12 Common Risks, Threats and Challenges in Cloud Security
2023-10-24 | Dan Zeng
Every organization constantly encounters risks, threats and challenges of cloud security. While these three terms may seem to have similar meanings, but they don't mean the same thing in the cloud computing world; In fact, there are numerous differences among these terms, and understanding them can help organizations and individuals to better protect their cloud assets.
What are the risks, threats and challenges of cloud security？
Cloud security risks are the possibility of data loss or vulnerability to attack; Cloud security threats are means of attack or an attacker; A challenge is an obstacle that an organization encounters in implementing or using cloud security.
More specifically, for example, API endpoints that reside in the cloud and are exposed to the public internet pose a risk. Attackers attempting to access sensitive data through these APIs are threats. The challenge for both enterprises and cloud security personnel is to protect the APIs while allowing legitimate users to use them normally. Although they may seem different, they are interconnected. Here are 12 issues related to cloud security.
Four security cloud security risks
There is no way to completely eliminate risk; It can only be mitigated through management. Knowing the risks ahead of time can be preventative for cloud security personnel. What are the four major cloud security risks?
Attack surface is the complete exposed surface of the cloud environment. Every workload increases the attack surface. If it is not strictly managed, you may not realize that the infrastructure is neglected until you are attacked. The subtle information leaks that lead to an attack are also part of the attack surface. As long as you use the public Internet or cloud, your attack surface is inevitably exposed.
Gartner predicts that by 2025, 99% of cloud security failures will be the result of some degree of human error. Human error is inevitable when building large and complex cloud architectures.
As cloud computing grows, cloud providers add new services and cloud configurations continue to grow. Many companies use configurations from multiple providers at the same time. Provider lines have different default configurations each service has subtle differences. Until organizations and their cloud security personnel become proficient at protecting a variety of different cloud services, attackers will continue to exploit these misconfigurations.
A data leak occurs when important information about a business leaves without its knowledge or authorization. Data in highly valued resources which are targeted by most of the attackers. Cloud misconfigurations and lack of specialized operations experience can be an eye-opener for hackers.
How to manage cloud security risks?
Conduct regular risk assessments; Prioritize and implement security measures; Document and revisit any risks that can be taken, etc.
Four cloud security threats
Threats are risks that are utilized to try to attack cloud assets. What are the four common threats to cloud security?
Exploiting Zero-Day Vulnerabilities
The term "zero-day" refers to a software vulnerability that is unknown to the cloud security team, giving them "zero" days to release a security patch or update to address the issue. Exploiting a zero-day vulnerability is a malicious behavior in which an attacker uses techniques or tactics to attack a system. A zero-day attack occurs when a threat actor exploits a vulnerability before the cloud security team has a chance to patch it. Zero-day vulnerabilities are dangerous because they are difficult to detect.
Advanced Persistent Threat
Advanced Persistent Threats (APT) are sophisticated, persistent cyberattacks in which intruders establish an undetected presence in a network in order to steal sensitive data over an extended period of time. APT attacks are carefully planned and designed to penetrate a specific organization, circumvent existing security measures, and operate unnoticed under surveillance. These attacks are so dangerous that they can start using zero-day attacks and then go undetected for months.
Insider threats are cybersecurity threats that come from within a business or organization. Typically implemented by people such as former or current employees who have direct access to the company's network, sensitive data and intellectual property, and business processes containing insider threats entails significant costs and can cause significant reputational damage. Cloud data security teams should develop programs that specifically address insider threats.
Cyberattacks are attempts by cybercriminals, hackers, or other digital adversaries to access a computer network or system in order to alter, steal, destroy, or expose information. Examples include malware, phishing, SQL injection, and IoT attacks.
How to deal with cloud security threats?
When building microservices, it is important to adhere to secure coding standards. Perform multiple checks on cloud configurations to eliminate vulnerabilities. And remain vigilant once a secure foundation has been established.
Four cloud security challenges
The challenge is the gap between theory and practice. What are the four main cloud security challenges?
Lack of Cloud Security Strategies and Skills
For traditional data center security models that are not used in cloud environments. Cloud security administrators must have specific policies and skills for using in cloud environments.
Identity and Access Management
Creating identity and access management for an organization with thousands of employees is a large and complex undertaking. An overall identity and access management strategy is divided into three steps: role design, privileged access management, and implementation.
The result of Shadow IT is that employees use cloud services to complete their work, and cloud resources can easily be spun up and down. This makes controlling its growth difficult. For example, developers can quickly generate workloads using their accounts. Unfortunately, assets created in this manner may not be adequately protected and accessed due to default passwords and misconfigurations. Shadow IT poses security challenges as it bypasses standard IT approval and management processes.
Organizations want to protect sensitive data legally. To ensure legal compliance, many organizations restrict access and the actions users can perform once they have gained access. If access controls are not set up, monitoring the network will be a big challenge.
How to overcome cloud security challenges？
Every challenge is different, so different challenges require different programs to solve. Design and plan before using any cloud service. Develop an action plan for each challenge.
How to secure your virtual machines？
Faced with these increasingly serious risks, threats and challenges in cloud security, enterprises should actively adopt technical means to strengthen asset protection. Among them, standardizing the management of VMs is especially critical. Relying only on host-level security control is no longer enough to meet the demand for protection and backup of VMs. Only by controlling VMs, which are important data assets of enterprises, can threats, challenges and risks in cloud environments be effectively minimized.
Vinchin Backup & Recovery is a backup solution designed for virtual machines of VMware, Hyper-V, XenServer, XCP-ng, oVirt, RHV, etc. It provides comprehensive and powerful VM backup and recovery features like agentless backup, instant recovery, V2V migration designed to protect and manage critical data in the virtualization environment.
Vinchin Backup & Recovery’s operation is very simple, just a few simple steps. Just select VMs on the host > then select backup destination > select strategies > finally submit the job
In short, cloud computing brings risks, threats, and challenges to organizations. Understanding the difference between these terms is critical to effective cloud security. To successfully manage these issues, organizations should conduct regular risk assessments and develop a comprehensive strategy. At the same time, they should actively employ technology, such as Vinchin Backup & Recovery, to enhance the protection of VMs. In this way, organizations can effectively minimize threats, challenges and risks in cloud computing.
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