Cloud Computing and Data Security: Threats and Precautionary Measures

Cloud Computing | Data Security

Cloud computing is continuously transforming organizational practices in terms of storing and sharing data, applications, and workloads. It has eased organizational activities along with introducing a variety of new security threats and challenges. There is a tremendous flow of data in the cloud, especially into the public cloud services. This has made these resources natural targets for bad actors.
Each passing day, the volume of cloud usage is constantly increasing. This automatically leads to a huge amount of sensitive data being put into risk. Many might think that the prime responsibility of protecting corporate data lies with the service provider. But, in fact, it is the cloud customer who is responsible for protecting the data.
Threats and Concerns in Cloud Computing
In spite of all the advantages that it provides, cloud computing comes with its own share of threats and security risks. Concerned authorities should be cautious about these factors to ensure a seamless implementation of cloud computing technologies.
Risk of Data Breach
Data breach may occur when malicious actors may attack a cloud system. It may also occur due to human errors, application malfunctions, or inefficient security measures. Sometimes, hackers may hack into the cloud system and steal or release any kind of information which was not supposed to be released in public (including private information, crucial organizational data, trade secrets, and so on).
Threat of Hijacked Account
Account hijacking is a comparatively common concern in this digitally connected global world. But, hijacking of cloud servers adds a new threat to this scenario. Attackers may hijack a user’s account and monitor their activities and transactions, manipulate data, and provide false information to the users. They may even steal a user’s credentials and compromise the confidentiality and integrity of a cloud service.
Loss of Data
Loss of data is another threat concerning cloud computing verticals. There can be many reasons because of which data stored in the cloud can be lost. Other than malicious attacks, there can be accidental deletion by the service provider, or physical disasters can also lead to permanent loss of the gathered data.
Mischievous Activities of Insiders
The threat of data security may not only emerge from external sources; in fact, an insider may also surface as an adversary. A malicious insider may access sensitive data and critical systems, and may also expose them to the outside world. Such actors may pose a greater threat to systems that depend on cloud service providers for security.
Advanced Persistent Threats to Cloud Computing Technologies
Cloud computing systems are also under the risk of being attacked by Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs). APT is a cyber-attack that penetrates systems and establishes a stronghold in the IT framework of target companies, from which they steal data. ATPs often adapt to the security measures for protecting the system, and accomplish their objectives undetected.
Preventing and Effectively Overcoming the Cloud-Related Threats
Although cloud computing technologies are marching ahead rapidly, the danger of cloud security breaches is still looming at large. The growing risks of data security call for the implementation of protective measures that can deal with the emerging threats. Organizations have to take the necessary step towards ensuring safe and secure utilization of cloud technologies. They have to implement various strategies to prevent cloud security threats within their organizations.
Framing a Secure Data Backup Plan
Companies should make sure that they have a secure backup of the data. With the evolution of cloud technologies, the threat of permanent data loss is getting higher gradually. Concerned authorities should make sure that a secure backup of the data is kept. A security platform can be developed that would allow the authority to implement consistent data protection policies across the cloud.
Data is Accessed only by the Designated Person           
In order to ensure flawless data security, organizations should make sure that only the right person has access to the data. Managers should maintain a proper record of who has access to the data, what are they trying to access, and what are they doing with the data. They should establish access controls to manage the risk. Implementing smartphone access and single sign on authentication capabilities can play a crucial role in maintaining data security.
Cloud Encryption: A Key Element
Cloud encryption is essential for data protection. It can assist in transforming data and text using encryption algorithms and transferring them to a storage cloud. Organizations can encrypt at the network’s edge and make ensure safe movement of the data in the cloud. After data encryption, they can keep the keeps that encrypt and decipher the information.
Educating the Employees
An important reason for data breaches and security threats is ignorance of employees. By educating the employees about data security and the risks associated with it, organizations can teach the employees proper defense practices and can minimize the risks of cloud data breaches. Involving the entire company in framing security plans, and running unannounced security check-ups can play an indispensable part in employee involvement and enhancing their role in data security procedures.
Data should be arranged based on sensitivity and the appropriate data security strategies should be applied based on the class of data. Proper research and analysis of what is at stake and implementation of appropriate cloud security measures can assist in effective management of cloud data and manage risks efficiently.

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