Without a proper cloud security strategy in place, companies are more likely than not to face serious security issues in their cloud computing architecture. The following items describe some of the most common cloud computing threats and risks companies may encounter.
Sensitive data loss
Much of the data that’s stored in the cloud is sensitive, private, or includes intellectual property. If a company’s cloud service is breached, cyber attackers can easily gain access to this data. But even without an attack, certain services can pose a risk if their terms and conditions claim ownership of the data uploaded to them.
Loss of end user control
Without proper visibility and control, a company’s end users can unknowingly, or even willfully, put the organisation at risk. Here’s an example: A salesperson who is about to resign from their current business decides to download a report of their customer contacts and upload that data to a personal cloud storage service. Once they’re hired by a competitor organisation, they can leverage that data.
Cloud services are prime targets for data exfiltration, or the process where a cyber attacker carries out an unauthorised data transfer from their computer. And unfortunately, these cyber criminals have come up with new, harder-to-detect data exfiltration methods, including both open and concealed methods.
When business parties sign a contract, this often restricts how data is used and who has access to it. But if an employee moves restricted data into the cloud without authorisation, the contract could be violating, leading to potential legal retaliation.
Damaged reputation among customers
When your data is breached, inevitably, your customers are less likely to trust your organisation. And without adequate trust, your organisation may have to deal with revenue loss. Sadly, one of the most well-known card data breaches occurred with Target. When cyber attackers stole over 40 million customer credit and debit cards, one of the results was a loss of trust. Not to mention, a common result of lost customer trust is a phenomenon called “customer churn,” wherein customers decide to take their business elsewhere—even if they were happy, loyal consumers of the organisation before the breach.
Ultimately, this is one of the most damaging consequences a company can and will face following a data breach. When a company’s customers lose trust in their ability to safeguard their sensitive financial information, their loyalties moves elsewhere, costing the breached company massive amounts of money. And not to mention, the average cost of a data breach is more than £3 million, a fee many organisations simply can’t afford.