Why some users can’t be good friends with cloud? - Top 5 security risks and concerns that come with cloud services
- Vulnerabilities in cloud services can affect scores of organizations at a time.
- Even exposure of information about the cloud services used by a company become a threat.
A majority of companies today use cloud services and it has now become a staple for growth-oriented companies. Due to its operative conditions, many still debate about the concerns around the security of their data and assets. One of the reasons behind such fears is the shrinking dependency on their internal IT department for data access and storage.
The apprehension around cloud data security is obvious. The rather matured cloud computing era has created valuable targets for malicious actors to exploit vulnerabilities and get access to company data—including employee details, intellectual property, internal strategy documents, and more.
Below we list top 5 security risks and concerns one has when it comes to scale and operate on the cloud:
- Data access risk: Using third-party services and relying on external bodies builds less trust than having the full authority on your infrastructure and premises. Such is the case while using a cloud service. Often times, companies use shared cloud infrastructure, thereby also sharing control over its data with the service provider. This leads to a fear of potential dissemination, deletion, or corruption of the data by unauthorized people.
- Lack of transparency: Though SaaS providers are often secretive and assure their clients that they are keeping their data safer than anyone else, yet murkiness on how their entire security protocol is being handled poses doubts. And, there have been breaches in datacenters too, which leave both the parties in a conundrum of what kind of service level agreements (SLAs) to agree upon. For service users, it further leaves them with speculations about the service they are employing or reviewing.
- Identity theft: Users always pay for services (to SaaS providers) remotely through online payments. It’s a quick and convenient method, but it means that it is not free from the potential risks of hacks and leaks. Even disclosing information about the data centers one operates with, poses a security threat to an organization. Their credentials can be compromised by unfaithful employees or due to vulnerabilities found on the network of the respective third-party service providers.
- Paying upfront and long-term: Every company plans of scaling their operations and infrastructure. On the other hand, a majority of SaaS providers also have long-term offerings for which they demand payment upfront. For most SMBs, a scaling plan on paper is often subject to revision due to unavoidable circumstances and changing avenues of growth. Investing in a potentially crucial part of the company appears as a concern to them. What if they paid and the service, unfortunately, turns out to be having low performance or is affected by security risks? While the services should remain intact as per the agreement, the quality and security of cloud service providers might change.
- Not sure what you agreed to: Every business has its terms and conditions where they explain, in agonizing detail, the nuances of how their service operates including various clauses highlighting nearly every possible scenario. Typically, many users tend to agree to T&Cs of various online services without bothering to read the lengthy document that is standard for different cloud services. Understanding the technical or legal jargon used for that niche can also be challenging for a small company operating with limited resources. Here, the problem arises when customers are not sure of what all they agreed upon when signing. This can end up leaving a company in a mess in a security crisis situation if the responsibilities of a service provider are not properly understood.