For many small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), cloud computing is the key that unlocks tremendous growth. It is an incredible boon for companies, so much so that we at Austin Technology talk about it a lot in our blog:
- The cloud – benefits and limitations
- 4 Tips for ensuring a smooth migration to the cloud
- Which type of cloud is best for your business?
Its rising popularity, however, makes it attractive to cybercriminals. To keep your business safe, be aware of the top threats that loom on the cloud and learn how to avoid them.
Threat #1: Data loss
If you put all your data in just one or two data centres, you run the risk of losing that data when those centres get hit by natural or man-made calamities. Lost data can result in unfulfilled transactions, stalled business processes, and violations of service level agreements (SLAs) and data regulations — outcomes that can spell doom for your company.
To avoid this, you need to have data backups and plans for business continuity and disaster recovery. These ensure that you always have up-to-date data no matter the circumstances you find yourself in.
Threat #2: Data breach
While cloud service providers (CSPs) have considerable cybersecurity measures, these can still be bypassed when hackers gain control of authorised user accounts or infect networks with malware.
To prevent unauthorised access, you must implement multifactor authentication (MFA). MFA imposes additional requirements that users must fulfill in order to access their accounts. Such requirements can include submitting a one-time password or providing a fingerprint scan.
Preventing malware infections, on the other hand, requires vigilance from everyone in your organisation. This takes the form of:
- Cybersecurity training programs
- Immediate upload of software security patches and upgrades
- The latest IT cybersecurity tools
- Implementation of cybersecurity best practices, such as never downloading attachments from suspicious emails
Threat #3: Unsecure third-party APIs
You may be protected to the hilt with cybersecurity measures, but you’ll still be vulnerable if your partners and service providers have openings that intruders can infiltrate. For instance, a security agency that installs surveillance cameras may neglect to change the passwords for those devices, ironically allowing hackers to hijack the cameras and use these as they please.
Again, vigilance is key to mitigating this threat. Consult with a managed IT services provider (MSP) such as [company_short] on how to implement top-notch SLAs that ensure cybersecurity.
Threat #4: Cryptojacking
Mining for cryptocurrencies can be lucrative, but only if you’re able to invest in powerful, expensive computers as well as have a sizable budget for electricity and connectivity expenses. However, by infecting your cloud-based servers with a cryptomining script, hackers can use your IT resources instead of their own.
Not only will you spend on infrastructure and utilities on their behalf, but the hacker’s imposition on your systems will result in considerable slowdowns. To prevent becoming victimised, do the following:
- Install anti-cryptomining extensions on web browsers
- Implement endpoint protection and mobile device management (MDM) solutions to keep cryptominers from infecting your network
- Use web filtering tools so that you’re able to block users from visiting sites that deliver cryptomining scripts
- Include cryptojacking in your cybersecurity training programs
Note that prevention is better than cure as cryptojacking scripts often can’t be recognizsed by signature-based malware detection tools. Therefore, what you’ll need to watch out for are symptoms of an infection, such as overheating machines and spikes in complaints about slow systems performance.
Threat #5: Denial-of-service (DoS)
When hackers overwhelm a server with bad data requests, that server will find it difficult to fulfill valid ones. To illustrate, if the server is for a website, that website will take forever to load, frustrating visitors and making them transfer to competitors’ sites. Hackers can have different reasons for preventing servers from rendering service, such as:
- Destabilisation efforts by enemy states
- Sabotage by competitors
- Making a political statement via hacktivism
To counter this threat, you must either find a CSP with networks that are robust enough to handle DoS attacks as if these were nothing, or partner up with one that is capable of detecting and redirecting such attacks.
Get the full value of cloud computing by avoiding its pitfalls. Partner up with [company_short] to see your business grow beyond your expectations.