1. Theft or loss of intellectual property
An outstanding 21% of data uploaded by companies to cloud-based file management services contain sensitive data. The analysis that was done by Skyhigh found that companies face the risk of having their intellectual property stolen.
The Ponemon Institute and Surveying 409 IT investigated the risk posed by BYOC (bring your own cloud). The analysis revealed that most of the interviewees had no idea of the threat posed by bringing their own cloud storage devices to their organization. Employees unwittingly help cyber-criminals access sensitive data stored in their cloud accounts.
Weak cloud security measures within an organization include storing data without encryption or failing to install multi-factor authentication to gain access to the service.
2. Compliance violations
Organizations can quickly go into a state of non-compliance, which puts them in the risk of serious repercussions. BYOC is one of the ways companies often violate one of the tenets and regulations instituted by the government or Industrial Corporation. Whether it is FERPA for confidential student documents or HIPAA for private patient records, most firms operate under a regulatory body.
A state of non-compliance with any of these bodies lands companies in a lot of trouble. To mitigate this risk, companies should always use authentication systems for all the sensitive data in the firm.
Even tech giants like Facebook have been victims of resource exploitation due to user error or misconfigurations. Keeping employees informed about the dangers and risks of data sharing is of at most importance.
3. Malware attacks
Cloud services can be a vector for data exfiltration. As technology improves, and protection systems evolve, cyber-criminals have also come up with new techniques to deliver malware targets. Attackers encode sensitive data onto video files and upload them to YouTube.
Skyhigh reports that cyber-criminals use private twitter accounts to deliver the malware. The malware then exhilarates sensitive data a few characters at a time. Some have also been known to use phishing attacks through file-sharing services to deliver the malware.
4. End-user control
When a firm is unaware of the risk posed by workers using cloud services, the employees could be sharing just about anything without raising eyebrows. Insider threats have become common in the modern market. For instance, if a salesman is about to resign from one firm to join a competitor firm, they could upload customer contacts to cloud storage services and access them later.
The example above is only one of the more common insider threats today. Many more risks are involved with exposing private data to public servers.
5. Contract breaches with clients and/or business partners
Contracts restrict how business partners or clients use data and also who has the authorization to access it. Employees put both the firm and themselves at risk of legal action when they move restricted data into their cloud accounts without permission from the relevant authorities.
Violation of business contracts through breaching confidentiality agreements is common. This is especially when the cloud service maintains the right to share all data uploaded with third parties.
6. Shared vulnerabilities
Cloud security is the responsibility of all concerned parties in a business agreement. From the service provider to the client and business partners, every stakeholder shares responsibility in securing data. Every client should be inclined to take precautionary measures to protect their sensitive data.
While the major providers have already taken steps to secure their side, the more delicate control measures are for the client to take care of. Dropbox, Microsoft, Box, and Google, among many others, have adopted standardized procedures to secure your data. These measures can only be successful when you have also taken steps to secure your sensitive data.
Key security protocols such as protection of user passwords and access restrictions are the client’s responsibility. According to an article named “Office 365 Security and Share Responsibility” by Skyfence, users should consider high measures of security as the most delicate part of securing their data is firmly in their hands.
7. Attacks to deny service to legitimate users
You are most likely well aware of cyber-attacks and how they can be used to hijack information and establish a foothold on the service provider’s platform. Denial of service attacks, unlike cyber-attacks, do not attempt to bypass your security protocol. Instead, they make your servers unavailable to illegitimate users.
However, in some cases, DoS is used as a smokescreen for a variety of other malicious activities. They can also be used to take down some security appliances like web application firewalls.
8. Insecure APIs
API or Application Programming Interfaces offer users the opportunity to customize their cloud service experience. APIs can, however, be a threat to cloud security due to their very nature. Apart from giving firms the ability to customize the features on their cloud service provider, they also provide access, authenticate, and effect encryption.
As APIs evolve to provide better service to users, they also increase their security risk on the data client’s store. APIs provide programmers with the tools to integrate their programs with job-critical applications. YouTube is one of the sites with an API that allows users to embed YouTube videos into their apps or websites.
Despite of this great opportunity that the technology presents the user, it also increases the level of vulnerability to their data. Cyber-criminals have more opportunities to take advantage of thanks to these vulnerabilities
9. Loss of data
Data stored on cloud servers can be lost through a natural disaster, malicious attacks, or a data wipe by the service provider. Losing sensitive data is devastating to firms, especially if they have no recovery plan. Google is an example of the big tech firms that have suffered permanent data loss after being struck by lightning four times in its power supply lines.
Amazon was another firm that lost its essential customer data back in 2011.
An essential step in securing data is carefully reviewing the terms of service of your provider and their back up procedures. The backup protocol could relate to physical access, storage locations, and natural disasters.
10. Diminished customer trust
It is inevitable for customers to feel unsafe after data breach concerns at your firm. There have been massive security breaches that resulted in the theft of millions of customer credit and debit card numbers from data storage facilities.
The breaches reduce customer trust in the security of their data. A breach in an organization’s data will inevitably lead to a loss of customers, which ultimately impacts the firm’s revenue.
11. Increased customer agitation
A growing number of cloud service critics are keen to see which service providers have weak security protocols and encourage customers to avoid them. Most of these critics are popular around the internet and could lead to a poor impression of your firm in a few posts.
If your customers suspect that their data is not safe in your hands, they not only move to competitor firms but also damage your firm’s reputation.
12. Revenue losses
Customers of a store will avoid buying from the store in the wake of news of data breach in the organization. A well known company as Target estimated a data breach in its platform to cost around $128 million. The CEO of the company resigned, and the company’s directors remain under oversight by cyber security companies.