The Checkpoint Cyber Security Report 2020 reviewed the most impactful cyber incidents of 2019 to suggest predictions for the coming year. The report overall provides a valuable framework for the kind of cloud security options organisations should consider when constructing their 2020 cybersecurity strategy.
As cloud services get increasingly popular among businesses, new threats emerge that people often don’t foresee and sometimes don’t become aware of until they have already been compromised.
Vulnerabilities in cloud services are an increasingly popular target for cybercriminals. A successful attack can allow them access to the sensitive data of every business that uses that platform. In fact attacks against the cloud have increased by nearly 28% year-on-year.
Checkpoint’s study found four major vulnerabilities that are most common when it comes to cloud services. An educated awareness of these exploits, and an understanding of the best ways to protect against them, provides a key foundation for keeping your organisation safe in the cloud.
Unauthorised cloud access
This has been one of the biggest threats to cloud security for a long time. If a bad actor can access information stored in your cloud, they can not only cause huge damages to your business but may also be able to infiltrate the sensitive information of other organisations that store data with that service.
There are many ways that criminals can exploit access points. They can break insecure passwords, take advantage of dormant accounts or capitalise on insider threats to gain access to your data.
Properly limiting access to sensitive information to only those who need to see it can go a long way towards protecting against this kind of vulnerability. Making an effort to protect against insider threats can also help, as well as ensuring that essential measures such as multi-factor authentication are properly implemented.
Digital keys used to secure web-based infrastructures have been a target for cybercriminals for years. An attacker who manages to take control of a gateway between your business and the place you store your information can take advantage of that connection for their own gain.
By compromising the interface, they can interact with the cloud services and the data stored within them. These exploits also allow malware to evade security built into the host much more easily than other forms of attack so that hackers can help themselves to sensitive information.
Establishing secure API gateways when you adopt a cloud service and maintaining control over them is critical to protecting against these attacks. Strong access control and effective authentication measures, as features of a comprehensive cloud security model, can help to prevent interfaces being exploited.
Misconfiguration of the cloud platform
99% of misconfiguration incidents in the cloud go unnoticed, including some that have resulted in millions of customer records open to theft. Worryingly, only 26% of organisations feel equipped to deal with misconfiguration audits, which leaves an enormous number of businesses at risk of a data breach.
Configurations are a crucial part of security. Protective measures need to be built into the foundations of your network or you risk falling victim to common attacks that target out-of-the-box services.
If you don’t have someone on your team with the skills to ensure that security is properly integrated, third-party tools and external experts are valuable resources when it comes to keeping your organisation safe. Even if you do have someone on your side, an extra pair of educated eyes to check through your systems won’t hurt.
If a malicious actor manages to compromise any of the credentials used to access your cloud platforms, they can manipulate your data from within your accounts. This allows them to perform all manner of unauthorised activity as long as they go undetected. They can steal or manipulate your sensitive information or redirect your customers to illicit sites that seize data and hijack transactions.
Thorough access protocols must be in place to prevent your cloud accounts getting taken over by criminals. This means ensuring everyone with access privileges is properly using multi-factor authentication. You also need to make sure that your important files are effectively and securely backed up and encrypted to mitigate the damage caused by this kind of attack.
Ultimately, protecting your organisation’s cloud-based data requires a multi-layered and proactive approach to cybersecurity that takes every possibility into consideration. The most common attacks can be defended against by robust security procedures that are maintained effectively at every level of your company.