Cloud computing has long been considered a benefit in the business sector. With the cloud, a team can streamline their workloads and collaborate more easily, and the cloud leads to significant space and cost savings. It should be no surprise that around 90% of businesses plan to expand their cloud usage in the coming years, especially now that COVID-19 has ushered in a new era of remote work.
However, it is important to remember that cloud computing does have some inherent security risks. These include:
- Issues with visibility
- Malware and virus risks
- Accessibility problems
- The risk of data loss
Before you move your business’s workloads or data onto a cloud system, take the time to address these potential pitfalls.
One of the primary tasks data security professionals do each day is monitor network logins. This tells them who accessed the network at any given time, which can help the organization identify possible bad actors in the event of a cyber attack.
When you shift your workloads and other company data to a cloud, you no longer have access to that login information. Instead, the cloud service provider will be the one recording and monitoring logins, and there’s no way to be sure that they are watching as carefully as your SOC analysts would.
In a worst-case scenario (one where your cloud provider isn’t tracking your network logins), you might have no leads to help you in the aftermath of a hacking or other attacks. This is why it’s so important to thoroughly research your cloud service provider. Find out what kind of security they offer to their customers, and find out their policies for handling cyber security breaches.
In 2020, malware-based cyber attacks increased 358%. That figure is astounding, and it demonstrates just how important it is to prepare your business for a potential threat. However, most businesses don’t seem to recognize the danger, and so they move everything — even their most sensitive data — onto the cloud.
Here’s the reality: malware attacks are fairly common for cloud services. If you upload your organization’s data to a cloud, you are inherently putting that data at greater risk than if you kept it on a private server. This is why it’s so important to have a cyber security professional on your team; even if you use the cloud to share and store information, your security department can help protect your data via encryption or other protective measures.
Access and Compliance
If your business handles sensitive customer information (medical records, credit card numbers, etc.), there is probably some compliance regulation (HIPAA, GDPR, PCI DSS, etc.) that your business is expected to follow.
Your cloud software wasn’t built with these standards in mind. In fact, just the opposite: they were designed to allow large-scale access from a variety of users. As a result, uploading your company’s data to a cloud might accidentally make you non-compliant.
Luckily, this is one security risk that’s easy enough to fix. Simply make sure that any sensitive data is appropriately protected within the cloud. Set up passwords or access controls so you can guarantee no bored employee accidentally clicks his way into a folder he’s not allowed to see!
We’ve already discussed the potential nightmare you could face if your company’s cloud system is hacked. You don’t have access to network logins, and therefore you won’t know when the attack happened or who logged in at that time. This can make it very difficult to figure out exactly what happened, which can in turn make it more difficult to restore your data or prevent future hacks.
Now, imagine what would happen if THE CLOUD PROVIDER got hacked…
If your cloud provider suffers a cyber attack, there is a very high chance that your company becomes part of the collateral damage. You might even lose all your data! This can be devastating for any organization, which is why it’s so important to have backups of your important company information whenever possible. With backups, your organization won’t suffer significant damages after a cyber attack — even if your data is completely erased from the cloud.
Obviously, there are benefits to using a cloud system for your business. It allows colleagues to collaborate no matter where they are located, and it can help your business save money on network servers.
However, you can only hope to reap these benefits if you also protect your business from the risks of cloud computing! Learn how to set access controls. Encrypt files if necessary. These extra steps just might be the one thing keeping hackers from getting their hands on your company’s data.