Misconfigurations Are A Leading Cloud Security Threat

Cloud Misconfiguration

October 19th, 2021   |   Updated on October 21st, 2021

There’s a whole lot to love about cloud computing. Trading in traditional, on-premises local storage options for a next-gen computing experience that offers information storage, remote operations, and data processing from anywhere in the world, the cloud has more than justified its billing as one of the most exciting trends to hit computing in years.

Strengths and benefits of cloud computing include its ease of use, availability, flexibility, scalability, resiliency, and cost savings; not to mention reducing the burden of an operator having to fret about the need to maintain a physical computing infrastructure on-site.

During the global pandemic, cloud computing demonstrated its worth by allowing workplaces to continue functioning, despite often dealing with a virtually all-remote workforce.

But while the cloud certainly does make life easier for its users, it also poses its share of challenges. One of the biggest? The challenge of maintaining proper effective cloud security.

It’s a valuable reminder of why organizations should be deploying good Cyber Security Risk Management processes. The perils of failing to do so can be dire.

Challenges Relating To Cloud Computing Security

The challenges of cloud computing security can fall into a couple of categories: user ignorance and technical gaps.

Sometimes both. For example, the cloud shared responsibility model can prove befuddling for some organizations as they migrate to the cloud.

The traditional data center model meant that organizations were, self-evidently, responsible for looking after their own infrastructure — from the servers and applications to the security of the physical building the servers and other equipment were located in.

In the world of the cloud, providers take on some of this burden, but it’s critical (and not always fully appreciated) that there is a delineation between what falls under the remit of the cloud provider and what responsibilities the customer remains responsible for.

This will vary depending on the cloud provider, but is essential for customers to understand. Get this wrong, and you could open yourself up to possible vulnerabilities. After all, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

Another challenge is that traditional security solutions may not be designed for the cloud. Simply put, many legacy security tools were not designed for use with public clouds.

According to one survey, 66 percent of respondents claimed that their established, traditional security solutions either did not work in their entirety, or provided just limited functionality, in cloud environments.

When it comes to cloud breaches, however, by far the biggest problem comes down to improper configuration of databases, apps, and security policies.

One recent research project found that two-thirds of incidents involving cloud security may have been avoided entirely if this configuration was carried out correctly.

This potential ease of access has helped to create a market for illicit access of cloud environments, sometimes for as little as a few dollars at a time — although stretching into the thousands of dollars depending on the target.

The report, which was published by IBM, also found that almost half of the 2,500 bugs disclosed for cloud applications had been discovered over 18 months.

This reflects the growing levels of interest in cloud computing in the modern cyber security landscape.

Securing The Cloud

Securing cloud deployment should be a top priority for organizations. It is important that security posture management is a part of an enterprise cloud cybersecurity risk management strategy.

Fortunately, tools are available for helping to safeguard the cloud. Cyber security experts can help organizations to protect their cloud-based data stores as a way to ensure compliance and avoid breaches.

These tools can also work while still preserving the impressive agility and cost advantages that come with cloud environments.

They can additionally help protect databases and block attacks that target the cloud, as well as offer more visibility for better tracking and controlling cloud data.

Cloud computing is the future of computing as we know it. Cloud environments make it easier than ever to access and manage data, opening up whole new possibilities when it comes to workflow or making services available to users.

However, as the above examples make clear, there is still plenty of work that needs to be carried out before the cloud is entirely foolproof and free of security issues.

Organizations must educate themselves about the security issues faced when using the cloud. They must also avail themselves of the tools necessary to protect them.

By doing this, they will be able to take advantage of the myriad advances afforded by cloud computing — without any of the negatives.

Doing this should be a top priority for any organization using cloud infrastructure today. It is an investment that they are extremely unlikely to ever regret making.