- The benefits of cloud computing are not in any way new in the eyes of most modern businessmen and entrepreneurs. As a matter of fact, cloud computing is one of the many possibilities available with today’s technology that have driven the current transitions being witnessed as a part of enterprise digitalization. However, cloud computing is not perfect and computer technologies are susceptible to quite a number of concerning threats. Of all the risks, data protection and overall loud security have been the main emphasis. A research carried out in 2011 by Subashni and Kavitha listed security risks as the main factors contributing to a slowed pace of adopting cloud technology. The shift to online OPEX operations and environments involve transfers of several databases containing big data which include confidential details.
Here is a quick survey of the most apparent vulnerabilities and risks associated with cloud computing.
Traditional businesses required entrepreneurs to higher comprehensive security plans for their premise businesses. These services were enough to protect the structure from intrusion and access to company files. Cloud computing still requires that level of security as well as a new level of cloud security is needed to protect online activities and data contained in cloud storage platforms. Security has been an issue of concern all along and with the increasing activities of hackers and data thieves, more emphasis has been laid on the matter. Ensuring apt and ultimate cloud security is paramount for every business engaging in cloud computing. There are various vulnerabilities in terms of security issues. SaaS applications and other cloud computing service delivery software are characterized by various opportunities for attacks and unauthorized access to restricted data. Malicious software developed by hackers and espionage spies have also flooded all corners of the cloud. When your business falls victim to attack, it can suffer irrecoverable losses.
Some of the associated security risks include loss of data, access to confidential information, identity theft and disorganization among others. A few statistical evidences of companies that have suffered security issues of cloud computing interactions are as follows;
- In 2009, salesforce faced a major breakdown in their security. They locked over 900,000 users from accessing basic important cloud computing applications that are required to complete routine transactions (Ferguson 2009).
- In the same year, the Sidekick smartphone, which had about 800,000 users at the time, temporarily lost crucial user data that was used to access cloud services. Recovery took over two weeks and some users permanently lost their data (Cellan-Jones 2009).
There are many other companies that have been faced by security exploits like access to users’ credit information, identity theft and recovery of confidential data though to have been destroyed. Since one of the business goals is to protect its name and assure credibility, most breaches often go unreported once a quick recovery action plans have been enforced. Nonetheless, this does not mask the fact that security threats have become prevalent. To get more information about cloud computing risk, go to Simplilearn free resource article.
Cloud computing vulnerabilities and risks are heavily focused on the security of confidential information contained in different clouds used by the business. Vulnerabilities are present in a number of areas including web applications and service platforms that are used to support on-demand service delivery. These services are usually accessed through ubiquitous networks such as the internet using internet protocols. Besides, cloud computing is characterized by resource pooling where all service users share available resources. To achieve this, rapid elasticity is used to scale up or scale down resources and resource utilization is in constant monitoring using special meters. Optimization of resource usage and pay-as-you-go interactions is the principle value of using cloud technologies. Vulnerabilities are often categorized as cloud-specific and their placement is in the core cloud technologies that include web applications, cryptography and virtualization. Vulnerabilities can be specific and inherent to the particular technology or general state-of-the-art application and implementation. Three broad vulnerabilities are in the following forms;
- Insecure and obsolete cryptography where encryptions are easily broken and security boundaries crossed
- Virtual machine escape
- Session ridding and hijacking
The virtual nature of using and implementing cloud technologies allow the escape of hackers and perpetrators. This virtual environment favors machine escape and attackers are much harder to trace. The vulnerability is thus intrinsic to cloud computing. Attackers can also find loopholes in strong cryptographic algorithms. When these loopholes are exploited, a very strong encryption and security system can quickly turn into an easy to break code that makes it possible to override sensors and barriers that restrict entry into unauthorized clouds. Cloud computing vulnerabilities are often characterized by a number of occurrences that include;
- Unauthorized entry into management interfaces used in delivering on-demand web services.
- Internet protocols allowing effortless network access by the man-in-the-middle.
- Data recovery where other people can recover pieces of information written by previous users.
The cloud thrives on resource sharing where the same resources are allocated to another user of the service once your session ends. While this is a prime advantage, it also provides opportunity for data recovery and access of confidential data. Cloud security technologies are evolutionary and so are the attach schemes. A business must therefore keep up with new vulnerabilities and risks as well as techniques used in avoiding them.
Reducing cloud computing vulnerabilities and risk elusion
Most cloud analysts agree that there is only one way to reduce risks, which starts with knowing the existing vulnerabilities. Wolfgang Kendek, Qualys and CTO conducted a series of researches back in 2009 about The Law of Vulnerabilities. In their findings, they stated that awareness of all present vulnerabilities is the best mechanism of preventing attacks. Once you know these vulnerabilities, you can go ahead to device action plans for protection of information and recovery in case of breaches. Find the classification of cloud computing vulnerabilities, types and nature of security risks involved and best ways to prevent attacks specific to the vulnerability. Constant research and implementation of developing trends in cloud security and recovery is also paramount.
The cloud has several advantages, vulnerabilities and risks alike. However, all business platforms are faced by this same characteristic. It is therefore upon you to identify best practices in protecting your networks and confidential information. These threats can be managed to prevent devastating violation and losses. Use advanced cryptographic algorithms from expert security solution providers and have various risk management plans at play.