Last year, more than one billion records were compromised by cyber attacks. With more companies moving to the cloud, that number is likely to increase. Here's how to identify the biggest risks to your cloud data and what to do about them.
According to Forrester Research, the last year saw an unprecedented number of cyber attacks resulting in approximately one billion records being compromised. With more companies turning to cloud services to help process and store data, breaches will continue to hit companies across the industry spectrum. Given that, it's never been more important to understand how your cloud data is at risk so that you can work towards mitigating it.
Here are four ways that your cloud data is at risk, and the steps you can take to make sure it's better protected.
1. Cloud Service Compliance Violations
Large-scale hacks at companies like Equifax have shown companies that no one is immune to data breaches, and massive enterprise organizations can still have gaps in their IT security framework and compliance. You should never assume that a cloud services vendor is taking every precaution to keep your data safe. Vendors may not be up to date in their compliance, which could put your cloud data at risk. That's why it's important to question vendors what their efforts are to ensure compliance with local and federal regulations, as well as implementing your own security precautions, such as data encryption before your cloud data ever hits their servers.
2. Data Leakage
Data leaks can happen in any organization. Employee error, shadow IT, and lax security protocols all play a role in increasing the likelihood that a data leak will happen. But the bottom line is that the more data that's moved from place to place, the more susceptible a company is to a serious data leakage. That's why cloud data can be seriously at risk if the right steps aren't taken to encrypt that data and keep it safe from prying eyes. Creating a process for authorizing cloud apps that employees might use and ensuring that employees understand and adhere to company policies involving access to company software and databases should be an ongoing focus for IT departments.
3. Unidentified Cloud Apps
Recent studies show that CIOs woefully underestimate how many cloud apps are in use by employees within their organizations. According to the 2017 Internet Security Threat Report from Symantec, CIOs estimated there were 40 cloud apps being used in their organization, when the real number was closer to 1,000. Unauthorized cloud apps provide a huge risk to companies because it introduces company data and user access to cloud apps that may not have been vetted and approved previously by the IT department.
4. Lax Encryption Key Management
We've mentioned encryption key management before, but it can't be emphasized enough. Many standard encryption services that cloud services vendors offer doesn't give the data controller access to or management of their encryption key. This approach to key management can introduce all kinds of issues and make your cloud data much more at risk if your cloud provider gets hacked. Storing and managing encryption keys in a separate location from your cloud data - and making sure cloud service providers do not get access to the keys - is integral in keeping your data secure. Not only is it a best practice, but with the upcoming GDPR going into effect in 2018, it's a key compliance mandate for companies that utilize cloud services.