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Five Cloud Security Vulnerabilities You Need to Address Featured

Five Cloud Security Vulnerabilities You Need to Address "When we visited Ut\u00f6, the most outer island of this beautiful archipelago in the place we call Finland, I allowed myself to be guided by the incredible energy of Inca, the daughter of the family we were visiting there. She took me to a series of abandoned bunkers from the times this island was a military strategic point and there I found this graffiti that represent very well the feeling of all that has to do with military, war, conflict and drama. \r\n\r\nWith love from Korpo."

Organizations have to take precautions to maintain the security of their cloud infrastructures. Cloud environments have become prime targets for hackers and cybercriminals. As more companies move workloads to the cloud, the value of their data cloud-based data resources increases.

Following are five security vulnerabilities that can expose an organization’s cloud environment to cyberattacks. Addressing these vulnerabilities effectively will improve your cloud security posture and better protect your valuable data resources. 

Lack of visibility into cloud resources 

A necessary first step in addressing cloud security is to understand the extent of your cloud environment. It’s very easy for cloud sprawl to set in and for an organization to lose track of its cloud services. In some cases, deliberate actions by employees result in shadow IT where cloud products and services are used without a company’s knowledge or approval. Companies should enforce a policy of immediately removing cloud instances when they are no longer in use. Effective security measures cannot be put in place without complete visibility into your cloud resources. 

Poor identity and credential management

Compromised credentials are increasingly being used by cybercriminals to gain access to cloud resources. An access request can come in from any location using a wide variety of devices. The proliferation of the mobile workforce has made it even more important to verify identities before allowing access to enterprise cloud systems. Users need to protect credentials and organizations need to implement comprehensive monitoring to identify potential intrusions or privilege abuses that can lead to data breaches.

Misconfigured cloud resources

Misconfigured resources can present vulnerabilities that can be taken advantage of by cybercriminals. A simple misconfigured parameter can expose a system to malicious behavior. The same scalability that is a selling point for cloud computing can potentially allow misconfigurations to proliferate through the environment. Vulnerable systems can be inadvertently replicated to scale systems and greatly increase the attack surface. Companies without experience in cloud configurations should consider working with a knowledgeable partner to assist in implementing effective security. 

Vulnerable software supply chains

Companies are making more extensive use of third-party software components when developing applications. Each element of a software supply chain offers a potential entry point for cybercriminals. Organizations need to be careful about using third-party solutions that are not officially supported. Periodic reviews should be conducted to eliminate third-party tools that are not being used to reduce the attack surface. 

Unsecured cloud storage

Cloud storage is an easily accessible and limitlessly scalable resource that enables organizations to store data so it can be used efficiently from any location. Unfortunately, this accessibility can be leveraged by cybercriminals to exfiltrate sensitive and high-value data resources. Data can be stolen or misused because of misconfigured security, malicious insiders, or compromised credentials. All sensitive data elements should be encrypted to guard against unintentional disclosure. Zero-trust security can be implemented to reduce the risk of insider threats and employee education can help minimize unauthorized access. 

These are a few of the security issues companies face in a cloud computing environment. Granular visibility is essential for keeping cloud resources secure. Organizations should consider performing discovery and assessment of their environment to obtain a complete view of their resources. Armed with that information, they can develop a more effective plan to secure their cloud infrastructure. 

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 Robert Agar

I am a freelance writer who graduated from Pace University in New York with a Computer Science degree in 1992. Over the course of a long IT career I have worked for a number of large service providers in a variety of roles revolving around data storage and protection. I currently reside in northeastern Pennsylvania where I write from my home office.

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