Tackling Top 15 Cloud Security Threats & Issues: Let’s Overcome Together!

Top 15 Cloud Security Threats & Issues Featured img BDCC

Do you know that global public cloud spending will increase by 20.4%, with cloud security services spending nearly $90B this year? Almost 94% of enterprises worldwide are concerned about handling various cloud security risks, threats, and challenges.

But why are enterprises putting so much importance on cloud security? The sudden rise of ransomware, account takeovers, misconfiguration, data breaches, and hack-and-leak operations is causing many organizations to lose valuable data and face severe operational disruptions.

So, if you want to tackle all these threats and create an unbreachable cloud security strategy, here are the top 15 risks you must overcome!

Data Breaches

A data breach happens when unauthorized individuals gain access to view and retrieve your sensitive information. This data security risk can cause serious consequences of financial losses and even reputational damage. Take the incident of Yahoo for reference!

Yahoo experienced a massive data breach in 2013 that compromised its 3 billion user records. This cloud security incident impacted Verizon’s future acquisition offer by USD 350 million in 2016.

So, if you don’t take precautions to stop data breach incidents, you might put your business at risk. Hover through the potential cases of data breaches to be self-aware:

  • Hackers targeting your cloud storage
  • Misconfigured cloud settings
  • Weak or missing runtime protection
  • Accidental public data sharing

You can deal with data breaches without feeling overwhelmed. Here’s how!

How To Handle Data Breaches?

First, secure and update your cloud security configurations. Use strong encryption controls to secure your sensitive data. Lastly, proactively monitor and audit your cloud environments for suspicious activities.

Unauthorized Access

Another common cloud security threat is unauthorized access! Do not confuse it with data breaches cause it’s all about who can access your cloud infrastructure, server root folders, and sensitive business documents. It happens mostly when you allow users to use weak passwords or keep your servers accessible to everyone.

So, if you don’t focus on securing access management, you leave your cloud servers vulnerable to online attackers. They can infiltrate your cloud-based resources and retrieve sensitive data without permission.

Best Practices To Prevent Unauthorized Access

You can prevent the cloud security risks due to unauthorized access through the following:

  • Policies to restrict editing rights to specific documents
  • RDP connectivity to your cloud virtual machines
  • Contributor or administrative access management
  • Permit selected devices and IPs to access

So, be vigilant about what RBAC policies you set and which users you give access to your cloud resources to avoid unauthorized access risks!

Cloud Misconfigurations

Coming to the next cloud security risk–Misconfigurations! It can happen when cloud settings are not correctly set up, leaving your cloud environment vulnerable to attacks. These mistakes can happen for several reasons:

  • Complex cloud infrastructure settings
  • Inconsistent configurations across multiple providers
  • Lack of proficiency in securing cloud services
  • Overlooked security controls

Be it your cloud infrastructure administrators or developers; anyone can unknowingly misconfigure a service or system that can disrupt your cloud security!

How Can You Avoid Misconfigurations?

Misconfigurations seem inevitable, but you can handle them with the correct practices. So, regularly review and update your cloud configurations and use automated tools to manage your cloud settings. With consistent audits, you can detect and resolve cloud security risks early!

Hijacking Of Use Accounts

Another major cloud security threat is when user accounts are compromised. Most user account hijacking happens due to compromised or stolen credentials, which might lead to data breaches. So, before your cloud accounts get hijacked with phishing attacks, you must act immediately!

Suggestions To Secure User Accounts

  • Enable strong authentication through Single Sign-On
  • Impose complex and lengthy password policies
  • Allow multi-factor sign-in options to secure user access
  • Ask users to change passwords monthly or quarterly

Thus, you can keep your user accounts safe and secure even during DDoS attacks or other cybersecurity threats!

Unmanaged Attack Surface

It refers to the total sum of potential entry points and vulnerabilities for attackers in your cloud environment. Unlike traditional data centers, the cloud’s ever-changing nature makes it challenging to pinpoint who is responsible for data security. This complexity can lead to significant cloud security risks:

  • Expanded attack surfaces due to dynamic environments
  • Inadequate traditional risk assessment methods
  • The rapid emergence of new vulnerabilities.
  • Poor visibility over public cloud resources and assets

How To Manage Your Attack Surface?

