The move to cloud-based services has been a game-changer for the businesses that have implemented full or hybrid solutions, but with this style of infrastructure comes its own set of security threats.

We’ve listed the top threats to look out for, along with some tips and tricks to safeguarding your business so that you’re protected now and in the future.

1. Lack of cloud security architecture and strategy

There should be a balance between the time it takes to migrate systems and data to the cloud, and security. But unfortunately, the need to do things quickly often wins out.

If this is the case, you could be opening your business up using a cloud infrastructure that has not been strategically designed with its best interests at heart.

How do you counteract this issue?

Planning your security architecture to align with your business goals and objectives is a great start. And once you’ve built your infrastructure to fit, ensure you deploy a continuous monitoring capability to ensure everything stays working as expected.

2. Insufficient identity, access and key management

Inadequate access management and controls around data, systems and physical resources (think server rooms), is another source of pain for many IT managers. Lack of credential protection, failure to use multifactor authentication (MFA) and weak passwords increase the chances of security breaches.

So, what do I need to do?

Put simply, the easiest way to effect change here is to enforce stronger passwords within the business and incorporate MFA into your identity and access management (IAM) processes. To add an extra layer of protection, ensure you’re using a cloud solution provider that also has strong security protocols in place.

3. Account hijacking

Account hijacking occurs when an individual’s account – be it email, computer or other, is stolen by a hacker. This occurs more frequently than you would expect, and phishing attacks only continue to increase. Even senior people within organisations and people who are otherwise fairly technically savvy can fall victim to this, putting the wider organisation at risk of data, identity and financial theft.

I want to ensure I’m safe

While it’s difficult (if not impossible) to make your accounts bomb-proof, you can amp up efforts to keep them as secure as possible. Maintain strong IAM controls and educate staff at all levels of your organisation on the need for strong passwords, the use of MFA and speaking up immediately if they think they may have been hacked.

4. Insecure interfaces and APIs

If you’re offering interfaces or APIs to your customers as a value-add, there will be a need for additional security measures. These can be some of the most exposed parts of your system and give hackers easy access if not adequately protected.

How do I do this?

Avoid API key reuse, and protect the ones that are in use, and consider using Open Cloud Computing Interface (OCCI) or Cloud Infrastructure Management Interface (CIMI) to simplify the way interactions occur.

5. Limited cloud usage visibility

An issue for many businesses is the inability to understand if cloud usage is safe or malicious. Are unsanctioned apps in use or are sanctioned apps being used in a way that could be harmful to your business? It pays to understand if this is the case.

What do I need to do to prevent harm?

Train your staff, the better informed they are, the less likely they are to make honest mistakes that make your life harder. Implement policies and procedures for them to abide by. If this isn’t an option for your business, a more robust method would be implementing a zero trust model for the organisation, but it is a big step, so it is worthwhile determining if this is right for you before commencing.

6. Insider threats

What does your process for removing access to past employees or contractors look like? If you’re not revoking access as soon as they leave the business or complete a project, you could be opening yourself up to attackers. What about current employees who may have something against the business? It’s surprisingly simple for a business to be put at risk by staff and contractors.

Not all breaches come from past or present staff or contractors that have malicious intent. In fact, most cases come down to negligence – data is stored on a personal device, a phishing email is clicked, or cloud servers are misconfigured. Regardless of the rationale behind the breach, there need to be measures in place to protect your business.

How do I do that?

The first step is limiting (and even removing) access to business-critical systems and conducting audits regularly to ensure no non-essential access is in place. And, as mentioned above, train train train! Educating the business on the need for proper security protocols can take less time and money than fixing a breach once it has occurred, not to mention limiting the potential loss of data and reputational damage.

Getting cloud secure

We know that cloud security is just another task on a very long list for IT professionals, which is why we’re here to help. Our security team here at The Missing Link is one of the best in the business, so if you’d like assistance setting up and maintaining your cloud security, we'd love to help. 

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Alessandra Femenias

Marketing Assistant