Cloud is nothing but a server that can be accessed over the internet, having software and databases running on that server. Data centres across the world use cloud for data storage and running their software applications on the cloud-based servers rather than using physical servers or setting up physical machines
Cloud can be compared to a restaurant where customers can come and select the food that they want and pay for what they have eaten. Cloud is very similar to a restaurant where the cloud providers provides number of services for customers, from which the customer can choose the services they need and pay only for the services they use.
Based on the ability to access and secure the data stored in cloud by an organization, cloud can be categorised into 3 types:
Public Cloud: The public cloud infrastructure is available for public use and is owned by an organization which provides cloud services. Small and medium-sized businesses typically use a public cloud. However public cloud is not appropriate for organisations operating with critical information as they have to abide by the stringent security protocols.
Private Cloud: Large organizations that have data centres which manage their data use a private cloud, which has a high storage capacity and computing power; this type of private cloud infrastructure is used exclusively for a particular organization which carry sensitive information. Using private cloud permits the user to have more control over customization, scalability and flexibility while providing asset security and ease of business operations
Hybrid Cloud : A hybrid cloud combines multiple types of clouds (private and public).For example, some data can be stored in public cloud which are used for running high volume application like emails, facebook, Instagram, etc. while the others which need to be confidential and secured can be stored in the private cloud like financial details or critical business information. Currently, two of the major hybrid cloud providers are VMware and HP.
Cloud provides a host of benefits which make it so popular.We can not only store large amounts of data securely on the cloud, but it is also possible to rent the latest hi-tech software and even hardware.
Small to middle level companies are also moving to cloud due to cost efficiency as mentioned above. It also allows them to use the cloud infrastructure and cloud applications. For example AWS provides cloud formation where it helps businesses to model and set up their Amazon Web Services resources so that you can spend less time managing those resources and more time focusing on your applications that run on AWS
Cloud security is important as you want to make sure that the data and information stored in cloud is safe and secure. Not being able to handle our data and storing our data on someone else’s storage area surely gives us a feel of insecurity on whether our data is safe in the cloud. To eliminate these negative thoughts and to get an assurance on the safety of our information, cloud security is vital.
Also with the increasing data breaches and technological attacks, it’s important to ensure security especially when cloud structure is still a mystery and needs a lot of investigation from the security point of view.
As more and more businesses and operations move to the cloud, cloud providers are becoming a bigger target for malicious attacks.
Loss/Theft of sensitive data: Most of the data are being stored in the cloud. According to a survey it was found out that about 21% of files that are crucial and sensitive are being uploaded in the cloud. When the attacker breaches a cloud service he gets access to all the data stored in it which can even cause critical data leakage.
DDoS: A DDoS attack is designed to overwhelm website servers so it can no longer respond to legitimate user requests. This causes a threat to the availability of data to the authenticated user. This can also result in a loss of revenue, customer trust and brand authority. Complementing cloud services with DDoS protection is no longer just good idea for the enterprise; it’s a necessity. Websites and web-based applications are core components of 21st century business and require state-of-the-art security.
Account hijacking: Hackers can get into critical cloud services and compromise the confidentiality, availability and integrity by using stolen user credentials. This can be also caused due to insecure API’s as it is the entry point for most attackers. Therefore it is important to conduct pen testing to uncover the weaknesses in the security and do the necessary fixations.
Malware Injection Attack : Hackers create a malicious program or application and inject them into target cloud service models (SaaS, PaaS or IaaS). Once the malicious program is injected properly, this malicious module is executed as one of the valid instances running in the cloud. Then, the attacker can commit any malicious acts such as data manipulation, eavesdropping or data theft.
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