Top 5 Security Issues In Cloud Computing

Security issues in cloud computing are different than on-prem. It’s time to start thinking beyond the perimeter.

Moving to the cloud isn’t just a trend—it’s becoming a requirement for any organization looking to build greater team collaboration, boost productivity, and improve customer experiences. But moving to the cloud presents brand new opportunities for threats, attacks, and breaches due to human error from a more mobile workforce. Security issues in cloud computing are similar to what you may have encountered with in-network and on-prem computing. However, to prevent and remediate cloud computing security issues they must be managed differently.

Although there are many things you can do to help reduce your security risk, here are five cloud computing security issues you must address to set up a strong, secure foundation.

Issue One: Visibility and Control Over Access

Adopting a zero-trust security architecture is one of the most impactful ways to manage users and safeguard data in the cloud.

Zero trust security is exactly what it sounds like—no user is automatically trusted. Everyone must provide verification of who they are before gaining access to resources and data stored in the cloud app.

Two common examples of identity-based zero trust security approaches are Single SignOn (SSO) and Multi-factor Authentication (MFA). Single SignOn verifies users through a single name and password combination. Multi-factor Authentication combines two (or more) unique credentials, such as requiring users to enter a password and a security token. Most reputable cloud applications provide both of these authentication features natively, and simply require your admin to activate either or both for your team.

Many companies use Single SignOn or Multi-factor Authentication as the first line of defense to keep unauthorized users out of systems that hold sensitive data. Both are easy to use and set up in popular cloud apps, and all IT security experts strongly encourage the use of both.

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Issue Two: Data Security

Data loss prevention solutions, SaaS security, and malware threat protection can all increase your cloud data security to reduce the risk of internal and external threats, and guard against data breaches.

Thwart External Threats
Today’s cybercriminals target weaknesses in cloud applications to steal business, employee, and customer data. This means any business with SaaS applications accessing the cloud environment is at risk. SaaS security is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a necessity.

Prevent Insider Threats
Develop company-wide standards to define who can take action on what data sets, in what environments, using which methods to ensure that data stays carefully controlled. Limiting internal access points, and monitoring how that information is used, can help keep sensitive data safe.

Stop Accidental Data Breaches
Human error is the most common source of a data breach, and proactiveness is the key to prevention. To ensure costly mistakes are not made, help employees understand how and where data breaches can happen.

Issue Three: Account Takeovers

When impersonators take over user accounts, they roam freely in the environment, carrying out fraudulent activities wherever and whenever they want. Common signs of an account takeover may include successful logins from other counties or IP addresses, successful logins from multiple different countries in a short amount of time, mass file downloads, suspicious sharing activity, phishing emails coming from an internal account, and more.

In traditional on-prem environments, account takeovers are relatively easy to catch. But account takeovers are a nagging security issue in cloud computing because they are notoriously difficult to detect. Further, the impacts of a cloud account takeover are even more difficult to find and remediate.

Using a cloud application account takeover prevention tool is one of the best ways to detect attempts, identify account takeovers, and quickly remediate the issue.

Issue Four: Risky SaaS Applications

When end users download and sign into cloud applications on their phones, tablets, or personal computers unbeknownst to the IT department, it’s extremely difficult to monitor and block the use of unsanctioned applications.

SaaS risk comes in two basic forms: malicious SaaS apps and apps that were not developed with proper security controls. These apps can open a “back door” to your cloud environment.

OAuth applications that request broad user permissions, such as the ability to write and send emails, should be particularly scrutinized by IT. Make sure your team is only allowing permissions to well-known and trusted applications through OAuth.

SaaS security solutions provide greater visibility and control over cloud applications to protect against data exposure. They can detect SaaS applications that are connected to your cloud environment through OAuth and score the potential security risk based on a number of factors. These factors might include the level of permissions provided by the end user, as well as an aggregation of security complaints others have reported.

Issue Five: Advanced Malware and Phishing Attacks

The element of human error in malware and phishing threats is still the greatest vulnerability that organizations are contending with. To help prevent human error teach users about the importance of creating and using complex passwords and identifying phishing attempts, keep operating systems and anti-virus software up to date, and get in a routine of backing up files to guard against data loss.

Using best-in-class cloud malware threat protection technology is the optimal way to protect against malicious attacks.

The security concerns involved with cloud computing do not outweigh the benefits of moving your business to the cloud. Most reputable cloud applications continue to work hard to patch security vulnerabilities and improve data security architecture. However, security administrators feel much better knowing that their cloud environment is being monitored and controlled by a third party platform. This is where ManagedMethods cloud application security platform comes in.

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