second thought.

7. Limited Visibility of Cloud Usage

When information and assets are transferred to the cloud, some visibility and control over these assets are lost. Limited Cloud visibility is a risk that most organizations fear because it leads to two main challenges:

  1. It causes ‘shadow IT’ or unsanctioned use of the cloud by the employees.
  2. It leads to misuse of the cloud by users authorized to use the cloud.

Limited visibility can be a cause of data breaches and data loss because it opens risks that are linked to poor governance and lack of security. The worst part is that these blind spots do not allow a timely alert when security issues, breaches, performance or compliance problems occur.

What is the solution?

  • Data Security Audit

Find out if your cloud service provider regularly audits the security controls in place to safeguard the personal data and sensitive files stored by end users across their networks. If they don’t, look elsewhere for a partner who can provide full transparency regarding the security measures implemented by their system administrators. You want to safeguard yourself from the risks of cloud computing at all costs.

  • Risk Assessment and Analysis

You must do a risk assessment at regular intervals to keep a check on potential risks. Make sure you also have a plan in place to mitigate these risks that arise out of partial transparency.

8. Contract Breaches with Business Partners

The use of data and the individuals who are permitted access to it are both limited by the terms of contracts between businesses and their customers. By storing sensitive information in personal cloud storage without proper authorization, employees put their employer and themselves in danger of legal action.

Confidentiality clauses in commercial contracts often break. And this is especially true if the cloud provider reserves the right to disclose any and all submitted data to any interested party.

What is the solution?

  • Interoperability

Make sure your vendors can cooperate when you source several cloud providers for the same services. Don’t forget to include coverage for data transfer after termination. A lack of standardized data standards can make data movement between clouds laborious. It is crucial to ensure timely and reliable access to your data and to define your obligations in relation to those of your provider.

  • Data Security

Terms laid down in contracts should take into account internal and external attacks as well as human mistakes. It is sometimes necessary to take into account that a breach caused by a disgruntled employee may be worse than one caused by an outside attack.

9. Hijacking of Accounts

Hijacking of Accounts

Password reuse and simple passwords are only two examples of poor password hygiene that plague many people. Since you can use a single stolen password across several accounts, this issue magnifies the damage done by phishing attacks and data breaches.

As businesses rely more on cloud-based infrastructure and apps, account hijacking has become a major threat to cloud security. Suppose an attacker gains access to an employee’s credentials. In that case, they may have access to sensitive information or capabilities, and if a customer’s credentials are compromised, the attacker gains complete access to the customer’s online account. Also, unlike on-premises infrastructure, cloud environments sometimes provide different visibility into and control over security concerns.

What is the solution?

  • Contingency Planning

In the event of any major emergencies, such as natural disasters or terrorist attacks, you need your cloud security risk management to play. Make sure your online storage provider has a business continuity plan that outlines its strategy for protecting information stored within its servers. Ask them how frequently they test this cloud security risk management strategy to make sure everything functions properly.

  • Access Management

Set a distinct layout of access management. The layout of access management defines the information’s accessibility for various users. For instance, the quality assurance department’s protocols shouldn’t be accessible to the marketing department and vice versa.

10. Denial of Service Attack (DoS Attack)

DoS is likely to happen in outdated systems that get overwhelmed with data and stop functioning properly because of the overload. It is not really synonymous with hacking but the outcome of such an attack is that it renders the system unusable or inaccessible.

The denial-of-service attack’s goal is to prevent users from using the programs or interfering with their workflow. The two main categories of DoS attacks are:

  • Forceful attacks from various origins
  • Complicated attacks aimed at exploiting system processes such as content delivery

System resources are wasted during a DoS attack, which can result in a number of speed and stability issues. It makes it difficult to load applications or makes it difficult to pinpoint the source of disruption.

You are probably facing a DoS when you are:

  • having trouble loading a specific website
  • facing a rapid loss of connectivity amongst devices connected to the same network

What is the solution?

  • Intrusion Detection System

Businesses utilize intrusion detection systems to protect against DoS assaults. According to the user’s credentials and behavioral variables, this system assists in identifying unusual traffic and provides an early warning. It is often referred to as a break-in alert for cloud security risk management.

  • Firewall Traffic Inspection

Examining incoming traffic through a firewall to determine its origin or to identify good or harmful traffic in order to aid in traffic sorting and the elimination of unwanted traffic can help prevent DoS. Blocking the IP addresses that could launch an assault also aids in preventing a DoS attack.

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Leverage Appinventiv’s experience for secure cloud services

At Appinventiv, we understand the need for secure cloud computing services with a sturdy architecture that does not easily break down. Our in-house team of expert engineers and designers has gained immense experience in delivering 200+ cloud-based application deliveries managing and designing sturdy cloud architectures for multiple international brands.

For instance, we developed a secure cloud-based ERP solution for one of the biggest furniture retailers, IKEA. While working on a private IP address, we created a solution that enabled every store to work independently while staying collaborative.

Similarly, by providing a secure cloud-based data analytics services solution, we enabled the leading telecom service provider with a solution that reduced their hardware and maintenance costs by 26%.

With a team of certified cloud professionals that works with a mission of constant innovation providing mature solutions, get a reliable and secure cloud solution to eliminate all cloud security issues. We provide complete access to all of your cloud data in real time and offer a scalable solution to your cloud. The cloud will also support all major integrations, which can help you reduce a variety of cloud computing security risks.

FAQs

Q. Is the cloud safe for my data?

A. Since companies like Amazon and Google can hire skilled engineers and automate many of their procedures, the clouds are typically more secure than most private data centers. Additionally, cloud infrastructure providers provide tools and architectural choices for workload isolation, data encryption, and cloud security threat detection.

On the other hand, public clouds work on a shared responsibility model, where the user is responsible for protecting the data and applications stored on the cloud. Depending on the cloud computing tier, this split of security duties changes.

IT teams must go through a learning curve to implement cloud computing because the method for securing a cloud environment differs from more conventional data center procedures. The most frequent vulnerability to cloud security is unauthorized access to resources.

Q. What essential questions should I ask my cloud service provider regarding cloud security risks and measures?

A. While the questions can vary as per your requirements, use the following questions as a guide:

  • What specific data transmission encryptions are included in the cloud?
  • Where are the servers physically located?
  • Who can access the data in the cloud?
  • What action will be taken in case of security violation?
  • How are GUIs and APIs protected?
  • What level of technical support is available?
  • What is my company’s role in data protection?

Q. What workload should I shift to the cloud?

A. You could move any workload to a cloud architecture. To meet all necessary regulatory compliances, you will need to pay particular attention to the implications of cloud migration, and that its architecture keeps your data secure.

THE AUTHOR
Sudeep Srivastava
Co-Founder and Director
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