The most concerning cloud security threats today (Part 2 of 2)
In our previous post, we covered two of five of the most troubling cloud security threats that businesses face today. We’ll tackle the remaining three threats in this post.
Vulnerabilities of APIs
Application programming interfaces (APIs) allow cloud-based apps to work together. To illustrate, calendar apps use APIs to connect with email apps whenever you send calendar invites to teammates.
While APIs make apps more useful, API developers sometimes fail to sufficiently secure their creations, consequently putting users at risk. For example, if a third-party app is connected to your company app via an unsecured API, hackers can use that API to infiltrate and steal data from the company app.
How can you protect your business from API vulnerabilities?
How secure APIs are may be out of your control, but you can still mitigate the risks their vulnerabilities may pose by following these steps:
● Leave cloud monitoring to the experts Cloud service providers (CSPs) and their clients use countless APIs. Understanding how they all work and how much of a risk they pose to your data is already difficult, what more monitoring them nonstop. Therefore, letting experts do the monitoring for you ought to significantly lighten the burden of securing your IT. Those experts can also identify highly critical threats so that you can prioritize them accordingly.
● Keep and review logs from your APIs The APIs your organization uses continuously keep logs. You can review these logs to monitor what cloud users are doing, as well as determine if there is critical information being transmitted to unauthorized parties.
Unbridled shareability and lack of a data backup and recovery strategy
Cloud computing enables team collaboration and data sharing. However, these benefits also make it easy for data to leak out of your organization. That is, your cloud users can share information with one another and third parties so easily that that information can be sent beyond the virtual boundaries of your cloud system . This is a huge security concern, especially if you're bound by data privacy regulations.
Additionally, your organization may store tons of data in cloud storage, making it difficult to create and implement a feasible and economical data backup and recovery strategy. Without such a strategy, your company may fall victim to ransomcloud attacks (i.e., ransomware attacks that target cloud platforms) or other adverse IT events that can result in data loss. You and your staff will be forced to use paper records or other sources of data if you have them, and everyone will likely suffer inefficiencies and disrupted workflows.
How do you prevent data leakage and loss?
Below are the three best things you can do to keep your business from leaking and losing data:
● Continually test and improve backup solutions Cloud tech is constantly evolving — and so are the cyberthreats. You'll need to exercise vigilance and regularly improve your backup solutions to ensure their reliability.
● Use a cloud-based security information and event management (SIEM) platform Advanced cloud-based SIEM platforms can monitor your cloud systems and alert you to suspicious movement of data to prevent data breaches.
Loose identity and access management protocols
To encourage businesses to migrate all their data to the cloud, CSPs offer free service plans and lower migration costs. Unfortunately, those CSPs fail to mention the importance of implementing stringent identity and access management (IAM) protocols when allowing access to the migrated data.
With weak IAM policies in place, your cloud accounts can fall victim to cyberattacks like password spraying. Password spraying is a type of brute force attack that involves entering the same password across multiple accounts simultaneously. Obviously, this is a more efficient hacking method compared to attacking accounts one at a time, especially since users tend to use the same credentials for two or more accounts. And since a user can try to log in remotely from any location, a hacker can bypass the multiple failed login attempts feature by password spraying using different IP addresses.
Regardless of the hacking method, once a hacker takes over a cloud account, they will try to explore your cloud storage to find valuable data and critical apps. They'll steal data to sell on the dark web and even lock you out of your data and apps until you pay a ransom. They may also try to take over admin accounts to hijack your systems completely and make it more difficult for your IT team to regain control.
How do you strengthen IAM protocols?
Bolstering your IAM policies is critical to letting authorized users access data and apps while keeping out unauthorized ones. Here are steps you can take to strengthen your IAM system:
● Apply a stringent password policy Train users on password best practices, such as: ○ Using a unique password per account ○ Creating long passwords ○ Including special characters, numbers, and upper- and lowercase letters in the passwords
● Implement multifactor authentication (MFA) MFA requires users to submit identity authenticators, such as biometric scans or unique PIN codes, in addition to a username and password combination, when they try to access their cloud accounts.
● Apply the principle of least privilege Let users access only what they need to accomplish their tasks.
● Regularly audit access privileges Over time, users may experience changes in their current roles or shift to new ones. Therefore, under the principle of least privilege, users' access privileges must also change accordingly.
● Use a SIEM platform A SIEM platform can detect and help you respond to password spraying and other hacking attempts.