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Cloud Computing: Top 5 Security Threats


With the dawn of IT dependence among businesses and organizations, security of IT infrastructure has become a severe concern. No matter what security measures are applied, malicious programs and viruses are constantly evolving, along with human factors to counter the existing models of data security, keeping developers on their toes. Cloud computing, though considered to be much safer, is not free from threats, and is challenged by the following security concerns:

Storage of Data

This is perhaps the most critical threat that cloud computing has to deal with, since the service provider is responsible for the safekeeping of sensitive client data, which may be valued worth millions of Dollars. Any spillage of this data into the wrong hands can not only spell disaster for the organization whose data has been breached, but also for the service provider, as it will bring to fore the cracks in their network which led to the breach. As a result, the service provider may lose clients, besides facing lawsuits from affected customers. As such, the storage of data has to be taken care of very efficiently by the service provider, to avoid any such unsavory occurrences.

Data Transfer

Cloud service providers have to handle vast amounts of electronic data which travel from the client end to the service provider, and vice versa, utilizing nothing but the Internet network. As such, such traffic must be routed through a secure channel, as non-secure channels may lead to data interception by malignant parties and electronic interceptors, and used for infringing client privacy. This can only be combated by ensuring that that clients’ data is encrypted through Internet Protocol Security, for protecting the data while they are on move over the network. Also, the service provider must provide the clients with “https” protocols, to ascertain the security of data transfer.

Data Access

The data stored on the service provider’s servers can be subjected to unauthorized access if the user does not adopt precaution regarding the same. Any dissemination of the user’s credentials for accessing the data can put the whole operation at risk. Similarly, an errant employee of the service provider might gain unauthorized access to sensitive information if the service provider fails to implement industry standard and redundant security measures.

Software Interfaces

The APIs or software interfaces are very crucial in maintaining the security of the cloud service, and the inability to ensure sound and secure APIs may expose the hosting services to a range of security threats like the breach of data confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the data.

Separation of Data

Modern cloud hosting services function on the basis of multiple tenancies, where in numerous clients are accessing the resources within the same server. This phenomenon is more pronounced in the shared server environment. The data is stored in a virtual space within the service provider’s servers, and this compartmentalization often exposes the data to unwarranted security threats. Because of the virtual nature of the storage provided, service provider must always be on their guard in separating the data of one client from the other, the lack of which may transpire into a severe security breach.

Security of Stored Data

Once the client data securely traverses the network to reach the service provider’s servers, it is up to the service provider to ensure the security of the stored data through industry standard and proprietary firewall and anti-phishing measures. They must be able to safeguard the data from natural disasters, and human induced breaches of the data facility. Any incapacity in this regard will make the service provider vulnerable to threats, while making clients looking for better alternatives from among competitors.

About the author: Renuka Rana , Editor at Hosted QuickBooks DotNet spends considerable part of her time in writing about technology including cloud hosting and Hosted QuickBooks. When not writing, she loves to dig deeper into knowing the best and the latest technology in industry.

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