Exploring Cloud Computing Risks and Security Hurdles

The worldwide shift toward cloud computing significantly changes how businesses approach data management and operation. Regardless of whether private, public, or hybrid cloud models are employed, the advantages of cloud computing are numerous, including heightened efficiency, reduced expenses, and increased flexibility. Nonetheless, utilizing cloud computing carries potential risks that need to be addressed for sustainable business operations.

Business Risks Associated with Cloud Computing

Although cloud computing can bring many advantages to businesses, it also has a set of potential risks that should be carefully considered. Here are some of the main areas of risk that come with moving to cloud computing:

Limited Visibility and Control

When implementing cloud computing, a significant issue is the risk of relinquishing visibility and control over your data and infrastructure. Historically, organizations maintained complete oversight over their systems in on-premise settings, which ensured they could keep the highest level of security and compliance at all times.

However, transitioning to the cloud can obscure this control, making monitoring and managing resources more challenging.

The absence of transparency in business cloud usage poses significant operational threats. Not only does it hinder compliance with industry regulations, but it also impedes the identification and handling of security incidents.

Addressing these challenges necessitates the implementation of explicit policies and guidelines for cloud utilization, investment in monitoring tools and services tailored to cloud environments, and regular communication with cloud service providers to promote transparency.

Potential Unauthorized Access and Use

Storing data in the cloud is convenient, but potentially risks unauthorized access. This may occur due to insufficient authentication, compromised login credentials, or internal hazards. This can lead to data breaches, financial losses, and harm to a company’s reputation.

Organizations should prioritize security by implementing robust password guidelines, multi-factor authentication, and regular user access reviews. To enhance security further, companies should adopt a zero-trust approach that continuously verifies users and devices before granting access to resources. These measures are crucial in preventing security breaches.

Compromised APIs

APIs are crucial in enabling communication between cloud-based services and applications. However, inadequate security measures could pose a significant risk to businesses, leaving them vulnerable to malicious attacks.

To safeguard against security threats, companies must adopt rigorous measures such as API authentication, encryption, and routine vulnerability scanning. Equally critical is adherence to established API development and management guidelines, guaranteeing that all APIs are carefully crafted to prioritize security at every stage.

Inadequate Data Removal

Deleting data in cloud environments can be complicated. Sometimes, even after attempts to delete it, some data may remain on cloud servers. This leftover data can be risky because it may be accessed and misused by malicious individuals, leading to data breaches or non-compliance issues.

Organizations must develop and implement robust data deletion policies and procedures to ensure thorough data removal. This includes understanding the data deletion processes offered by their cloud service provider (CSP) and verifying that these processes align with the organization’s data protection requirements.

In addition, regular audits and monitoring can also help ensure that all data is appropriately deleted when no longer needed.

Identifying and Addressing Threats in Hybrid Cloud and On-Premise Infrastructures

To effectively incorporate hybrid infrastructures into your organization’s operations, it is essential to fully comprehend the potential risks present in both on-premise and cloud environments. These possible vulnerabilities include unauthorized access, data breaches, API weaknesses, misconfigurations, and inconsistent security policies.

Unauthorized Access

Unauthorized access remains a top security concern for hybrid cloud and on-premise infrastructures, as hackers often exploit stolen or inadequate credentials to breach sensitive data and systems.

To counter this threat, businesses must implement multi-factor authentication features like SMS or biometric authentication to bolster security. Additionally, access control lists and segregation of duties can help prevent unauthorized access, further enhancing system security.

Data Breaches

Data breaches remain a significant risk to cloud security, and the hybrid cloud environment is no exception. Organizations should deploy encryption protocols to prevent data loss to secure all types of data against unauthorized access. Additionally, they must monitor their systems for any suspicious activities and patch software vulnerabilities as they arise.

API Vulnerabilities

APIs enable communication between different applications, making them crucial for hybrid cloud and on-premise infrastructures. However, if not secured properly, they can also pose a risk. To prevent unauthorized access, businesses can implement strict API access controls and use API gateways to filter and authorize requests.


It is important for businesses that utilize both hybrid cloud and on-premise infrastructures to understand that their systems may be at risk if their software or hardware configurations are not set up correctly.

Regular scanning of the infrastructure can help identify and fix misconfigurations. Additionally, automated monitoring and issue tracking can help quickly detect and respond to any misconfigurations.

Inconsistent Security Policies

Businesses face the challenge of enforcing consistent security policies across hybrid cloud and on-premise infrastructures. An inconsistent security policy exposes organizations to security threats, as teams may unknowingly violate security policies that could lead to vulnerabilities.

To address this challenge, businesses must develop comprehensive security policies consistent across all systems and infrastructures. In addition, regular training and awareness programs can also help teams understand their role in maintaining security policies.

Proactive Security Measures for Cloud Migration

Organizations can follow certain best practices to maintain the security of their data while migrating to the cloud. These include taking proactive measures and implementing security measures to mitigate any risks.

Privileged Access Management (PAM)

Privileged Access Management (PAM) is an essential security practice that should be embraced by companies moving to the cloud. PAM entails managing and observing access to sensitive systems and resources by individuals with advanced permissions, such as administrators or other privileged users.

A well-implemented PAM system can prevent unauthorized access, decrease the likelihood of internal security breaches, and satisfy regulatory requirements.

Organizations should consider incorporating PAM solutions designed specifically for cloud environments when migrating to the cloud. These solutions often include multi-factor authentication, role-based access control, and continuous monitoring of privileged user activities.

Defense in Depth Strategies

The concept of defense in depth is integral to an organization’s cybersecurity protocol. Organizations can effectively safeguard their data and infrastructure by implementing various security measures across multiple layers. With this approach, supplementary measures remain in place to thwart a full-scale attack even if one layer is breached.

A growing trend in the space is to layer Privileged Access Management solutions along with services like IBM Red Hat DS or Microsoft’s Active Directory. Key elements of a defensive, in-depth strategy for cloud migration may include network segmentation, encryption of data at rest and in transit, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and regular vulnerability assessments and patching.

Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP)

Remote Desktop Protocols (RDP) allow users to remotely access and control a computer remotely, providing unparalleled flexibility. However, RDP also opens up potential security risks if not handled carefully.

Organizations must secure RDP connections with multi-factor authentication and encryption technologies to safeguard against unauthorized access and other security threats. Regular monitoring of RDP sessions and implementing other security protocols are crucial in detecting suspicious activity and minimizing potential security risks.

Keep Your Cloud Security a Priority

Transitioning to the cloud allows organizations to improve their operational effectiveness while cutting costs. However, this move also poses security hazards that call for practical solutions to safeguard sensitive data from malicious activities.

Employing proactive measures like deploying Privileged Access Management solutions, embracing defense-in-depth policies, and securing remote desktop protocols are essential in maintaining cloud security.

By adhering to these best practices when adopting the cloud, organizations can guarantee that they are executing all the necessary precautions to maintain a robust cybersecurity posture while advancing their operations.

Image used under license from Shutterstock.com

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Joseph Carson

Joseph Carson

Joseph Carson is a cybersecurity professional with more than 25 years of experience in enterprise security and infrastructure. Currently, Carson is the Chief Security Scientist and Advisory CISO at Delinea. He is an active member of the cybersecurity community and a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). Carson is also a cybersecurity adviser to several governments, critical infrastructure organizations, and financial and transportation industries, and speaks at conferences globally.

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