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Tim Jester
October 4th, 2018

Cloud computing is a vital development that is central to our technology-focused future. But lax cloud security strategies can bring entire systems to their knees.

The cloud has already proved to be a transformative technology across many sectors, and its influence is spreading quickly.

This means that the need to know how to protect cloud-based data is more crucial than ever before. As the cloud becomes increasingly prevalent in our society, it’s more important than ever that effective cloud security strategies are in place.

Here’s are the 10 threats that could undermine your efforts – and how to avoid them.

  1. Humans and Passwords

You can spend years perfecting your cloud security strategies. But generally, all it takes is one human failing to bring it crashing down. Weak passwords are a common failing.

Brute force and dictionary attacks occur where access is gained by a computer system on ‘autopilot’. It inputs as many passwords (either random strings or from a set of ‘dictionary’ words) as possible in a short space of time.

These types of attacks were up 400% in 2017.

You can help to prevent this type of attack succeeding by introducing new training in your workplace. This should teach users about selecting good passwords, never to share their passwords, and so on.

However, since humans are humans, you can also consider restricting the number of failed login attempts before the system locks the account. This adds an extra layer of security to your system.

  1. Phishing

Phishing is where an email purports to be something its not. It might present itself as coming from your IT team. For example, it might ask to ‘borrow’ a user’s password because they need to check the account.

You can help to stop people falling for phishing scams with training programs. But people will still fall for it.

You need to implement sensible access protocols. This minimizes the damage an intruder can cause. For example, if you have someone working in your operations team, you might want them to make changes to your database.

Restrict their access so that they’re only able to pull up individual results using unique search identifiers. Don’t give them access to view the whole database or download it.

Some people in your organization won’t need access to that data at all. Your HR staff for example, may not need access to operational data. So don’t give it to them.

Properly administrating user accounts and access to data gives you greater control and security.

  1. Vulnerabilities in Your Systems

If there are ways to exploit your systems, and you have something worth stealing, you’re a target.

In fact, you’re a target even if your data isn’t worth stealing. Some hackers are in it for the thrill of the hunt.

By clearly separating out the resources that you store in the cloud, rather than putting everything in one ‘box’, you can minimize damage.

A successful attack would only get into one part of your data, not everything at once, with secure storage protocols in place.

That’s the worst-case scenario though. Routine testing, security consultants and a fast response to newly discovered exploitable bugs are all preventative measures your business needs to take.

  1. Malicious and Abandoned Users

Had to let anyone go recently? Or are there a bunch of old accounts sitting around from previous employees?

Accounts which are no longer in use pose a security threat. Without an active user monitoring them, there’s less chance someone will realize that it has been compromised.

Be sure to delete or archive old user accounts. If you don’t delete them entirely, change their access permissions so that they’re useless to attackers.

In cases where you’ve had to fire someone, there’s also the chance they’ll not feel great about that. De-activating their account right away prevents any retaliation.

  1. Third Party Breaches

How could breaches of other people’s platforms affect you?

Well, if you use platforms like DropBox, you might know that they’re just as prone to breaches as anyone else.

If your login credentials are being exposed, and these details are the same as those you use to log in to your own systems… you have a problem.

This highlights the need to impress on your staff the need to remember to use different passwords. Or a secure password manager.

  1. DDoS

Distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDoS) don’t pose a major threat to your data itself.

However, an attack of this kind can take your whole business offline if everything is stored in the cloud.

DDoS floods the target with requests, making it completely unavailable to users.

The separate structures we talked about in point 3 could be useful. If you split out your data, if one part is attacked, other parts may still be useable. So your whole system doesn’t grind to a halt.

Meanwhile, backup data strategies could help to stop you losing data that was being written to the cloud when the attack occured.

Data Breaches: Avoid at All Costs

As a consequence of the risks we’ve set out above – or attacks in other forms – data breaches can occur.

This is where data is leaked or stolen. This might include sensitive information about clients, intellectual property and finance information about your business.

A data breach can be incredibly damaging to your business. You might face fines for failing to comply with data handling laws. Your reputation will be tarnished for some time to come.

This is why managing your cloud security strategies is so vital.

Support for Your Cloud Security Strategies

You need to make sure your security strategies are dealing with all major threats and are kept up to date.

Identity access management (IAM) is a crucial part of this.

Your employees need to have the right access to your business data and assets. Our customized solutions provide you with a secure system that allows you to stay compliant and be in control.

Contact us today to learn more about how IAM solutions can help your business be smarter and safer.