Everything in life changes! You’ll have noticed how computers that used to take up the space of a room now fit in your hand as a smartphone. In the same way – but in reverse – the data sets you hold have grown from name-and-address size to data lakes in the cloud that present you with huge cloud data security challenges.
In this post, we’ll look at five of the most common challenges to ensuring security in cloud computing:
- Regulatory compliance
- Data breaches and leakage
- Advanced cyberattacks on the cloud provider
- Shadow IT risks
- Malicious insider activity
The important thing to remember is that, although you may feel at one remove from the situation – the cloud is some nebulous place hosted on someone else’s server! – you do have some control over what happens to your data.
And as data are your chief assets in business, we’ll highlight where and how you can help manage your cloud data security challenges and mitigate any risk to your business from security threats.
1 Regulatory Compliance
With so many data privacy and confidentiality rules in place, we’ll assume regulatory compliance is your number one challenge for protecting customer data stored in the cloud.
Most businesses cannot afford to pay penalties for non-compliance. But do you know where your data are stored? Or which country the server is in?
Data protection laws don’t stop you using the cloud for your data, but you still have to comply with regulations.
You may, for instance, be trading with clients and gaining data from them locally, in other U.S. states, or all over the world. This opens you to having to comply with, for example:
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU
- Health Insurance Portability and Accessibility Act (HIPAA)
- Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)
- and many more.
Moreover, processing any kind of personal information means complying with POPI – the Protection of Personal Information Bill – and this covers many areas of business, such as finance, healthcare, marketing, manufacturing, schools, etc. Not much room for maneuver!
Consider the certifications, standards, data security, data governance, and business policies of your cloud provider. They must show they comply legally.
But in addition, acknowledge you both have a duty to the person whose information you hold.
That means attending to the following four cloud data security challenges, from your own point of view in-house.
2 Data Breaches and Leakage
Unless you store your data in a private cloud, you’re using a shared infrastructure such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure, etc., with multi-tenant servers.
Any such sharing of resources or infrastructure means something can go wrong in the cloud!
You do have the security of the cloud provider’s own expert systems – but also the risk of data being directly accessed or leaked if security controls are not set up properly or are configured inaccurately. This can leave your whole cloud network insecure and vulnerable to data breaches and loss.
For instance, when emails are often cloud-based in Google Drive, OneDrive etc., phishers have a ready place for offering false links and ID confirmation requests.
Your chief business challenge around cloud data security, then, is accidental exposure of an employee’s credentials (ID, password, access permissions, etc.)
When this happens, all your cloud data are vulnerable.
Spend time on data management with your data controller, if you have one, or consider partnering with an MSP who will be proactive for you in data security issues.
As Forbes says, once you’ve removed layers of your business to the cloud – for example, infrastructure, platform, software etc. – what remains in your complete control in terms of cloud data security is
- checking the cloud settings and configuration,
- educating your staff about cloud data security, and
- defining how your staff may access your data.
3 Advanced Cyberattacks on the Cloud Provider
No cloud provider is exempt from cyberattacks! Like anyone else, they’re vulnerable to malware and DDoS attacks. The difference is, your cloud provider should have robust cybersecurity that’s always awake and watching.
This minimizes risk and is therefore one of the easiest cloud data security challenges to solve!
4 Shadow IT Risks
With the ongoing adoption of cloud-based services, there’s also been an increase in WFH, hybrid work, BYOD, IoT, etc. This can bring in shadow IT risks from:
- non-approved devices with no built-in security,
- non-secure network connections,
- conference room cameras, printers etc.,
- external data sharing from home, and
- legacy software that can’t be updated, etc.
Even the best cloud data security practices can be wrong-footed if shadow ITraises its head!
Authorize which devices and software your staff may use and how they may access your data in the cloud. This is where the advice of your service provider can be invaluable for setting up decisions about cloud data protection.
5 Malicious Insider Activity
Theoretically, anyone in your company can access your network and use their authority to steal data either intentionally or accidentally.
These can be people who
- have been with you for a long time, with higher-level access rights, but betray you for financial gain or
- people who join your organization for the sole purpose of stealing your sensitive resources.
As we indicated up top, it’s the role of your cloud service provider to deploy necessary measures that will protect you from the various cloud security challenges and strengthen the cloud infrastructure.
However, you yourself are responsible for securing what you put in the cloud and who has access to your business resources.
It’s difficult to detect malicious insiders because of the level of trust you expect among staff, so don’t forget to deploy basic security training and protocols such as AAA to foil these attempts.
At the very least, review your network security.
We Can Help Solve Your Cloud Data Security Challenges
You’ve probably seen that your best move is to carefully consider your service level agreement (SLA) with your cloud provider. What are you signing up for?
There are always new cyber threats targeting your data. But partnering with experts in cloud service provision means you’re investing in constantly upgraded security and recovery systems.
At Uprite, we leverage modern technology to offer you reliable and sophisticated IT management solutions in Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas. Our skilled cybersecurity experts have the knowledge and experience to meet all your technical requirements. We put your unique needs first. Always.
Contact us today for a free cybersecurity consultation call!