Why Cybersecurity Is Important?
In this day and age, the global economy revolves around business-critical data, used to draft strategies and make informed decisions. Moreover, with businesses adopting technologies like AI to leverage Big Data into getting key insights, the role of data was never more crucial.
However, as India saw the security challenges escalating in the past year, businesses are looking for robust and advanced methods to secure their data. The on-premise security architecture has gone obsolete with geographically-bound infrastructure. As the adoption of cloud technology takes the data out of the private secured premises to the data centres in the cloud, a new approach to securing the data assets is required.
Introduction to Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is the new-age mode of operations for businesses all over the globe. Cloud can be explained as a computing environment with a cluster of connected server resources virtualised into several instances and provided to multiple organisations. You can access the cloud environment from remote locations through internet-connected end-point devices like Desktop, laptops, and smartphones.
Cloud computing enables businesses to overcome the challenges of the legacy IT setup like the rigidity of hardware, mobility, capital expenses, and hardware issues. But the most impressive aspect of cloud technology is the robust security environment it can offer to business-critical data.
When compared to the traditional security protocols at the local premises, cloud providers use various advanced security methods and have dedicated security teams to constantly monitor and guard critical data from the prying eyes of the hackers. Nowadays, businesses can go for third-party cloud providers who host applications and data inside multiple layers of protection.
How Cloud Counters the New-Age Challenges
A plethora of security threats loom over the business process, each having its own disastrous implications. Stories about data breaches regularly make the news. Just in the first half of last year, there were over 3,800 data breaches. As a result of these breaches,over 4 billion records were exposed, according to Risk Based Security research.
Here are some of the common methods of cyberattacks and the security measures implemented by the cloud providers to prevent them.
Distributed Denial of Services (DDoS)
A DDoS attack bombards a data server with millions of fake requests (data packets), making it impossible for the server to meet genuine demands. When such an attack is successful, the business may become inoperative for hours, if not days. The cost of a DDoS attack is financial. It also impacts the reputation of the company that suffered the attack.
On a local IT setup, it is not possible to foresee such an attack. However, the cloud hosting providers monitor the network 24/7 for any anomalies in the data. By analysing the network patterns like type and intensity in a given time frame, any unusual traffic is identified and filtered immediately from reaching and overwhelming the company’s computer resources.
Brute Force Attacks
A brute force attack is one in which an intruder tries to gain access to a server or website by repeatedly trying different username and password combinations. Such an attack is considered the purest form of attack. When it is successful, perpetrators gain access to valuable data.
The cloud providers deploy methods like multi-factor authentication to ensure protection against brute force attacks. As the user requires multiple methods to login to the cloud, even if a method is compromised, the hacker cannot get into the system.
Man In The Middle Attacks
A man in the middle attack happens when an unauthorised user intercepts communication between a sender and receiver. The third party, when it is successful, can alter the data being shared between authorised senders and receivers.
The cloud providers deploy methods like data encryption and multi-factor authentication to ensure protection against such attacks. Data encryption ensures that the data is transmitted in an encrypted form and cannot be comprehended by an unauthorised user who does not have the encryption key to decode the data.
Ransomware is a malware that holds a computer/network hostage until a ransom fee is paid. They infiltrate PCs with Trojan horses or computer worms by taking advantage of security loopholes. The ransomware can then be injected into the system and data is encrypted by the hacker with a key that is available only to a hacker. Unless ransomware is paid, the hacker does not share the key to decrypt in order to use the data.
The malware can then be injected with an external device (flash drives), or through the Internet (emails, websites, or attachments).
The cloud providers deploy firewalls and UTM (Unified Threat Management) devices to counter all types of threats, besides updated versions of antivirus and anti-malware in each data entry point. The users can put email restrictions, blocking the emails that do not belong to their organisation. Moreover, the cloud providers backup data automatically in multiple locations to recover it easily in case of an attack.
Software programs are purposely written to probe a computer and exploit vulnerabilities, and security holes are called web attack tool kits. Such tool kits can be used to create a path into users’ systems through security holes and vulnerabilities.
To counter these threats, cloud computing companies are investing heavily in security systems like Intrusion Detection and Prevention that constantly scan the computer network for any dirty traffic.
SIEM (Security Information and Event Management)
Cloud operators deploy security teams to constantly monitor network traffic and unusual events in the servers by collecting logs and using co-relations engines to detect any threat based on server and firewall logs.
What’s In The Future
In the near future, there will be different niche approaches as far as cybersecurity is concerned. One of them is the passwordless approach. The passwordless approach will be adopted by about 60% of large enterprises and 90% of mid-sized businesses, according to Gartner.
Citing the risks of threats like brute force attack and ransomware, the need for entering passwords will be eliminated and replaced by tokens and OTPs.
Another development in the world of cybersecurity is the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the cloud security systems. AI will help cloud security experts in identifying data anomalies by automating data monitoring tasks.
Apart from hosting applications and data on cloud, the cloud providers also offer services like Backup as a Service (BaaS) and Security as a Service (SECaaS). The businesses can avail these to keep their data protected, even when hosted in the local premises.