The cloud is a great enabler, allowing scalability and accessibility beyond what was possible in the past. It also exposes your data to new risks and may cause you to rethink your IT security. The news is full of stories about data breaches, ransomware attacks, and other assaults on user data. Such attacks are expected to continue, even accelerate, in 2019, making cloud security–along with understanding what is cloud security–a priority for all businesses.
What is Cloud Security?
Just like data stored on local server, data stored remotely requires protection. It’s something that cloud providers take very seriously. Understanding what is cloud security and learning how to protect your data stored on the cloud is important for all businesses. Cloud security is a collection of safeguards that protects information stored online. It includes hardware and software used in combination to harden systems against attack. Together they provide deterrence, prevention, detection, and correction.
A typical cloud security setup will include:
- Firewalls – A firewall monitors incoming and outgoing traffic. It decides whether to allow or block traffic depending on predefined rules. The goal is to guard the perimeter – blocking unauthorized access while permitting allowed communications. Firewalls can be hardware, software, or a combination.
- Access Controls – Maintaining strict access control is a cornerstone of cloud security. Access controls protect data by restricting access to certain users (or computers) while denying it to others. For example, only employees who need access in order to do their job would be allowed to access client data.
- Data Security – Data in transit is data potentially exposed. Cloud security can protect against this in a number of ways. Encryption, data masking, and virtual private networks are a few examples.
- Threat Intelligence – Cloud computing security includes advanced threat detection. Threat intelligence spots potential security threats. The threats are ranked in order of importance to help guide protection efforts.
Once you understand a bit of what is cloud security, you’ll also understand that it also encompasses other important issues–such as physical security, legal compliance and disaster recovery. Cloud service providers must physically secure hardware against unauthorized access, fire, etc. Some users may have legal requirement that data must be stored in a particular country. A cloud provider with multiple data centers can assist with this. If the worst happens, a solid disaster recovery plan will mitigate the damage and speed recovery.
What is Cloud Security and Why it’s a Priority in 2019
Data security has always been a priority. With the transfer of billions of records to the cloud, that need is greater than ever. Hackers have been throwing malware, ransomware, and DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks at business data at an ever-increasing rate. It’s up to cloud security to defend against attacks of all kinds.
The top threats to data stored in the cloud include, malware, such as concealed cryptominers, ransomware attacks, data theft, and denial of service attacks (DDoS). For 2019, experts predict the following top threats to data stored in the cloud:
Concealed Cryptocurrency Mining is the Newest Security Threat
Concealed cryptomining, instead of stealing your data, steals your processing power. Mining for cryptocurrency takes lots of it. The way it works is that a hacker installs hidden cryptomining software on the victim’s system. The software runs in the background, utilizing the victim’s system as part of a botnet to mine cryptocurrency. The prize is Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency, which can be cashed in for traditional currency. The victim’s computer does the work; the hacker gets the cryptocurrency. While concealed cryptomining isn’t new, it’s on a dramatic upward spike. It attracts less public attention than ransomware and is estimated to generate up to $30,000 per month for the hacker.
Ransomware Attacks are Becoming More Sophisticated
Ransomware slips into a computer system and encrypts everything it can reach. Even backups, if they’re not detached, can be affected. Recovery means paying a ransom for the decryption key or enduring the painful process of restoring from backups. According to Kaspersky Labs, which tracks malware of all kinds, 1.8 million ransomware attacks were recorded in 2018. That’s actually less than in 2017, but experts warn that ransomware attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated. That means that recovering from them is harder and more expensive than ever before. It’s a trend that’s likely to continue through 2019.
Data Breaches are a Growing Headache
In the first half of 2018, more than 22 million records were exposed via data breaches (Statistica). Hackers hit 684 businesses to obtain them. An average U.S. incident cost its victim 7.91 million (Forbes). That doesn’t even account for lost good will with customers. With the recent implementation of GDPR (General Protection Data Regulations), breaches must be reported to the appropriate authority. They can no longer remain entirely an internal matter.
DDoS Attacks are Difficult to Defend Against
Cloud applications and company websites can be a target for DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks. With a DDoS attack, the hacker uses a botnet to place huge demands on the victim’s application or website until it can no longer serve all if its clients. The application slows to a crawl or potentially crashes under the load. This can lead to reputation damage on top of the lost business. Stopping a DDoS attack without blocking your actual customers is no easy task. And without intervention, DDoS attacks can go on for days.
Protecting your Cloud Data
Cloud security protects against all of the above threats and more. It makes it harder for bad actors to implement an attack successfully by blocking them at every turn. Economies of scale make it possible for cloud providers to invest in the latest security technology. Businesses can pick and choose the strategies that are most suitable for their specific needs. Even if an attack somehow succeeds, the data redundancy of cloud security allows you to get your data back. Any security plan worth its salt includes disaster recovery procedures.
Because cloud security is so important, it’s crucial to partner with experts who know all about it. At Charlotte IT Solutions, we make cloud security a priority. Choose us to ensure your data is protected.