Risk of Cloud Applications
Cloud applications help people work more efficiently and collaborate more effectively. They’re also a huge, growing concern when it comes to keeping your company protected from cyberattacks.
Your information is now available in more places than ever before. It can be find in secure data repositories on-premises and in the cloud. Same as in online collaboration platforms like Microsoft 365 and software-as-a-service (SaaS) programs like Salesforce.
This Digitally Transformed situation means traditional security-focused on shoring up perimeter defenses and safeguarding endpoints. These Devices (such as phones and laptops) might leave your organization dangerously vulnerable as a result of this digital transition. When you have hundreds or thousands of endpoints accessing company data from all around the world, defining and monitoring your perimeter becomes complex. An attacker might use just one endpoint as a doorway to access enormous volumes of enterprise data if your company is targeted by a cyberattack.
Data Security in Cloud Applications
Businesses use numerous SaaS programs, and these apps can store some of your company’s most valuable data. Unfortunately, getting a glimpse of these applications might be difficult. As a result, we’ve noticed that numerous categories of risk are building faster than most CEOs recognize.
Three SaaS Security Risks You Should Talk About Right Now with Your IT Team
- Unprotected sensitive data
SaaS solutions make collaboration quicker and simpler by offering end users more authority. The end users can share data with other staff and external business associates without the assistance of IT. Unfortunately, increased risk and complexity come with increased output.
Employees have access to millions of files (including important ones) that aren’t related to their jobs on average. Without doing anything clever, an attacker may cause a lot of damage with just one person’s leaked credentials.
The architecture of cloud apps and services is secured by the provider, but data protection is your responsibility. Most companies have no idea where their critical data is stored, who has access to it, or who is accessing it, and SaaS apps are becoming a challenge for CISOs.
Consider the following scenario. Normally very critical data stored in Salesforce, such as Customer lists, Price information, and Sales Opportunities. For attackers, it’s a gold mine. Salesforce does a lot to secure its platform, but the data stored within it is ultimately the responsibility of the customer. Most businesses would have no way of knowing if someone accessed an unusually large number of account records before quitting to work for a competitor.
- Cloud misconfigurations
SaaS application companies are constantly adding new features to their products. Administrators have a lot of things to keep up with and a lot of settings to learn about with so much additional functionality. However, if your setups aren’t right, you risk putting your applications – and your data – at risk. Not just to those within your company, but to anyone on the internet.
One misconfiguration is all it takes to expose critical information. As the CEO of a company that assists businesses in identifying misconfigured Salesforce Communities (websites that allow Salesforce customers to connect with and collaborate with their partners and customers), I’ve seen firsthand how, if not set up properly, these Communities can allow malicious actors access to customer lists, support cases, employee email addresses, and other sensitive information.
- App interconnectivity risk
The SaaS apps become way valuable when they are linked together. Many businesses, for example, integrate Salesforce with their email and calendaring systems to track customer communications and meetings automatically. Application program interfaces (APIs) enable SaaS applications to communicate with one another and share data.
Even though APIs help firms extract more value from their SaaS apps, APIs do increase risk too. If an attacker gains access to one service, they can utilize these APIs to access additional cloud services laterally.
How to Balance Productivity and Security In The Cloud
You must strike a balance between productivity and security while using cloud applications and services. Consider it a large, interconnected attack surface that can be exploited in novel ways. We used to be able to protect a perimeter, but now it’s gone. Endpoints are locations of access.
Take a look at what you’re up against now. Cybercrime, whether performed by malicious insiders or external parties, is common. Someone wants to steal crucial data if you keep it on your computer. State-sponsored tactics have spread to the criminal world, and attackers continue to use bitcoin to hold data for ransom.
Defending against cloud-based data breaches necessitates a different approach. It’s past time for cybersecurity to focus solely on data security.
Understanding your digital assets and knowing what’s vital is the first step toward data security. I’ve spoken with huge corporations that estimate that 5-10% of their data is vital. When ransomware strikes, however, everything becomes critical, and many people end up paying the ransom.
The next step is to determine and reduce your SaaS blast radius. Or the range of information a hacker can access with a compromised account or system.
If an attacker only needs to breach one account to have access to your sensitive data, their job is much easier. You can limit access to vital and sensitive data as much as possible so that employees only have access to what they need to complete their jobs. This is one of the greatest, if not the best, protection against ransomware and other data-related threats.
Monitor and profile usage after you’ve secured vital data so you can immediately detect and investigate abuse. If attackers have to jump through additional hurdles to access sensitive data, they are more likely to set up alarms.
You can tackle the biggest chunk of the problem once you discover and lock down key data in cloud services, monitor how it’s utilized, and detect abuse.
This is the heart of zero-trust: restrict and monitor access since no account or device, no matter where they are or who they claim to be, should be implicitly trusted. This is especially true in the cloud, where users and devices – each of which serves as a portal to your vital data – are scattered throughout the globe.