What are the Security Risks of Cloud Computing?
The top cloud computing risks are:
- Data Security
- Cost Management
- Lack of Knowledgeable Resources
- Data Location & Segregation
- Long-Term Viability & Recovery
Everywhere you turn around, “cloud” seems to be the most coined term. Every business is keen on shifting to the cloud for added security and data protection. No wonder it is one of the most discussed topics in the IT world that continues to evolve at a rapid pace.
But the concept of cloud computing services still seems pretty vague to many people. Businesses focusing on shifting to the cloud for data protection and security are always on the verge of getting cloud washed.
What is cloud washing? It is a deceptive attempt by service providers to rebrand their old products and services by associating the word "cloud" with them. To escape such frauds, it is essential to understand the complex concepts of cloud computing facilities along with the risks that follow them before you hire them for your business.
So, what are the cloud computing risks? Ever wondered about how migrating to the cloud can also involve a lot of potential threats to your business? Before we dive into such concepts, let's have a quick look at what cloud computing is:
What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing refers to delivering software and hardware facilities over the internet via remote servers. These servers are known for storing, processing, and managing data, enabling users to upgrade or expand their IT infrastructure while retrieving the files on demand.
One of the reasons behind the immense success of the cloud is that users only have to pay for what they intend to use for their businesses. So, there are no hidden charges or unnecessary expenses when it comes to shifting to the cloud. And the benefits of the cloud computing are enormous and forever expanding.
But before you hire the best cloud computing service providers, here are the underlying concepts of the cloud for your reference:
What is SaaS?
SaaS or Software as a Service refers to the software distribution model, where the cloud service provider hosts the applications to offer to the end user over the internet. Given the current remote working environment, businesses are always looking for seamless ways to deliver and manage their software systems from anywhere in the world.
Here, an independent software vendor or ISV can contract any reputed third-party cloud service vendor to host the application. Due to such versatility and functionalities of cloud computing, one can now own, deliver, and manage their software remotely through one or multiple providers.
So, with SaaS or Software as a Service, you no longer have to install the software but can rent it from the SaaS companies for a monthly or yearly subscription. In addition, marketing, CRM, and finance-related tools often use SaaS business intelligence.
What is IaaS?
Infrastructure as a service or IaaS helps manage the IT infrastructure like servers, networking resources, storage, etc. Furthermore, it aids in delivering these facilities to the subscriber companies using virtual machines accessible through an internet connection. Therefore, it is available to clients on demand, making it easier to manage official workloads in a flexible, cost-friendly, and efficient way.
What is PaaS?
Platform as a service refers to the development and deployment environment available within the cloud. It enables the providers to offer everything from simple to advanced cloud-enabled enterprise applications. In this case, the users enjoy the benefits of the pay-as-you-go feature, where they have to only pay for the services required for their businesses.
It offers a complete cloud platform to the users, including infrastructure, software, and hardware systems for running, developing, and managing the apps seamlessly without inflexibility or complexity. It is also available in hybrid, private and public cloud environments.
A Quick Look At The Cloud Computing Study by Foundry (2022)
Companies shifting from traditional on-premise computing systems need at least a local server for their cloud migration. As per the Cloud Computing Study (2022) by Foundry, around 84% of organizations have minimal one application or even a portion of the entire computing infrastructure already present in the cloud. Furthermore, as per the stats, the percentage of enterprises shifting to the cloud will ultimately grow by 10% more within the next 18 months.
Traditional spreadsheets can never be enough for handling a company's data. No wonder cloud computing services have been in demand and continually expanding since their inception. Living in this digital age incorporates big data and data discovery concepts that cannot fit into the traditional storage system. So, either online data visualization systems or BI tools find utility in organizations that manage large data pools for their businesses.
But is it seamless to shift to the cloud? The process might apparently look like a simpler one, but it comes with its own list of risks and challenges. A recent survey of 997 technical professionals shows that every adoption of cloud infrastructures faces a few challenges during migration. What are these? Let's find out here:
Top Cloud Computing Risks
Data Security: A Major Concern?
Security will continue to be a pressing concern for every organization in any corner of the world. Cloud computing definitely offers excellent security for managing your data. But it also provides a few challenges when it comes to implanting these processes for cloud migration. The primary concerns surrounding these cyber threats include the following:
- Credentials compromised
- Cracked authentication
- Human errors
- Account hijacking
- Hacked interfaces & APIs
- Mass sensitive data breach
These concerns are pretty alarming, given that cybersecurity expenses can reach $10.5 trillion by 2025. Along with these, it becomes challenging to trust any third-party cloud service vendor with company information and sensitive proprietary data.
So, it is inevitable that you verify if the SaaS providers are reliable and can offer advanced secure user identity management along with access control mechanisms.
Among other issues, compliance seems to be quite important. Any organization needs to comply with the standards and regulations, no matter where you decide to store your sensitive data. While doing so, ensure that the SaaS provider offers strict data recovery policies.
Why do you need to consider these points? That's chiefly because you get to understand the cybersecurity capabilities of each entity present within the ecosystem while reducing the potential threats and attacks towards your organization.
Cost Management: Does It Apply To Cloud Computing?
