cloud security risks

cloud security risks

As an increased number of companies migrate their systems to the cloud, the risk of having their valuable business and personal data intercepted is multiplied. Whilst cloud computing provides numerous benefits for companies, unfortunately the fact remains that businesses who hold their information in the cloud are a target for cyber criminals, ‘hacktivists’ and even competitors operating within the same industry.

There have been some high profile cloud security breaches in the last few years. These include big names such as Apple, Amazon and Microsoft.

Research McKinsey in partnership with the World Economic Forum believes that ‘companies are struggling with their capabilities in cyberrisk management’. This seems to be a statement that cloud security firm Alert Logic echoes as they estimate that attacks on the cloud are currently growing by 45% year-on-year. To combat this, an estimated $2bn will be spent by companies in cloud security measures.

First time users of the cloud are considered to have the greatest risk of vulnerability, due to their inexperience of the environment. Here are some essential areas that cloud beginners need to get to grips with in order to stay protected.

Familiarity With Cloud Deployment Areas

It is essential to recognise the three main areas involved in cloud deployment. These are the cloud vendor, the network service provider and the enterprise. The main consideration when unifying these three entities is that of security. It is important to understand whether a common set of security policies can be applied across all three areas or if any security gaps exists that could lead to a compromise. It is also critical to check with your cloud vendor about the boundaries that exist on shared security models. Cloud services such as IaaS for instance usually require the enterprise rather than the provider to secure apps and data in the cloud.

App Migration

If you have designed a new app that you wish to migrate to the cloud for deployment, then you also need to take specialised app security into account. It is essential that you add extra layers of protection by using a granular data access process. Log-in privileges can be assigned to employee roles, which adds an extra authentication level in the event that your staff’s credentials are stolen.

Encryption

Data encryption is a critical security measure that must be utilised when dealing with the storage, transfer or use of data in the cloud. Ask your vendor what sort of inbuilt encryption processes they have in place and whether or not they will still be able to read your encrypted legal data on their own servers. Don’t be afraid to use your own encryption methods in addition to your cloud service providers if they don’t match the required levels for your organisation. For Chambers who are governed by strict legal regulatory guidelines, it is essential that you can prove that you have done everything you can to protect your client data in the cloud. Ensuring that you have encrypted data could prevent your Chambers from incurring hefty regulatory fines if there is a cloud security breach.

Virtualisation

Data protection is a vital system when it comes to cloud based computing. The virtualised environment that is created by remote cloud computing causes issues with traditional methods of security. Therefore, it is necessary to utilise virtual appliances which handle tasks such as securing the transfer of traffic from machine to machine, setting up security boundaries on multi-tenancy machines and also between multiple instances of applications.

Negative Business Implications

There are many security measures that businesses must take in order to prevent an attack on their virtual systems. However, it can be difficult to strike the correct balance between finding security measures that work for your systems, whilst still allowing the cloud to be a valuable service for your company. McKinsey uncovered concerns that ‘cyberattacks are starting to have measurable negative business implications in some areas’ with over half of the high-executives that they surveyed admitting to feeling that their current cloud security controls were ‘a major pain point that limited the ability of employees to collaborate’.

It is unfortunate, yet understandable, that many companies are cautious about adopting ground-breaking cloud technologies due to the well-publicised security risks and breaches that have caused damage to high-profile businesses. However, we can provide cloud hosting solutions that are completely reliable and secure and will satisfy your legal compliance regulations. In fact cloud computing often provides an extra level of security that would normally be out of reach for smaller legal businesses. Want to know more? Get in touch with us today.