Top 10 Cloud Computing Security Issues

The ability to store and access an almost limitless amount of information and files through cloud computing has opened virtual marketplaces and businesses that would have never been possible in the past. We place immense trust in cloud computing, and it has grown some of the largest companies in the world, including giants like Google. However, even huge companies with protection have cloud computing risks.

What are the top ten cloud computing security issues? Some of the most damaging cloud computing security issues include:

  1. Data loss
  2. Data breaches
  3. Account hijacks
  4. Malware uploads
  5. Insider threats
  6. Insecure APIs
  7. Cloud service abuse
  8. Denial of service attacks taking place
  9. Shared vulnerabilities
  10. Limited security procedures by companies.

This article will walk you through the top ten cloud computing issues of 2020 and give you advice on how to remedy each one.

The Top Ten Cloud Computing Security Issues

When it comes to cloud computing security issues, you may think that the companies that run the servers with the cloud platforms and your data are usually all to blame. However, these are huge, multinational companies in some cases.

They have teams of ethical hackers who probe the systems for insecurities and abnormalities. They take security very seriously and wouldn’t be very good at what they did unless they held the safety of their servers a priority.

Users are primarily to blame for hacks, malware, and abuse of the cloud computing platforms that have issues with security. Occasionally, a company will have a breach at its server headquarters.

Even more rare is an inside job where data is stolen. However, most issues with security are caused by users who do not know how to secure credentials, downloads, or their personnel using cloud computing services.

The following list details the top ten most crucial cloud computing issues that your company needs to consider right now.

#1 Data Loss

When information is stored on remote servers, your data is at the mercy of natural disasters, malicious attacks, and accidents that could happen to these servers.

Data can be lost from even the most significant companies because of forces of nature, such as when Google[1] lost stored data in its servers when it was struck by lightning four times.

How to Limit Data Loss

Backing up your data in more than one place is always a good idea. Redundancies are the key to proper and safe data back up, so using multiple cloud data storage is a fundamental part of mitigating data loss. Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive are some of the most secure cloud storage options on the web.

#2 Data Breaches

Data breaches can occur when hackers access cloud computing platforms and servers to steal, destroy, or take information hostage. Data breaches are a little easier to be carried out on cloud computing applications than in person.

“Data Breach: The Cloud Multiplier Effect” [2] is a study that found that companies that used cloud computing for their data storing purposes were three times more likely to be at risk of a data breach than those companies who did not use cloud computing for data storage. 

The risk comes from multiple applications being linked when multiple users are on a cloud computing platform.

How to Limit Data Breaches

Data breaches are out of the hands of individual companies using the cloud computing options of big data companies. However, encrypting data that they store on the cloud can add another level of security to the data that they are saving.

Some of the best data encryption applications on the web include:

  • BitLocker[3]
  • FileVault2[4]
  • AxCrypt[5]

#3 Account Hijacks

Having your account hijacked means that the password and username have been compromised, and a hacker has gotten access to your account and all the services, privacies, and information that is associated with that account. This could mean access to financial information or even editing the data that is stored in cloud computing.

Things like phishing and other scams get access to account credentials for cloud computing. Account hijacks are particularly scary if you have financial information on the cloud because hackers can access your money, steal it, or misrepresent it.

How to Limit Account Hijacks

When your account is hijacked, it is usually caused by a lapse in judgment by the owner of the report. Longer and more complex passwords are the best defense against your account being hacked.

Using password account managers is a great way to keep your information safe. Also, using biometrics is a safe and secure way to login to your many accounts in cloud computing and elsewhere. Biometrics uses the unique design of your body (eyes, face structure, fingerprint) as a password, which is near impossible to replicate.

#4 Malware Uploads

One of the most insidious security issues with cloud computing is malware uploads. Malware can be used for many different things, such as using your bandwidth and transferring it to another server, stealing your information, or even spying on your online use.

The danger of cloud computing is that malware can be uploaded from any user’s computer, and the hackers using it have many options on how they want to use the malware alongside the cloud.

How to Block Malware Uploads

Malware is malicious programs that are downloaded onto your computer for a singular purpose. However, most people unknowingly download them onto their computers. People don’t realize that the link in an unknown email, a download from a sketchy site, or even just visiting questionable sites can increase the chances of downloading disruptive malware. Stay away from these sites and links, and you should be malware-free.

Some of the most common types of malware include:

  • Viruses: Connects viruses to other executions on the user’s infected computer so that when they use it, they also execute the virus.
  • Worms: One of the oldest malwares around since mainframes, worms replicate themselves and crash servers. These are usually seen as files attached to emails.
  • Trojans: Named after the trojan horse, trojans are much like worms, only they seem like legit programs. If you download them, the same replication as worms takes place.
  • Ransomware: Malware that codes your data and holds it ransom until a payment is made to the hacker is known as ransomware.

#5 Threats from People Inside the Company

Malicious intent, accidents, or even unknowingly uploading malware can all be a security threat to your cloud computing. If you run a business, it may not seem possible that someone would want to hurt or misuse the information on the cloud. However, threats from people inside of your company may be unintentional.

How to Limit Threats from the Inside

First, keep an eye out for those who would want to hurt or misuse the data held on the cloud. These might be people who are looking for revenge. Cancel the authentication of people that are fired or laid off as quickly as possible.

Secondly, inform and educate your staff and workers on the dangers of things like malware and weak passwords. Forwarding articles about cloud computing security, signing employees up for online courses, and even sharing the best password protections or storing options all great ways to help the users on your network stay as safe as possible while using the cloud.