Wondering why this point is included in the risk list? Generally, companies switch to cloud computing to lower operational and other expenses. In addition, due to the availability of the pay-as-you-go model from the service provider, businesses can ramp up the processing capabilities and only pay for what they use.
Although these might sound pretty rewarding, the real scenario is slightly different. The on-demand and scalable nature of these computing facilities make it challenging to predict and define the appropriate costs and quantities.
So, these cloud computing charges can go way beyond your company's budget if not taken proper care of initially. However, there are multiple ways to optimize these expenses by conducting advanced financial reporting and analytics, keeping management reporting practices, or automating the policies.
Another incredible way to tackle this issue is by using multi-cloud computing tools. As per the stats, around 32 percent of companies use multi-cloud cybersecurity tools to lower such devastating risks financially.
On the other hand, around 31 percent of the leading companies utilize direct multi-cloud cost management tools to mitigate the entire enterprise's financial efficiency. In both scenarios, the ROI seems to be pretty healthy. Hence, it might be one of the compelling strategies to use to lower cloud computing expenses for businesses.
Lack Of Knowledgeable Resources
Another biggest challenge that many organizations face is the lack of resources or professional expertise for shifting and using the detailed features of the cloud. In addition, cloud technologies keep on reinventing themselves almost every minute. As a result, businesses continually place more workloads while overlooking the importance of upgrading their skills as per the ongoing demand and growth of cloud technologies.
Reporting, Information Analysis, and Planning
Once the key vulnerabilities are identified, they are documented and reported to get a deeper analysis report. Such analysis enables the experts to understand the underlying causes and the potential impact of these threats. Following this, these professionals determine the perfect set of solutions depending on the extent and severity of the probable damages.
As a result of such conditions, organizations often find it challenging to keep up with the advanced features and tools of cloud computing.
How to solve this issue? Well, the easiest way to manage this situation is by implementing a robust CIO (chief information officer) championing cloud adoption along with appropriate training of the development and IT professionals.
The ultimate success of cloud migration depends on your professional staff and the investments the organization chooses to make in its talent transformation program. But is it a cost-friendly option for start-ups and other budding organizations? Honestly, employing IT specialists is never an affordable option for businesses.
The good news is that most of the tasks can be automated, often preferred by many organizations, like using the DevOps tools, such as Puppet and Chef, for task and resource management. Such tools are ideal for switching to the cloud without incurring a load of bills for employing additional IT professionals in your organization.
Cloud governance refers to the set of practices that helps users to operate and monitor their activities within the cloud as and when required. But it gets pretty complicated for IT to have complete control over operations, deprovisioning, and provisioning of infrastructure, especially while moving to the cloud.
So, it has eventually raised the challenges to offer risks, compliance, governance, and data quality management whenever required to ensure that they support the organization's goals and pre-defined strategies.
Performance Can Take A Blow!
Shifting to the cloud makes you dependent on your service providers. One of the most prominent challenges in this regard is that your BI and additional cloud-based systems remain tied to the overall performance of your provider.
Of course, you shifted to enjoy the innovative technologies offered by these cloud computing service vendors. But what happens if the provider fails to perform adequately? It definitely hits your performance quotient as well.
But this cloud computing risk can be controlled, provided you hire the top cloud computing vendors in the market. Ensure that these providers have the right processes and will offer alerts in case of unwanted issues. Also, it is important to get access to real-time data, which smoothes your enterprise's overall data-driven decision making processes.
Data Location & Segregation
When you are using the cloud, you might not be aware of the exact location where your company data is stored. Sometimes, you might have to face compliance issues, depending on the jurisdiction of the countries where it is stored. To lower such risks, you need to clearly understand the jurisdictions, their laws and compliance rules, and the local privacy requirements before storing your data publicly.
Along with this, data segregation also needs your attention. Although encryption offers you a primary layer of protection, it isn't save-it-all. Before hiring the best cloud service provider, understand whether the encryption schemes are designed and tested by experienced testers and specialists. After all, encryption accidents can happen anytime, making your data totally unusable and vulnerable to potential threats.
Long-Term Viability & Recovery
Ideally, you will be with a third-party vendor who can never go broke or acquired. But what happens otherwise? Your company's sensitive data and information must be available even if a bigger brand has acquired the company. It is a common risk that comes along when you sign up with any cloud service provider for hosting purposes. However, to combat such a situation, ask your vendor to offer you ways to get your data back and in a format, you can import within the replacement application.
And with this comes the expected risk of disasters. What happens to your data in case of any failure? Understand that if the offering isn't replicating app and data infrastructure across different sites, then it is always vulnerable to being a total failure. So, before hiring a cloud computing service, ask your vendor to offer a complete restoration and a potential timeline.
Who Are The Best Cloud Service Providers?
If you want to mitigate cloud computing risks and get the best after-sales services, you need to find the best cloud service providers in the market. The top ones in this regard are:
These brands have proven to be the top-rated cloud service providers with excellent smart analytics and database solutions. Get the best out of these brands by joining us at DC Gears. We partner with these cloud service providers and offer you exceptional on-site professional services 24*7 across the global platform. Call to know more!