Risks & Threats of Adopting Cloud Computing

22nd July 2013 | By Mouseworld Now Correspondent |

ALTEN Calsoft Labs-Director-Business Development and Marketing-Somenath NagIn today’s evolving information economy, where companies are facing severe pressure to reduce cost and conserve cash to face market uncertainties, cloud computing offers an immense opportunity to IT departments to convert fixed costs to variable costs and conserve cash. But as we are aware too much of good things are not good, hence cloud computing also brings some amount of threats and challenges to the organizations. Security ranks right at the top of the list of challenges irrespective of whether a company has started its cloud journey, planning to start one, or evaluating cloud as a viable alternatives, and in many cases these concerns are justified.

In one of its publications, Cloud Security Alliance has identified following as the most critical and important security challenges for cloud adoption:

Abuse and Nefarious Use of Cloud Computing

  •       Insecure Application Programming Interfaces
  •       Malicious Insiders
  •       Shared Technology Vulnerabilities
  •       Data Loss/Leakage
  •       Account, Service & Traffic Hijacking
  •       Unknown Risk Profile

Let us discuss how these things affect an enterprise in its cloud journey.

Hackers and unethical users continue to leverage new technologies to improve their reach, avoid detection, and improve the effectiveness of their unlawful activities. Though most of the cloud services providers provide the option of stricter security norms and advance tools, many cases enterprise IT departments do not apply those norms and tools to increase ease of use. Organizations need to adopt stricter initial registration and validation processes, comprehensive introspection of customer network traffic and a process for auditing the security breaches in the applications to ensure that application programming interfaces are secure.

The threat of a malicious insider is one of the most known threats for IT security. This threat is amplified for cloud deployment by the convergence of internal access, easier deployment method, and consumerization of IT. The malicious insiders can have severe impact on an organization, given their level of access and ability to infiltrate organizations and assets.

IaaS vendors deliver their services in a scalable way by sharing infrastructure. Often, the underlying components that make up this infrastructurewere not designed to offer strong isolation properties for a multi-tenant architecture. To manage this threat, organizations need to evaluate the IaaS providers properly and should take help of experts system integrators in this evaluation.

Insufficient policies and implementation of authentication, authorization, and audit (AAA) controls; inconsistent use of encryption and software keys, along with data center reliability; and disaster recovery, pose a major data theft and data loss challenge. Organizations need to have a stronger mechanism for formulating policies as well as for proper implementation of these policies to manage this challenge.

Account and service hijacking, usually with stolen credentials, remains a top threat for cloud implementation. Confidentiality, integrity and availability of cloud based servicescan be compromised using these stolen credentials.  Organizations need to be aware of these techniques device proper strategies to thwart these attacks and contain the damage in case of a breach.

We can understand from the above discussion that though there are certain risks associated with cloud deployment, these risks can be mitigated by devising and implanting proper IT policies.

 

–  BY Somenath Nag, Director – Business Development and Marketing, ALTEN Calsoft Labs

(The views expressed by the author in this article are his own. Mouseworld Now doesn’t own any responsibility for ideas opined here.)

 

© Mouseworld Now News Service

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