Cloud storage is gaining popularity among security providers looking to avoid downtime and increase the agility of their operations. However, the sensitive nature of maintaining data and video has led to concerns regarding the suitability of this storage medium.
While cloud solutions are generally secure, being aware of vulnerabilities is crucial to maintaining optimal performance.
What is Cloud Storage?
Cloud storage is the digital storage of data in distributed servers offsite. These servers then function together as a harmonious whole with secure software that connects the various storage locations.
It’s a flexible alternative to in-house data storage—either as a completely separate option or in a hybrid setup. Servers and data managed in-house generally require IT support and ongoing management, adding to overall total cost of ownership.
Potential Cloud Storage Vulnerabilities
As organizations embrace cloud technology, the global services market continues on the upswing. With an expected reach to $257 billion by the end of 2020—a 6.3% increase from 2019—cloud computing continues to gain traction and head mainstream.
But with all the benefits the cloud has to offer, it comes with a caveat: cloud vulnerabilities. Here are some vulnerabilities to be aware of and solutions to combat these potential shortcomings.
Authentication Doesn’t Match Company Policy
Your security business already implements robust authentication standards, safeguarding all access points for your users and systems. This may include multi-factor authentication (MFA) and other measures designed to keep sensitive data safe by layering in controls and detection. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that the cloud service provider will share these same security practices.
Remote access is one of the key selling points for cloud services. This capability makes it easy to control and manage security camera monitoring or other devices without being physically present and empowers analysis teams. However, ease of access must be tempered with the right authentication policies and best practices.
Solution: Select a Partner Who Matches Your Standards
Only work with a cloud storage provider who can match your high authentication standards. This provider should ensure you have control over the authentication protocols for your storage. This means you can implement authentication protocols that reflect the policies already in place elsewhere.
It is critical for security organizations to keep track of who is using their systems and when, but that may become an issue with cloud storage. Why? Because of the remote access element of a cloud solution. Anyone with access credentials can use your cloud storage from any location and at any time—if the right safeguards aren’t in place.
This means former employees, contractors, individuals using borrowed credentials and others may access the system. Without monitoring systems in place, you do not know who is accessing the storage and what they’re doing once they’ve gained access.
Solution: Adopt Measures for Streamlined Security
Adopt password generators so users do not need to retain their own access credentials. Make passwords time-sensitive so that they can only be used during a predetermined access window and automatically suspend access after that timeframe. Implement strict access policies and deny and identify the attempt to access the system with any credentials other than authorized users.
You will also want to implement monitoring and assessment. Being able to check precisely who is using the solution, when they are using it and what they are doing is a big boost for security. Keep accurate records as you continue to assess usage authorization.
Unknown Storage Locations
Cloud storage means data is not stored in physical servers. Instead, the data is housed in a digital location in the cloud. Right? Well, not exactly. The data still needs to be stored on a physical server somewhere. In most cases, your digital assets will be stored across several different servers and linked together using software to support seamless operation.
The problem is, it can be difficult to know where these servers are located. You may not know how secure the location is or what controls have been put in place to protect the data. Sharing the cloud may also be a concern. Who else is sharing your cloud storage structure? What kind of access do they have?
Solution: Use a Transparent Provider
Choose a cloud services provider with a policy of transparency. Your provider should be able to tell you where your data is being stored and inform you of the security measures in place to protect your data. Choose a private cloud solution or virtual private cloud wherever possible. This will reduce the chance of unauthorized access.
No Automatic Backups
“Cloud” and “backup” are often mentioned in the same breath. This is because security providers often back their data up in the cloud, ready for immediate download if required. However, it should not be assumed that all data stored in the cloud is automatically backed up. Nor should you assume that you will have instantaneous access to this stored data.
Without a robust backup system with redundancy in place you run the risk of losing critical data. You may also find your business vulnerable to expensive downtime.
Solution: Adopt Backup Policy
Adopt a systematic policy of data backup. Work with a provider that offers automatic backups and swift data recovery. Make sure your data backup works alongside these automated backups, adding an extra layer of defense.
No Plan in Place for Incident Response
You already have an incident response plan. This plan governs your in-house systems, your teams, software and other aspects of your operations. But does it extend to the cloud?
If not, you may find yourself in trouble in the event of a cloud breach or another systematic failure.
Solution: Extend Your Incident Response Plan
Communicate with your cloud provider. Make sure they are willing to work with you to extend your incident response plan to cloud structures.
The reality of cloud storage is that vulnerabilities will continue to exist. It’s up to you to choose solutions that will provide the best protection for your security service.
Our team can help you safeguard your data and address cloud security vulnerabilities before they turn into bigger problems.