Despite the progress made in the field of cloud computing, there are still many issues related to cloud security. By adopting certain practices, the cloud remains the most reliable IT option for businesses. Here are the best software and practices for cloud security.
Absolute security does not exist. Data leaks can occur within virtual machines, and personal information from customers or corporate confidential data can be stolen. It is possible for a virtual machine user to listen to the activity signaling the arrival of an encryption key on another VM of the same host. So far, however, this technique has never been used for major data leaks.
Nevertheless, this prospect discourages many companies from adopting cloud computing. Unfortunately, measures to prevent leakage or theft of data can exacerbate these threats. For example, encryption protects data from theft, but the loss of the encryption key results in an irreparable loss of data. Similarly, regular copies can prevent the loss of data, but expose them to theft.
A data leak is usually the result of an outside attack. On the other hand, data loss can occur when a hard disk stops working and the user has not made a backup, or when an encryption key is lost. There are methods to avoid these losses, but none are foolproof.
Phishing, exploiting software vulnerabilities or password losses can lead to cloud account theft. An intruder who takes control of an account can manipulate the data as it sees fit, interact with customers or send them to competing sites.
Hackers may also seize an entire service and compromise its confidentiality, integrity or availability. There are several ways to avoid this type of inconvenience. The best method is to prohibit the sharing of credentials between users, including trusted business partners, and to implement two-factor authentication techniques.
To prevent anonymous users from attacking cloud services, a public API has been put in place to define how third parties connect an application to a service and verify the identity of that third party. Leading web developers, including those from Twitter and Google, have collaborated to create OAuth, an open authorization service for web services to control third-party access.
OAuth became a standard Internet Engineering Task Force in 2010, and Version 2.0 is used by some Google services, Twitter, Facebook and Microsoft. However, there is no perfectly secure public API. Depend on OAuth may expose a company to security issues related to the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of its services.
Denial of service
DDOS attacks involve sending millions of automated queries to a service to saturate it. In addition, for a cloud service, the company can receive an astronomical bill for resources used during the attack. These attacks are becoming more sophisticated and difficult to detect before it is too late.
The ill-intentioned employees
A company is never safe from a malicious employee, ready to steal unscrupulous data from within. To avoid this disaster, the best course of action is to keep the encryption keys on a physical storage medium and not on the cloud. Firms who put their security back in the hands of a cloud provider are exposed to increased risk.
The abuse of cloud services
Cracking an encryption key with limited hardware can take years. However, hackers also have access to cloud services, and can use cloud servers to crack these keys in minutes. They can also use these servers to launch malware, DDoS attacks, or to distribute pirated software.
Cloud service providers are responsible for avoiding such abuses, but it is difficult to detect inappropriate uses. Be that as it may, companies need to check how a cloud service provider responds to such abuse before choosing it as a partner.
The lack of precautions
Many companies go into the cloud without really understanding what that decision entails. If they do not fully understand the offer from a vendor, they do not know what to expect in the event of an incident, encryption, and monitoring. The firm is therefore exposed to increased risks.
Attacks on shared cloud infrastructures compromise more than the attacked client. The entire company is exposed to data leaks. It is recommended to adopt a thorough defensive strategy and surveillance measures.
5 tips to ensure cloud security
Adopt a secure-by-design approach
Companies must learn to identify controls that provide direct access to information. Adopting a so-called secure-by-design approach from the outset makes it possible to meet security needs. Such an approach also facilitates the implementation of cloud resiliency and auditing solutions.
Determine alternative deployment locations to redeploy images to quickly
It’s important to determine alternative deployment environments, and make sure to select a cloud vendor that does not impose onerous conditions to be able to change them when needed. By remaining flexible, the company ensures that it can react to changing conditions without interrupting its activity.