Almost all research reports emphasize the importance of cloud computing and adoption of various trends in order to make business operations more streamlined, cost-effective and equipped for larger bandwidth. Although cloud computing offers numerous advantages, corporates seem to play Jekyll and Hyde in many instances. This can be attributed to the fact that the technology also comes with its share of risks pertaining to security. Listed below are some of the main risks of cloud computing:
Data Loss: The loss of any data, whether pertaining to the company or its customers, can be devastating to a business. Data regardless of where it is stored is vulnerable to risks. Data stored in the cloud can be lost because of natural calamities like fires and floods, or also because of accidental deletion by a cloud service provider.
Traffic Hijacking: Most companies are subjected to security breaches because of phishing attempts on popular software. The cloud is also a bigger victim to such unscrupulous acts and phishing attempts because the applications and systems are placed outside the company’s security wall.
Loss of Ownership: There is a general belief that data stored outside or in an offsite location does not belong to a company, as does data stored within its premises. Working with a trusted service provider and with a foolproof service-agreement is a mandatory criterion.
Insecure APIs/Interfaces: The fundamental objective of cloud services is to make the service available to millions, while at the same time preventing any potential damage to stored data. The natural solution is to have a public facing application programming interface or API. Although Twitter, Google, Facebook and Microsoft employ APIs, security experts have warned that there is no completely secure API and regardless of security controls, they are all vulnerable to breaches.
Inadequate Due Diligence: It is important to understand the cloud service provider’s environment, protection, and controls. Unfortunately, many organizations embrace cloud without knowing what to expect from encryption use, security monitoring, and incident response. A lack of awareness about these factors can greatly magnify the risks.
- Prioritizing cloud security compliance by way of defining problems in the initial stage, accessing control, and prioritizing vulnerability testing, are essential. These steps can help in effectively managing risks to a large extent.
- Data Loss can be better handled through an elaborate back-up program within a larger continuity of the business plan. Reviewing records retention program, location of equipment, and environmental risks, is also necessary.
- Service traffic hijacking is better controlled by exercising tight supervision over user access controls. This policy should outline user authorizations, access reviews, and user IDs, as well as revocations. This is why multi-factor authentication helps.
The benefits of cloud computing are indisputable and the trends in this direction will continue to grow in the years to come. However, concerns with security need to be better tackled through strong user access controls, enhanced hardware technology, and continuous process audits.