Understanding the Risks of Cloud Is Key

Companies have jumped on the cloud bandwagon due to the cost-effectiveness, efficiency and productivity it brings, and with many businesses having offices spread across the world, the cloud enables employees to access applications and data anytime, and from anywhere.


And with working from home becoming the norm these days, more than ever before, businesses in all sectors need to prioritise a "cloud first" approach to enable them to transform with agility, and at scale. But as useful and efficient as it is, the cloud is not without risks, and cloud security is crucial to the business and its employees. Both companies and users need to understand cloud security, as the impact of a breach could be catastrophic.


In addition, while cloud brings new opportunities to modernise services, boost efficiencies and transform operations, many entities say do not believe they are achieving the full value they expected from their cloud investments.


This is largely because security and compliance risk remain the highest barriers to cloud adoption, and hand in hand with the navigating the complexity of secure configuration and a dearth of the appropriate skills, are proving to be major hurdles to a cloud-first world. But while security is often viewed as the greatest inhibitor to cloud-first journeys, nothing could be farther from the truth. In reality, it can be a catalyst.


Cloud security is far from simple, with new challenges emerging every year.

And while vendors and cloud security practitioners have released new tools, protocols and procedures, adversaries are becoming more cunning and sophisticated.


Following a slew of high-profile breaches, it emerged that one of the main challenges faced by businesses wanting to secure their cloud assets, is weak internal access controls, including insufficient internal or poor control configurations, insecure application programming interfaces, lack of proper access management, and others.


Similarly, too often businesses ignore the threat that employees pose to their data. Staff members are trusted with information and data, and unlike outsiders, they have legitimate access and do not need to breach firewalls and other security systems. Too many companies hand out access willy nilly, without enforcing any principles of least privilege.


There has also been a lack of understanding about new and emerging cloud threats. As we move towards a cloud-firs world, and one in which almost all infrastructure, platforms, software and more are being offered ‘as-a-service’, so bad actors are refining their tools and techniques to find a single chink in the security armour that would enable them to carry out an attack.


Finally, too many organisations do not have a real grasp of cloud model and how they work. Failure to understand that when it comes to cloud security, a shared responsibility model is best, leaves them vulnerable to attack. Without thinking, they leave the management and security of their cloud data to their cloud provider, abdicating all responsibility, and end up falling foul of regulators.


The moral of the story, education and training are key. Understanding where the risk lies, what the best practices are, and how to avoid the pitfalls, is the only way that any business will be able to adequately secure their cloud data.