Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient and on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources. Cloud computing is the delivery of on-demand computing resources—everything from applications to data centers—over the internet on a pay-for-use basis.
Types of Cloud Services:
Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) – The basic category of cloud computing services. It’s like rent the IT infrastructure (servers & virtual machines, storage, networks, operating systems). Create a system with all necessary services in just a few minutes, is never been so easy.
Platform as a service (PaaS) – It supply an on-demand environment for developing, testing, delivering and managing software applications. Used to make developer’s life easier to quickly create web or mobile apps, without worrying about setting up infrastructure.
Software as a service (SaaS) – A method for delivering software applications over the Internet, on demand and typically on a subscription basis. With this, cloud providers host and manage the software application and handle any maintenance, like software upgrades and security patching.
Types of cloud deployments:
Public Cloud – Public clouds are owned and operated by a third-party cloud service provider, which deliver their computing resources like servers and storage over the Internet. Microsoft Azure is an example of a public cloud. We can access these services over web browser.
Private Cloud – A private cloud refers to cloud computing resources used exclusively by a single business or organization. In this type of cloud deployment, the services and infrastructure are maintained on a private network.
Hybrid Cloud – Hybrid clouds combine public and private clouds, bound together by technology that allows data and applications to be shared between them. This give businesses more flexibility and more deployment options.
Cloud Security Threats & Concerns:
While moving to the cloud offers a number of benefits to businesses, many have concerns regarding security. Security in cloud is a combine responsibility of both the cloud provider and client.
Below are some of the most prominent security threats and concerns facing businesses moving to the cloud:
- Data Breaches – A data breach is an incident in which sensitive, protected or confidential information is released, viewed, stolen or used by an individual who is unauthorized to do so. Cloud providers are highly accessible and the vast amount of data makes them an attractive target and have good security for aspects.
- Insufficient Identity, Credential and Access Management – Data breaches and enabling of attacks occur because of a lack of identity access management systems, failure to use multifactor authentication, weak password use, and no automated rotation of cryptographic keys, passwords and certificates. This will enable unauthorized access to data.
- Account Hijacking – If an attacker gains access to the credentials, he can eavesdrop on all activities and transactions, manipulate data and return falsified information. Hijacking is possible by stolen credentials of the legitimate user and could gain sensitive data stored in cloud. Other methods of hijacking include scripting bugs and reused passwords, which allow attackers to easily gain access and often without detection steal credentials.
- System Vulnerabilities – System vulnerabilities are exploitable weaknesses in programs that attackers can use for stealing data, taking control of the system or disrupting service operations. Vulnerabilities within the components of the operating system (kernel, system libraries and application tools) put the security of all services and data at significant risk. The solution for this is to do regular vulnerability scanning, follow up on reported system threats and installation of security patches or upgrades go a long way toward closing the security gaps left open by vulnerabilities.
- Malicious Insiders – A Malicious insider threat to organization is a current or former employee, contractor, or other business partner who has or had authorized access to data and intentionally misused that access that impact negatively the CIA of organization’s information.
- Advanced Persistent Threats – Direct hacking systems, delivering attack code through USB devices, penetration through partner networks and use of unsecured or third-party networks are common points of entry for APTs. Once in place, APTs can move laterally through data center networks and blend in with normal network traffic to achieve their objectives.
- Data Loss – Data stored in the cloud can be lost for reasons other than malicious attacks. An accidental deletion by the cloud service provider, encryption key lost or a physical catastrophe such as a fire or earthquake, can lead to the permanent loss of customer data. Effective measures be the provider or cloud consumer takes adequate measures to back up data, following best practices in business continuity and disaster recovery – as well as daily data backup and possibly off-site storage.
- Insufficient Due Diligence – This gap occurs when an organization does not have a clear plan for its goals, resources and policies for the cloud. In other words, it’s the people factor. This phase is especially important to companies whose data falls under regulatory laws like PCI and HIPAA or those that handle financial data for customers.
- Shared Vulnerabilities – As mentioned earlier, cloud security is a shared responsibility between the provider and client. Omitting ours responsibilities can lead to a huge loss of data. The key is that a single vulnerability or misconfiguration can lead to a compromise across an entire provider’s cloud.
- Insecure APIs – Application Programming Interfaces (API) give users the opportunity to customize their cloud experience. By nature, APIs not only give companies the ability to customize features of their cloud services to fit business needs, but it also authenticate, provide access and effect encryption. The vulnerability of an API lies in the communication that takes place between applications, while with this programmers and businesses can leave exploitable security risks.
- Denial of Service Attacks – In Denial of service, hackers attempt to make a website and servers unavailable to legitimate users. In some cases, it can also take down security appliances such as web application firewalls.
- Malware Injection – Malware injections are scripts or code embedded into cloud services that act as “valid instances” and run as SaaS to cloud servers. This means that malicious code can be injected into cloud services and viewed as part of the software or service that is running within the cloud servers themselves. Once an injection is executed and the cloud begins operating with it, attackers can eavesdrop, compromise the integrity of sensitive information, and steal data.
The cloud has opened up a whole new aspects for storage, access, flexibility and productivity. It’s also opened up a new world of security concerns. By being aware of these security concerns, we can build a cloud security strategy to protect our business.