Cloud Security

Cloud Security Challenges: A Comprehensive Guide 101

Security is a significant hurdle that has been constant in IT flexibility, scalability, and efficiency. Many organizations are exposed to vulnerabilities because they are unable to differentiate between their responsibilities and that of the cloud service provider (CSP). The attack area of an organization increases as the cloud expands. Traditional security measures usually fall short […]

Sharon R.

Written by Sharon R.

August 3, 2023 | 7 min read

Security is a significant hurdle that has been constant in IT flexibility, scalability, and efficiency.

Many organizations are exposed to vulnerabilities because they are unable to differentiate between their responsibilities and that of the cloud service provider (CSP). The attack area of an organization increases as the cloud expands. Traditional security measures usually fall short in such situations, which can cause more cloud security challenges. 

This article will help you understand the common Cloud Security Challenges companies face. 

Table of Contents:

  1. What is Cloud Security?
  2. What are the Cloud Security Challenges?
    1. Data Breaches
    2. Misconfigurations 
    3. Lack of Cloud Security Architecture and Strategy
    4. Insufficient Identity, Credentials, Access, and Key Management
    5. Account Hijacking
    6. Insider Threats
    7. Insecure Interfaces and APIs
    8. Weak Control Plane
    9. Metastructure and Applistructure Failures
    10. Limited Cloud Usage Visibility
    11. Abuse and Nefarious Use of Cloud Services
    12. Cloud Compliance
  3. How will PingSafe help to solve Cloud Security Challenges?
  4. Conclusion

What is Cloud Security?

Cloud security, often called cloud computing security, comprises a number of rules, controls, processes, and technologies that cooperate to safeguard the infrastructure, data, and systems housed on the cloud. In addition to establishing authentication guidelines for certain users and devices, these security measures are customized to safeguard cloud data, support regulatory compliance, and protect customers’ privacy.

Cloud security can be tailored to the company’s precise requirements, from verifying access to filtering traffic. Additionally, because these rules can be set up and administered in a single location, administration costs are cut, freeing IT staff to concentrate on other aspects of the business.

What are the Cloud Security Challenges?

As the world of cybersecurity threats keeps changing and becoming more advanced, it has become extremely important for businesses to prioritize security above everything else. To address this, let’s take a closer look at some of the major challenges we are facing this year and how cloud security solutions can play a vital role in helping your organization overcome these obstacles.

#1 Data Breaches

A data breach occurs when private data leaves your control without your knowledge or consent. Data is the object of most attacks since it is more valuable to attackers than anything else. Misconfigured clouds and a lack of runtime security can make them vulnerable to theft.

The kind of data stolen will determine how serious a breach is. The attackers or people who want to steal information in phishing emails can purchase valuable personal information from data thieves on the dark web.

Other sensitive materials, such as emails or internal documents, could be exploited to harm a company’s reputation or lower its stock price. Data breaches remain a serious concern in cloud security challenges, regardless of the motivation behind the theft.

#2 Misconfigurations 

As service providers offer additional features, cloud computing environments expand. Many businesses use many providers. Each service has its own set of implementations and settings, and providers all have different default configurations. Attackers will keep taking advantage of misconfigurations unless enterprises are efficient at safeguarding their numerous cloud services.

#3 Lack of Cloud Security Architecture and Strategy

Many organizations rush into adopting cloud services without a well-thought-out architecture and strategy. Before making the transition to the cloud, customers must be aware of the potential threats they may face, how to securely migrate their data (which isn’t simply a lift-and-shift process), and understand the shared responsibility model.

One of the major cloud security challenges that customers need to address is the risk of cyber attacks. Without proper planning and security measures, customers can be exposed to financial losses, damage to their reputation, and legal and compliance issues as a result of these attacks. Therefore, organizations need to take the time to plan and implement robust security measures before moving to the cloud to protect their valuable data and assets.

#4 Insufficient Identity, Credentials, Access, and Key Management

Most cloud security challenges can be connected to identity and access management issues (IAMs). And now, due to cloud usage, IAMs have become ever more complex. Handling inventory, tracking, monitoring, and handling large amounts of cloud accounts becomes more complicated. Additionally, there are other cloud security challenges like zombie accounts, excessive admin accounts, etc. Defining roles and privileges in cloud environments also leads to cloud security challenges. All these factors come together to make IAM a significant issue in cloud security challenges.

#5 Account Hijacking

The term cloud account hijacking in cloud security challenges means gaining unauthorized access to a cloud account important to managing and maintaining a cloud environment. It can cause significant damage if it falls into the wrong hands. 

Account hijacking can happen via many methods, like phishing, in which attackers trick users into disclosing their credentials. The other method is credential stuffing, in which attackers exploit credentials that have been stolen. Account breaches can also result from poor coding techniques and weak or stolen passwords.