#6 Insecure APIs

An API is an application programming interface, and programmers that use them to customize the user interface of cloud platforms can threaten the integrity of the security of your business’s cloud. Even embedding things as familiar as YouTube videos can leave the cloud open to risks.

How to Minimize the Risks of APIs

Since APIs make business and user service more creative, enjoyable, and accessible, there is no way that they will be going away any time soon. However, there are ways to minimize the risks of APIs.

You can only embed and use applications from trusted creators. Also, the use of apps in cloud computing services are communicating with one another, so finding compatible applications is a good start.

#7 Abuse of Cloud Services

Abuse of cloud services means that someone using the cloud service through the direction of a legitimate business or institution (such as a school, etc.) may cause that institution to face problems like copyright infringements and other legal issues. 

This could include downloading copyrighted materials or even viewing illegal things like child pornography. Copyright issues can cost up to $250,000, so the FBI is not messing around.

How to Limit the Abuse of Cloud Services

When you have people sign up to use your cloud services in an institution or business, make them sign a user agreement detailing what they can or cannot do. Then, revoke services and discipline the user if it is found out that they broke this user agreement.

Also, you can filter what can and cannot be used on the cloud platform that you are paying for. Filtering can be controversial, but this is not a first amendment right because people are using your money to access a cloud service to view the material. It is up to you to make sure your service is secure.

#8 Denying That Cloud Computing Services Have Been Attacked

One of the worst things that companies that have been hacked or hijacked can do is deny that the breach of security happened. The longer a company waits to investigate or get the help of the government, the more information they may be sacrificing, and the more people using their network may become at risk.

How to Deal with Breaches

Denying a breach is a political gain and will never help to retrieve or fight the hackers. Acknowledge and fight back against a hack with all the tools that you have, including a governmental step in.

How to Deal with Denial

Denial can damage relationships and the people who are being lied to. When a company denies any wrongdoing, it is limiting its effectiveness to deal with the problem of service attacks. It also shows insecurity. A secure system and company (or person) won’t hide behind denial.

#9 Shared Vulnerabilities

The responsibility of securing your data with cloud computing is a two-way street. The companies that run the servers and applications that you are using to store and access your files are dealing with security in their ways, which is usually very professional. But if you lack on your side, like not using two-step identification verification, you will put your information and cloud computing at risk.

How to Share Vulnerabilities

The user can be the weakest link in the chain. Some things that users can do to share vulnerabilities with the service provider are detailed below:

  • Use good passwords.
  • Store your passwords securely.
  • Use two-step identity verification.

All these things can help to keep your account secure and protect the security of your cloud computing. Some of the worst cloud computing security breaches were brought on by malware that a user accidentally or unintentionally uploaded. Know what you are downloading, keep your accounts secure, and limit access to your login credentials. 

#10 Limited Security Procedures of Companies

If a company itself is hacked, you may lose or have your files and information compromised. This means that the company’s procedures to secure their cloud network and servers were not enough or were not encrypted heavily enough, and a hacker exploited this weakness.

How to Deal with the Limited Security Procedures of Companies

Choose the companies and clouds that you decide to trust with your personal or important files and account information wisely. Only the best companies online should get your business and be trusted with your information.

The best security options for companies are to educate the users of their company platform, invest in ethical hackers to probe weaknesses, and choose a service with a good track record.

What are the Best Cloud Computing Security Tips?

If you are going to use cloud computing, several tips can help you to do your part in keeping your data safe and helping the company that runs the servers of your cloud computing. Here are five tips for maintaining the security of your cloud computing.

Tip #1: Know the Company That Runs the Server

The odds are that there are several options of companies that run the type of cloud computing services that you are thinking about using personally or for your business.

Do your homework and make sure to ask questions:

  • How do they provide security?
  • What does their track record look like?
  • What were their solutions to the obstacles they have faced?

Tip #2: Redundancy

Backing up your data onto multiple platforms and your disks is always a good idea. Also, local backups and especially ones that are in your possession are essential to making sure that your data stays secure and undamaged. Investing in eight-inch tapes might be taking it a bit too far. But who knows what type of technology will be obsolete in the next year?

Tip #3: Know How to Access Your Data

Many people have automated uploading to the cloud. This can be an excellent time-saving option, but what happens when you need to access your data? It also may be possible to lose data if you stop a cloud subscription service without realizing what and where you had data uploaded. Knowing how your information is organized on the cloud can help you to organize and make the most of your cloud computing space.

Tip #4: Keep Your Ear to the Ground

Asking others about their experiences with cloud computing services can help you to choose a company that is a good fit. Also, looking at reviews and reading the technology news about the companies that you are considering can shed light on how cloud computing from this service is seen by professionals who can give a fair assessment.

Tip #5: Test the Security of the Cloud Computing System

For you to honestly know if your cloud computing is secure, you’re going to have to test it out. There are people called “ethical-hackers” who work from within businesses to see if they can get access to your data from within the cloud. You want to make sure things are airtight. These types of hacks are sometimes done as routine to check for vulnerabilities.

In Conclusion

Cloud computing is an excellent asset to any business. Keeping your information on a server for easy and quick access is fundamental to how people do business in the world today. However, keeping that information and data safe is just as important as cloud computing services.

You are paying for a service that contains more than just cloud computing. Cloud computing services must include security as a central framework. Otherwise, you might as well keep shopping.

In the end, the best thing that you can do to keep your cloud computing data secure is never to save only one copy on the cloud, make copies, keep your copies close and at hand, and educate your workforce on the safest ways to use cloud computing.


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