Viviek Upadhyay - Senior Project Mangement Consultant

Cloud computing has enjoyed tremendous growth in a very short period of time, possibly more than any other technology in the last century. It offers numerous benefits for every sector. However, it’s important to be mindful of the specific security risks inherent in moving to the cloud and running cloud-based operations.

The good news is that with the right guidance and a considered strategy, your cloud migration, and experience thereafter, can remain safe and be purely advantageous to your business.

Here is a snapshot of common security risks and how to mitigate them.

Key threats to be aware of

From a cybersecurity perspective, the main risks to keep in mind when migrating to the cloud are:

  1. Data breaches
  2. Malware and ransomware attacks
  3. Denial-of-service attacks
  4. Phishing scams

These can occur because firstly, the cloud offers less visibility than traditional data centre models, and secondly, data typically traverses over the public network ,which increases risk and expands the attack surface. When data is stored in the cloud, it is stored on a remote server that is accessed over the internet. Without the right controls this data is then more susceptible to being hacked or intercepted.

In addition, organisations lose some control over their data as they are relying on a third-party to store and manage it. Customer data can be mishandled or sold without the customer’s knowledge or consent. Regardless of who leaks the data, the blame and penalties (which can be devastating) will ultimately fall on the organisation who owns the data.

Furthermore, the cloud’s on-demand provision of resources increases the risks of not applying proper access controls. When there are too many user roles and privileges, the amount of doorways into your system explodes and you are naturally more vulnerable.

Finally, businesses have the flexibility in choosing specific models (IAAS, PAAS, SAAS), but are not aware of the responsibilities with each and fail to understand the shared responsibility model – a common cause of eventual cyber breaches.

How to avoid these problems

Expert guidance is really advisable when you’re migrating to the cloud. Ideally you should work with a company that can assess your current state, business goals and objectives, and then develop a secure and compliant cloud strategy. They will design and implement a cloud solution that is fit for purpose and manage and optimise it once it’s gone live.

Most importantly, you must establish a set of security standards and baselines. This includes leveraging industry best practices, such as applying the Center for Internet Security benchmarks to initially configure and secure cloud accounts and subscriptions, and having privileged access controls. There should be multi-factor authentications for all administrative access, cloud-wide logging enabled, and a strong encryption strategy.

Investing in a cloud security posture management service is always a good idea, too. Yes, there are many cybersecurity risks in a cloud-run operation but they can be very successfully mitigated when your security is in the right hands!

For more information on cloud migration with CGI, visit our website.