The cloud is a hugely popular platform for enterprises, and for good reason. Apart from the massive storage space it offers, the cloud provides businesses of any size with the mobility needed to expand and enhance operations. For this reason, organizations are migrating to the cloud in huge numbers. But wherever privileged information goes, so too does malware. Now, businesses in the cloud face a higher risk of a malware breach, according to E-Commerce Times.
The cloud is where the money is
Outlaws once robbed banks because those were the places to get quick cash. But now there's an even quicker way to attack: Through the public cloud. A McAfee report about security threats in 2014 predicted that the hacker community will only increase their targeting of corporations in the cloud. One reason behind this is that many companies have a scattered and unregulated cloud presence. The contemporary corporate environment is one in which employees often outpace their organization's IT departments as far as welcoming innovation. This creates an environment where individual employees use the cloud for business computing without the knowledge of their company. The report found that 80 percent of enterprise cloud users use cloud applications that have not been vetted by corporate IT.
Risks and vulnerabilities arise in a corporate cloud migration if the organization is not prepared to tackle the security hurdles that go along with the move. This loss of control is exactly the bait hackers need to launch an attack.
"When a corporate application moves to the cloud, the organization loses visibility of and control over the security profile," the McAfee report stated. This loss of control is exactly the bait hackers need to launch an attack.
In contrast to the poor communication within public cloud computing, the global network of cybercriminal hackers targeting companies is a highly organized and coherent one. Whereas hackers were once seen as scattered and isolated, they now work together to mount security assaults on unsuspecting individuals and organizations. The sophistication of hackers paired with the poor preparation of many corporate IT structure can make enterprises easy targets.
The danger of a public cloud
The Amazon Public Cloud is a popular cloud platform – both for users and hackers. According to a security threat report for late 2013 put out by Solutionary, Amazon hosted five out of the top 10 biggest malware sites. Amazon's platform was responsible for 64 percent of malware perpetrated by the top five malware hosting domains. These numbers points to the easy intrusion of cybercriminals into a public cloud platform. The problem with the public cloud is that it inherently lacks the security infrastructure to keep information safe. Because of its open nature, the public cloud falls victim to data breaches all the time.
Keeping information in a private space to prevent attack
As both the McAfee report and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services pointed out, attacks will continue to hit the cloud until it develops security mechanisms to keep them out. Unfortunately these measures are likely not possible in the public cloud since it is a space whose inherent vulnerability invites attack.
The weakness of the public cloud explains why so many companies are turning to the enterprise cloud to meet their security needs.
As Department of Health and Human Services cyber counterintelligence expert Daniel Chapple points out, "The goal should be to better identify what to protect and separate the most important information from any public network."
For all businesses looking to migrate to the cloud, a careful examination of prospective cloud service providers is critically important. Each business must chart its own path through the cloud, but with an enterprise cloud platform, that path can be cleared of threats.