Cloud storage gives us the ability to store, transmit, and access data on remote systems by means of a network, usually via an internet connection. This virtualized storage infrastructure is managed by the cloud provider, eliminating the need for businesses to store and maintain data on local servers and drives.
While cloud service providers typically offer built-in security features such as encryption, these features alone are not enough to eliminate risk. Therefore, it is important for organizations to understand cloud storage security risks and the importance of data privacy.
In this article, we examine the top cloud storage security risks for business and how solutions such as WinZip® Enterprise can further protect your company’s data.
The Importance of Cloud Data Privacy
Regardless of their size or industry, all companies must take cloud data privacy seriously. The policies, strategies, and solutions an organization implements are fundamental to safeguarding data from loss, theft, or compromise.
Cloud storage relies on housing data in logical pools across multiple servers, all of which are connected over a network. This network (i.e., the internet) is what enables authorized users to access the files, provided they have authorization to do so.
The appeal of cloud storage is the ability to access business data anywhere, at any time. However, this ease of access can also increase security risks. For example, employee error is responsible for more than 40% of security violations in cloud storage platforms, so it is important to ensure that both your company and your cloud storage vendor have the proper measures in place.
The ultimate responsibility for securing data stored in the cloud is shared by the organization and the cloud storage vendor. In this shared responsibility model, the vendor might be responsible for protective measures such as data backup and recovery. Your company, meanwhile, would be responsible for elements such as setting security rules for network controls (e.g., a firewall) and implementing customized access controls:
Network controls. If your company uses a firewall, for example, you are responsible for setting security rules and ensuring its proper configuration.
Credentials. Defining who can access what cloud data and resources is your organization’s responsibility, including encryption keys, passwords, access controls, and more.
Configurations. Configuration settings give users greater control over the cloud environment. However, 99% of cloud security failures are attributed to misconfigured settings, so environment configuration must be carefully managed to enforce proper security policies.
3 cloud storage security risks for businesses
Storing data in the cloud ensures that it is protected against physical loss or damage. For all its benefits, however, there are cloud storage security risks that could impact your organization. To create and maintain a secure environment for your data, it is important to be aware of the following three challenges.
Misconfigured cloud storage settings are often the result of errors, oversights, and poor configuration choices. These misconfigurations are a leading cause of data breaches, and experts estimate that through 2025, more than 75% of cloud attacks will be caused by cloud user misconfigurations.
The risk posed by user misconfigurations rests on the cloud storage user or their organization, not the service provider. Misconfiguration issues often occur when teams try to streamline internal processes. For example, if access settings are loosened enough to give anyone in the organization access to stored data, this also increases the attack surface for would-be cybercriminals. While an organization might open up permissions in order to reduce the administrative burden on the IT department, doing so puts data at an increased risk of unauthorized exposure.
2. Web Application Vulnerabilities
Companies use web apps for a number of purposes, such as conducting transactions with customers or facilitating collaboration among coworkers. However, if these applications are deployed without sufficient security protections, your confidential data may be at risk.
In the past five years, more than half of reported major security incidents were found to be connected to web application security vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities open the doors to security risks such as denial of service attacks, malware infections, and brute force attacks. Web application security issues also take longer to detect than other events, with an average time to discovery of 254 days for web app exploitation incidents.
3. Insufficient Access Controls
Human error is a leading cause of cybersecurity issues, which is further exacerbated if you do not have proper controls in place for the cloud storage environment. This is why unauthorized access remains a key cloud threat, coming in second only to misconfigurations.
Without an access control list, organizations will struggle to protect their data and access credentials. It is also important to review access controls regularly, switching off credentials for employees who no longer need access to certain files or systems.
How WinZip Enterprise Mitigates Cloud Storage Security Risks
The cloud offers organizations plenty of advantages, but it also comes with its own security risks and concerns. Different cloud storage platforms offer varying levels of security, and it is important to determine exactly how a particular provider addresses privacy and security concerns before deciding which cloud storage vendor to work with.
For example, while most cloud storage providers leverage encryption to keep data safe, you need to assess the availability of advanced encryption protocols. Does the cloud provider use encryption only on data that is at rest, or is data also encrypted in transit between datacenters, servers, storage, and end user devices?
To protect data in all its states organizations can leverage solutions such as WinZip Enterprise. It uses powerful AES encryption that safeguards data when it is at rest, in transit, and in use. When you are ready to back up files to cloud storage, WinZip Enterprise makes it easy to compress and upload files to make the most of your storage space.
While a cloud provider’s terms of service agreement may offer insights about the general data protections offered, most lack specific details related to cloud storage security. For example, the agreement may not address what specific protections are used and how they are implemented, as well as what steps are taken following a data breach or security breakdown.
WinZip Enterprise integrates with several leading cloud storage systems, giving your organization secure data management on any cloud storage platform. It also gives IT administrators centralized control over data, including the ability to customize security, sharing, and backup policies.