How to Minimize Cloud Database Security Issues

When it comes to cloud database security issues and challenges, it looks like there is something to worry about.

92% of organizations are concerned about employees following cloud policies designed to protect cloud data, while security is the leading concern raised by companies and government agencies considering transitioning to the cloud. There are simply too many headlines about cloud database security issues, which result from mistakes by organizations and their employees, as well as actions by criminals, to be complacent.

Cloud service companies employ numerous measures to defend their systems and their customers, but they are not always successful. It’s up to users to be proactive and add their own measures to minimize the risk of cloud database security issues and challenges.

Below we have identified the steps that enterprises can take to optimize their defenses against the main database security issues, as well as the reasons why such measures should be taken.

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1. Data Loss

Data loss may occur when:

  • A malicious attack occurs
  • A disk drive dies without its owner having created a backup
  • The owner of encrypted data loses the key that unlocks it

Although the chances of losing all data in the cloud are minimal, there have been some reports of hackers gaining access to cloud data centers and wiping all the data clean in severe cloud database security issues.

Managers should therefore consider the use of various solutions that can minimize successful attacks, such as those that provide notifications of unauthorized database activity. Enterprises should also be aware of compliance regulations that govern cloud database security issues and challenges; understanding these rules will help to protect you in the event of a data breach. Similarly, it’s important to distribute applications across several zones and back up data using off-site storage when possible.

2. Data Breaches

It is the liability of your organization to implement a plan for protecting your data in the cloud. Even though reputable cloud services usually have several security protocols in place to deal with this type of cloud database security issue, enterprises are still legally exposed something goes wrong.

If sensitive or regulated data is put in the cloud and a breach occurs:

  • The company may be required by regulations such as HIPAA and HITECH to disclose the breach and send notifications to potential victims
  • Regulators can levy fines against a company
  • Consumers whose data was compromised may file lawsuits

Ensuring compliance is therefore essential, so enterprises should employ relevant measures that track activities and permissions. An optimal method for meeting regulations is through technological platforms which administrate these functions. Other tools for dealing with potential data breaches include encryption and multi-factor authentication.

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3. Hijacked Accounts - Compromised Credentials

Both users and enterprises have a responsibility to prevent compromised accounts. Companies can protect themselves from cloud database security issues and challenges by setting the right user roles and creating processes for identifying critical changes made by other users.

Additionally, many cloud database security issues and challenges can be prevented by customers choosing a secure, unique password per account, or even better, two-factor/multi-factor authentication systems like one-time passwords and phone-based authentication. Remembering passwords can be a challenge, so recommend that your customers use a trusted password manager.

Companies that don't stress the importance of secure credentials to their customers are at a greater risk of being compromised. Phishing, exploitation of software vulnerabilities such as buffer overflow attacks, and loss of passwords and credentials can all lead to the loss of control over a user account. An intruder with control over a user account can eavesdrop on transactions, manipulate data, provide false and business-damaging responses to customers, and redirect customers to a competitor's site or inappropriate sites.

4. Hacked Interfaces and Insecure APIs

Most cloud services and applications use APIs to communicate with other cloud services. As a result, the security of the APIs themselves has a direct effect on database security issues and challenges. The chance of getting hacked increases when companies grant third parties access to APIs.

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For businesses, the best protection from API hacks is to integrate threat modeling applications and systems in the development lifecycle. It's also recommended to perform thorough code reviews to ensure that there aren't any gaps in security.

Conclusion

The costs of data breaches and losses due to cloud database security issues can be devastating. Yet, with relatively simple and inexpensive measures, enterprises can make a leap in the level of their data security and control.

One of the easiest places to start addressing cloud database security issues and challenges is through software that manages security and governance. Some vendors offer a single package that delivers measures like role definition, database policies, compliance, and auditing. In many cases, such solutions deliver other extremely useful functions such as release automation, version control, and business activity monitoring.

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