Managed Services, Cloud, Security, MSP

What are the security risks of cloud computing?

Chaz Hager January 21 2022

In a modern economy, it’s understandable that businesses should take advantage of the most up-to-date and effective solutions. When it comes to technology choices, maintaining flexibility and scalability is important for growth. Regardless of industry, cloud computing allows businesses and organizations to stay agile and poised for the next level.

But with such advancement comes risks that business owners and leaders should be aware of. In particular, cloud computing is an important digital strategy that can introduce several known security risks. With careful attention, these risks can be reduced or mitigated.

In this post, we’ll recap what cloud computing is and help business owners discover the potential security risks that cloud-based activity could introduce.

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is a complex but popular way to manage, store, and house data on a third-party cloud application or platform. Well-known and recognizable cloud platforms include Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Drive.

Cloud computing provides remote access to workers and employees regardless of the physical location of the individual. With the cloud, a company’s data is stored and managed on external resources. 

With this process, businesses aren’t required to maintain on-site data storage and computing power. This allows more freedom to use and distribute internal resources in different ways.

Security Risks of Cloud Computing

Despite many benefits, there are a few cloud computing security challenges to confront in the modern workplace. These threats can take place on both a small and large scale, which means that businesses must be proactive in order to reduce liability.

Although new cybersecurity risks can enter the scene at any time, the ones below are most prominent for businesses that operate using cloud platforms.

Data Breach or Compromise

A data breach takes place when a malicious outside party or threat actor compromises an organization’s security protocols. Usually, this is done in order to access the internal or confidential data that a company keeps within a protected cloud platform.

Data breaches are carried out as a form of cybersecurity attack. Companies are often targeted for a specific purpose or because the party responsible for the breach wants to gain leverage to that organization’s data in order to make some type of gain. Many times, the purpose is financial in nature.

The cybersecurity risk here is heightened when a single cloud attack exposes multiple companies that all host data on the same public cloud.

Stolen, Missing, or Lost Data

When data is shared on a public cloud, both data and intellectual property live outside of the organization of origin. Data leakage is one of the biggest concerns for modern businesses. 

This security risk stems from the idea that cloud-based property is managed by the provider, and businesses must relinquish some control when choosing not to directly store and manage their own data.

Malware and Malicious Intent

Another major security risk for cloud-based data is malware. Malware is a type of malicious code or software that infects a system with the purpose of stealing or interpreting data. 

Ransomware is another type of malicious code that hackers use to secure money or payment in exchange for returned data. Any type of malicious software makes it more difficult to safeguard data and keep it out of the wrong hands.

Compliance Pressure

While not a direct security threat, increasing pressure to adhere to compliance is another factor for cloud-based businesses. 

Regulators and governing bodies are paying attention to how cloud data is handled, maintained, and protected. This means that businesses must invest in the right resources and comply with legal requirements. Failure to do so can increase overall risk and subject the business to fines or penalties.

How to Improve Your Cybersecurity Plan

One of the most important things that you can do to improve your cybersecurity game plan is to only work with trustworthy vendors and cloud computing experts. If you need to migrate your data to another cloud system, only do so under the direct and careful observation of a trusted provider. You can also improve your cloud cybersecurity plan by:

  • Having a clear disaster recovery and response plan
  • Optimizing all current cloud policies 
  • Providing adequate training and deterrence for security risks
  • Maintaining awareness of new trends and developments

Conclusion

If your organization wants to protect against cybersecurity risks and develop a proactive plan to address data challenges, choosing the right managed services provider can be a critical first step. 

The team at Northriver IT is happy to support your cloud computing and cybersecurity needs in order to help you avoid risks and reduce the potential side effects of implementing new systems.

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