Will the Cloud Increase Corporate Vulnerability in Cyberattacks?

May 1, 2013

Cloud computing has brought about enormous growth in the productivity and mobility of corporations worldwide. But one alarming question still lingers for businesses that have adopted cloud solutions – has moving to the cloud made corporate data more vulnerable to cyber-attacks?

Erik Grueter, a marketer for document security software firm DocTrackr, recently wrote a Cloud Times guest piece in which he speculated that increased cloud use might make companies weaker against security threats that may target them.

"The truth is the exciting speed and scalability of the cloud does not only put power into the hands of the good guys," Grueter wrote. "Gone are the days when a hacker had to wait days or weeks to infect a critical mass of computers before launching a big attack. Distributed Denial Of Service (DDoS) attacks would employ thousands, even millions of computers infected with a virus."

There are many, many ways in which cyber-criminals may attempt to target companies that employ cloud solutions. Here is a look at a few.

Denial of service
Cloud Times notes that denial of service attacks have become an extremely common – and potentially very dangerous – method of cyber-attack. DoS attacks cause an overload of infrastructure, the news source explains, clogging up system resources and making it impossible for users to access cloud resources. These attacks can be very disruptive to a company's day-to-day operations.

Malicious insiders
Sometimes the most harmful attacks come not from outside hackers but from agents on the inside who improperly access data. If a system administrator or other IT official is given an unusually high level of security clearance and gains access to confidential information, the official could use that information against a company or its clients. Corporations must be very careful not to overly trust personnel with cloud access.

Lack of foresight
Companies that implement new cloud solutions must be vigilant in setting up their infrastructures. If they fail to conduct a full review of their IT systems and leave even the slightest vulnerability exposed, it might become a prime target for hackers. Companies must be aware of the risks associated with cloud use and train their personnel accordingly.

According to Business Cloud 9, 61 percent of organizations have detected significant attempts at attacks on their networks in the past year. That's an alarming figure, and it's proof that companies must proceed with the utmost caution regarding their cloud use. The cloud is immensely powerful, but it must be managed with care.