11 Threats To The Security Of Cloud Solutions According To The Cloud Security Alliance11 Threats To The Security Of Cloud Solutions According To The Cloud Security Alliance

The latest Cloud Security Alliance analysis aims to increase awareness of threats to data stored or processed in the cloud computing model. 

What is important, according to the authors of the report – with the dissemination of cloud computing solutions, their providers take over a significant part of the responsibilities related to ensuring the security and availability of such services. 

However, there are more and more risks that take advantage of errors or omissions on the part of customers.

Cloud Security Alliance experts recognized the following as the main threats affecting the solutions offered in the cloud computing model:

1. Data Security Breach

The scale of incidents of this type is increasing not only due to the intensification of cybercriminal activities but also, among others, due to the growing use of cloud services. 

In the cloud computing model, the responsibility for such threats lies most often with both the service provider and their users.

2. Incorrect Configuration Of Services

As the authors of the analysis argue, such threats include, among others: leaving the standard configuration of services, including access data, as well as granting users redundant rights or omissions regarding the settings of security mechanisms. 

Responsibility for this type of error usually lies with the client – the user of cloud services. Often problematic here is the lack of sufficiently effective change management processes.

3. Deficiency Of Cloud Security Architecture And Technique

In many organizations, even in the face of the growing scale of use of various types of cloud services, there is no clear architecture or structured strategy for the development of the cloud environment, which would be the basis for ensuring monitoring and data security

In addition, as Cloud Security Alliance specialists argue, the implementation of cloud services is often carried out without sufficient supervision by people responsible for security, and the desire to quickly use the widest possible functionality translates into irrational decisions regarding data security. The responsibility for such actions lies with the users of cloud services.

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4. Insufficient Management Of Identity, Access, And Authentication Data

The dissemination of the cloud computing model makes it necessary to change many aspects related to access and identity management. 

It is also necessary to ensure the integrity of authentication data throughout the entire IT environment, as well as – the high scalability of IAM class tools. 

Ensuring the security of credentials is the responsibility of companies using cloud services.

5. Taking Over A Privileged Account In A Cloud Service

Privileged user accounts are often of particular interest to cybercriminals. According to experts, these types of threats should not be underestimated – they can result in not only financial losses, but also damage to the image, data theft, or even stopping critical business processes.

6. Internal Threats

Meaning that authorized users of cloud services undertakes actions that put the organization at risk, e.g. the loss of sensitive data, intentionally or unintentionally. 

The scale of losses associated with such threats is significant. The Ponemon Institute analysis quoted in the Cloud Security Alliance report shows that in 2021, the average amount of losses related to insider threats was over USD 12.7 billion.

7. Dangerous API And Vulnerabilities In The Service Interface Layer 

According to the authors of the analysis, these two layers are very often exposed to various types of attacks using vulnerabilities discovered on an ongoing basis. At the same time, these are also layers subject to particularly dynamic development. 

Securing the API and eliminating possible errors in the service layer remain the responsibility of cloud service providers, but the users of such services are primarily responsible for ensuring a high level of “hygiene” in the use of keys used in connection with programming interfaces.

8. Insufficient Diligence And Errors At The Level Of Copying, Migration, And Storage Of Data

Responsibility for such aspects belongs to organizations using cloud services. 

The lack of control over data flows makes it impossible to effectively secure them in the face of the growing complexity of IT environments built on a combination of local resources and cloud services. 

This is especially true for multi-cloud environments, where data is often migrated between cloud platforms from different providers.

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9. Errors On The Application And Infrastructure Layers, As Well As Metadata Structures

The need to ensure the interoperability of cloud applications with other solutions used in corporate IT environments requires, among others, a detailed analysis of the possibilities provided by API providers, as well as the specifics of their implementation. 

Errors at this level can result in serious risks of data leakage or theft. According to Cloud Security Alliance experts, these types of problems most often result from the wrong approach to identity and access data management or the lack of implementation of the necessary functionalities. 

Both cloud service providers and their users should be responsible for eliminating such threats. For example, cloud solution providers should regularly verify the level of security of their services at the interface with the client’s infrastructure.

10. Lack Or Insufficient Effectiveness Of Cloud Services Usage Monitoring Processes

Despite the wide-scale use of cloud services, many organizations do not have the solutions and processes necessary to verify the scale of use and the level of security of the services used. 

This means, on the one hand, the inability to ensure sufficient control over which services are used by business users and to what extent, but also the lack of information on what data is processed outside the organization. 

Responsibility for implementing appropriate tools and eliminating the phenomenon referred to as “shadow IT” rests with organizations using cloud services. This is important because, according to Gartner experts,

11. Abuse And Dishonest Use Of Cloud Services

The ease of use of cloud resources makes them an interesting solution also for cybercriminal organizations. 

As a result, the number of attacks aimed at gaining access to such resources by breaking into the administrative accounts of organizations using cloud services is increasing. 

Then, the resources paid by customers are used, among others, to conduct DDoS and brute-force attacks, cryptocurrency mining, or spam and phishing campaigns. 

The costs of resources used in this way are usually charged to the organization whose account was taken over. 

Thus, while the operator of such services is responsible for securing and monitoring the use of the infrastructure used for cloud services,

The above list has been arranged according to the estimated degree of risk of individual threats – and their impact on the level of corporate data security. 

According to the authors of the analysis, most of the most important threats can be avoided by improving visibility in the functioning of IT environments, which are increasingly based on cloud services provided by external providers, often in the public cloud model. 

As research shows, diligence in the design and use of APIs provided by service providers, as well as security analysis of services available in the cloud model, is also of great importance for the security of data processing based on cloud services.

At the same time, as experts from the Cloud Security Alliance emphasize, gaining access to sensitive business data becomes the main target of most cyberattacks. 

At the same time, not all of these targeted attacks can be prevented. It is therefore crucial to determine the value of individual data sets – so that in the event of their leakage, you can estimate the effects of the attack and the scale of losses caused.

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