These highly privileged accounts pose a danger to the security of the overall cloud environment because if they are compromised, they could result in data breaches and service interruptions. Therefore, organizations must invest in cloud security solutions to protect themselves from these challenges.

#6 Insider Threats

A risk that originates from within the organization is called an insider threat. This threat frequently originates from a present or former employee and anybody else with direct access to the network, sensitive information, intellectual property, and knowledge of the company’s operational procedures and regulations. These insiders can employ this access to launch damaging assaults against the company.

#7 Insecure Interfaces and APIs

The user interfaces and application programming interfaces of cloud services, which clients utilize to engage with them, are the most weak and at danger. The degree to which these components are protected determines how secure a cloud service is. Customers and cloud service providers (CSPs) both must make sure this security is maintained.

CSPs must implement stringent security procedures to guarantee total security on their end. Customers also have a significant part to play at the same time. They must exercise caution and responsibility when utilizing and keeping an eye on their cloud services in order to safeguard their data and personal information. 

#8 Weak Control Plane

This is the customer’s responsibility. A cloud control plane is a collection of the cloud administrative consoles and interfaces used by any organization. This also includes data duplication, storage, and migration. If not properly secured, a breach in the cloud control plane can lead to data loss and fines, tarnishing the brand’s reputation and revenue loss.

#9 Metastructure and Applistructure Failures

The metastructure, also referred to as the waterline, serves as the boundary between CSPs and clients. Numerous security risks are present here, such as incorrect cloud app usage by users or bad API implementation by CSPs, according to the CSA. Such security issues could result in service interruptions and configuration errors, which could have a negative financial and data loss impact.

Applistructure stands for the applications deployed in the cloud and the underlying application services used to build them. PaaS capabilities like message queues, AI analysis, and notification systems are a few examples.

#10 Limited cloud usage visibility

Cloud visibility has been an issue for enterprise admins for a long time already. Limited visibility leads to two main cloud security challenges:

  • Shadow IT: This is when there is unauthorized use of applications by employees. Like when they use apps that it does not permit.
  • Sanctioned app misuse: This is when the apps authorized by IT is used for purposes other than intended. This can be done by users authorized by IT and by unauthorized users who access it with stolen credentials obtained by SQL injections and DNS attacks.

The limited visibility leads to a lack of governance and security, which can lead to data loss, breaches, and cyber-attacks.

#11 Abuse and Nefarious Use of Cloud Services

The cloud can be used for a lot of good, but malicious attackers can also do equally as much harm. The wrong use of Saas, Paas, and Iaas affects individuals, customers, and the CSPs equally. Customers can be targeted into misusing cloud services through these ways: phishing, crypto mining, click fraud and pirated content, etc.

A compromised cloud can lead to many cloud security challenges, like data loss, loss of money through cryptocurrency, and unknowingly hosting malware.

#12 Cloud Compliance

Organizations must follow regulations like PCI DSS and HIPAA that protect sensitive data. Examples include credit card numbers, medical patient records, and other sensitive data. Many organizations place restrictions on access and what individuals can do when given access to ensure compliance standards are followed. Monitoring network access becomes difficult without access control measures in place.

How will PingSafe help to solve Cloud Security Challenges?

PingSafe is a complete cloud security tool that will help you secure your cloud in many ways, such as:

  • Cloud Misconfigurations: It has auto-remediation of misconfigurations. Graph-based visualization of detected misconfigurations across resources, lateral movement paths, and impact radius.
  • Flagging security defaults: Continuous visibility on the security posture of new or existing cloud services and highlight security gaps and best practices.
  • Infrastructure as a Code: Perform IaC deployment/configuration checks against CIS benchmark, PCI-DSS, etc. CI/CD integration support to block merge and pull requests with hardcoded secrets.
  • Vulnerability Management: Identify cloud resources/assets with known CVEs (Intelligence gathered from 10+ sources with exhaustive coverage). It provides a Zero-day vulnerability assessment. 
  • Threat Watch: Dashboard to stay updated with all the zero-day vulnerabilities and related issues across your environment.
  • VM Snapshot Scanning: Agentless scanning of VMs for vulnerabilities and reporting of software bill of materials (SBOM)
  • Offensive Security Engine: Replicate the attacker’s mindset to simulate zero-day attacks harmlessly to give more extensive security coverage. This helps organizations reduce dependency on external security researchers and bug bounty hunters.
  • Private Repository Scanning for Secrets: Detect and remediate more than 700 different types of credentials in your organization’s private repository. It continuously monitors all developer’s repositories to identify sensitive data leakage belonging to the organization.

Conclusion

In this article, you read all about the different Cloud Security Challenges. Since every Cloud Security Challenge is different, there must be case-specific solutions. Before using any cloud services, ensure you have a plan in place. Take into consideration any typical cloud difficulties, like the ones we’ve covered in this article. After that, you’ll have a strategy for dealing with each impending obstacle.