In this series, we will take a closer look at how to create a cloud security plan that will protect your cloud-based systems, infrastructure, and important data. A comprehensive and flexible security plan is key to protecting your clients’ information and complying with industry and governmental regulations. Security breaches can result in a loss of business along with fines. Fortunately, establishing a cloud security plan can be easier than you might think. The first step is to recognize potential threats. That is part one will take a closer look at cloud security risks.

Common Cloud Security Risks

1.   Loss of visibility

One of the major advantages of cloud computing is the ability to connect people in various locations through the use of different devices. As the workforce becomes more mobile, employees are accessing company portals and files on smartphones, tablets, and other tools. This can create a complex system that can be hard to monitor. It is easy to lose sight of who is accessing what data. If you don’t know exactly what is happening, you can’t take the necessary steps to protect data and restrict access. The right cloud security plan will take this into account and maximize visibility for relevant parties.

2.   Compliance Issues

Different industries are governed by compliance regulations that are designed to protect both businesses and clients. It is important to continue to test for compliance in order to avoid costly violations and security breaches. You must work closely with your cloud provider to ensure continuous compliance even as new people, resources, and applications are added to your cloud.

3.   Poor Security Strategies

Oftentimes, businesses make the move to the cloud too quickly. There can be a rush to migrate to the cloud and become operational before there has been enough time and energy put into creating strategies that will protect the infrastructure. While it can be tempting to move quickly, taking the time up front to create security strategies can save time and money in the long run.

4.   Contract Breaches

It is important to fully understand how your data will be stored and exactly who will have access. You may have non-disclosure agreements with clients and it is possible to upload information to the cloud that might be in violation of these agreements. This type of breach may be accidental, but it can still come with serious consequences. The first step in avoiding this risk is to make sure that you understand the terms and conditions of your cloud provider.

5.   Insider Threats

Not all security threats involve malicious outside parties trying to gain access to your infrastructure and data. Security risks also exist on the inside of the company. Employees may not intentionally violate security rules, but intention doesn’t change the results of their actions. In most cases, these incidents are the result of poor training. Employees should be well-versed in security best practices and every company should have these clearly documented in order to avoid problems.

6.   Vulnerable API

Programmers use Application Programming Interfaces (API) to create software. External APIs can create vulnerabilities in the cloud and make it easier for cybercriminals to access data. This is a security risk that should not be overlooked or underestimated.

7.   Misconfiguration

As more resources are added to the cloud, there is the potential for services to become misconfigured. Misconfiguration issues commonly occur when companies maintain default security settings and fail to update access controls. As a result, data can become exposed and unauthorized individuals will gain access to restricted areas. You can end up with manipulated and even deleted information.

No matter what size company you have or what industry you are a part of, these common cloud security risks could be putting your business in danger. Remember that the first step to creating a secure cloud environment and meeting compliance regulations is to understand existing risks. This information is vital to any security plan.

In part two of our series on cloud security, we will take a closer look at why cloud security is required and the potential consequences of poor security practices. If you have any additional questions about cloud security or compliance, contact the experts at prancer. We specialize in providing companies with cloud validation frameworks so that you can continuously test and maintain security throughout the DevOps Pipeline.