Businesses Beware: 6 Critical Cloud Security Threats of 2018

This year, enormous quantities of sensitive data will move to the cloud. This means that organizations are modernizing their infrastructure and boosting their performance. It also means the inevitable ramp up of malevolent cloud security threats.

The web will never be clear of security threats. There will always be fresher, craftier and more compromising ploys just waiting to snag confidential information from your server. Knowing what’s out there and what your risk factors are is the key to understanding how to safeguard your system. Here is everything you need to know about the most menacing stings circulating in 2018.

  1. Data Breaches

Data breaches have been kicking industries and taking names (and other personal details) for many years. In 2017, major breaches rattled big companies like single sign-in titan OneLogin. Unauthorized access to the company’s cloud servers resulted in the garnering of nearly 1.4 billion records.

This was by no means an isolated case. Breaches are skyrocketing this year all across the globe. From universities inadvertently exposing student health records to private conversations leaking from messaging apps, no specific type of business is safe from the reputational devastation of a data breach.

Data breaches may quickly become the third certainty in life, but they can sometimes be prevented. Canadian companies can start by ensuring that 100% if their data is stored within Canada by a trusted Canadian-owned provider. They can also help protect themselves by implementing sophisticated tech and a knowledgeable IT team. Heightening employee awareness and education can prevent a blunder that could leave your organization vulnerable. Developing a fail safe response plan helps to not only prepare businesses for what could happen, but further instill staff’s understanding of proper practices.

  1. Data Loss

Cyber-crime is not always to blame for significant data loss. Losses can occur due to unexpected natural disasters or a simple human error.

Though these threats are unpredictable, loss is very much preventable. Properly backing up data, applications and entire workloads is the most essential component to mitigating risk. Maintaining these backups at physical sites in varying geographic locations can reduce the changes that a single isolated incident will wipe out your stored data.

  1. Spectre and Meltdown

These catastrophic threats are new on our radar in 2018. Affecting a wide range of systems, Spectre and Meltdown are weaknesses in processors produced by companies such as Intel. To make a computer processor run faster, a chip performs ‘speculative execution’ (an educated guess about the course of action the system should take). When it does this, a glitch allows hackers momentary access to sensitive information. Despite these gaping security vulnerabilities, no machines have been recalled.

There are ways to protect your data. Be sure that you keep your computer’s software updated. Updated web browsers, Flash and security software make it harder for hackers to install malware on your system (the first step in an attack).

  1. Insecure APIs

Exploiting a cloud Application Programming Interface (API) gives cyber attackers substantial access to your applications. This is a major threat to cloud environments!

Putting security measures in place to prevent code-lifting of cryptographic keys is a great way to stop attackers in their tracks. Remember that it is important to bar sensitive information behind an authentication and authorization process for an added layer of security.

  1. Rogue Administration

This occurs when a trusted business partner, a contractor or temporary or permanent employee uses their administrative access to exploit sensitive information or launch an attack. Rogue admins may trigger email leaks or steal company trade secrets. This threat can cause enterprises to examine whom they are willing to trust with valuable data.

Mitigating this threat comes down to diligently applying security best practices within your organization. Be vigilant about suspicious activity, such as logs that are missing time. Secondary authorization controls can safeguard your system by ensuring that a second set of eyes is needed to permit admin access.

  1. Denial of Service Attacks

The infamous DoS-attack and the popular DDoS-as-a-service are still running rampant due to their relatively simple execution strategy. DDoS stands for Distributed Denial of Service. While a DoS is an attempt made by a malicious party to deny legitimate users of a service from accessing the service, the DDoS variation uses multiple distributed resources to produce the same goal. This attack is achieved by flooding systems with superfluous requests. This threat is often aimed at large companies with blackmail or activist motivations.

Records have been broken this year as massive attacks compromise big name enterprises. One US-based telecommunications carrier received a colossal wave of traffic hitting 1.7 terabytes per second.

Periodically running a script on your server that updates you on the traffic count is a good start. Tracking your traffic will help you identify when something is amiss. However, this is not a long-term, foolproof mitigation tactic. We recommend investing in a DDoS protection plan offered by your Internet Service Provider.

The rapid development and deployment of cloud services within industries is changing the way we work. No system is entirely immune to threats, but gaining knowledge and equipping infrastructure can diminish the risk of something going wrong. Attacks will continue to mount as the years go on, so it is imperative to stay informed.

The Role of Encryption In Keeping Your Data Safe

Data encryption is a crucial part of overall protection. It is like having your own code maker working to disguise your private conversations and confidential client information.

There are varying levels of encryption that are best suited for different sectors. Understanding which level matches your needs can have an impact on the safety of your data. In this article, we examine what encryption really means and what levels are available for personal use, business and beyond.

What Is Encryption?

Data encryption translates plaintext into ciphertext. This means that regular, readable data is transfigured into a complex jumble of nonsensical code. This is achieved by using an advanced algorithm. Only those who have access to the decryption key can view the readable version. The purpose of this process is to ensure that important information remains in the right hands.

Why Is Encryption Important?

The process of encryption is very important to all industries that deal with sensitive information. Whether data is on the move or at rest, encryption certifies that it is secure.

It keeps credit card numbers, email addresses and tax information out of the hands of potential hackers. It also prevents fraudsters from altering information. This gives your clients autonomy and privacy while mitigating your business’s risk of exploitation.

Levels of Encryption

  • File-Level Encryption

This level codifies user files and directories. It does not protect system files and can leave data vulnerable to access by unauthorized users.

  • Sector-Level Encryption

This level covers user files and directories and system files. It seals off the operating system from unauthorized users.

  • Military-Grade Encryption

Military grade encryption refers to what’s called AES-256 encryption. Short for Advanced Encryption Standard, it goes beyond sector-level and is touted as the strongest encryption available to date. Based on a system of encoding known as Rijndael cipher, AES-256 works by dividing data into blocks of 128 bits each, and then uses the encryption key to muddle them into complete absurdity. If the data is intercepted, it can never be decoded without the key. Companies all over the world – including the experts at Canadian Cloud Backup – trust this level of encryption.

It is clear that encryption is a time-tested science. The level of encryption you wish to use is a decision that can have significant benefits or ramifications. If you have further questions about the value of encryption for your business, please contact us!

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