Begin with data classification using security protocols. You can also use 2FA and Encryption Policies to control authorized personnel access. Thus, you can remove unused or exposed data stores and minimize potential cloud security vulnerabilities.

Insider Threats To Compromise Cloud Security

As you tackle the outsider threats, do not overlook the insider threats within your organization! Remember, not all cloud security threats are caused by unknown individuals or unexpected causes. Insider threats can happen when individuals misuse their given access rights. These threats might involve accidental mishandling of intentionally sensitive data.

Tackling Insider Threats

So, always take extra precautions and follow these suggestions to minimize the chances of insider threats:

  • Implement strict role-based access controls
  • Monitor user activity continuously
  • Use user behavioral analytics tools
  • Enforce data access policies
  • Conduct regular access audits

As you monitor user activities, you’ll be able to find where people misuse their access rights in your cloud environment and take immediate action!

Cloud Security Risks With External Data Sharing

Next, let’s analyze the cloud security threats your environments possess when sharing the data externally:

  • Unintended recipients might receive and misuse the data
  • Your data might get lost in the dark web
  • Your company might face compliance violations and penalties

So, you must always use secure sharing methods, such as encryption and secure links, and limit access based on user roles when sharing data with external parties.

Denial of Service Attacks

A Denial of Service (DoS) attack occurs when cybercriminals flood your cloud services with overwhelming traffic and cause operational disruptions. This type of attack can severely impact your cloud environment by:

  • Overloading your cloud resources
  • Disrupting service availability
  • Increasing response times and latency
  • Potentially causing financial losses due to downtime

The Best Approach To Handle DDoS Attacks?

In addition to securing your cloud network, you can enable autoscaling to handle sudden spikes in traffic and workload distribution. Ask your monitoring team to identify such unusual activities and establish a response plan to address future attacks quickly.

Insecure APIs

In the cloud, Application Programming Interfaces are necessary for establishing connectivity between different software applications to interact with each other. However, APIs also pose significant cloud security threats if not properly secured:

  • Unauthorized access to sensitive data
  • Exploitation of vulnerabilities in API endpoints
  • Data breaches through poorly configured APIs
  • Potential for malicious attacks using documented API methods

So, how do you secure your APIs? Ensure all your APIs are correctly configured with authentication and encryption protocols, and that’s it!

Exploits Of Zero-Day Vulnerabilities

Zero-day vulnerabilities represent cloud security risks unknown to the vendor that have been kept unpatched for a long time. In 2021, cybercriminals exploited zero-day vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange Server, impacting thousands of organizations worldwide. This incident highlighted why you must install timely patches and security updates. So, be aware of the potential causes of zero-day exploits:

  • Unpatched software vulnerabilities
  • Delayed security updates
  • Lack of vulnerability scanning
  • Poor patch management

Cybercriminals often look for such vulnerabilities to exploit and gain unauthorized data access. But you can take preventative measures beforehand!

How To Handle Zero-Day Vulnerabilities?

First, make it mandatory to install security updates and patches across all user machines and cloud servers immediately after release. Conduct frequent vulnerability scanning and use automated patch management tools to let the installation happen from the back end. Thus, you can protect your cloud environment from system vulnerabilities.

Incident Response in Cloud Security

While Incident Response deals with the aftermath of a cloud security incident, you must take it seriously. Otherwise, you might face the following cloud security challenges:

  • Partial visibility over cloud infrastructure
  • Limited ownership and control of resources
  • Traditional security tools are less effective
  • Difficulty in identifying the full scope of incidents

Creating An Effective Incident Response Strategy

You must gain better visibility into your current incident response protocols to overcome these challenges. You can update your response plan to improve your readiness and resilience against cloud security incidents.

Unintentional Human Errors

Besides internal threats, many cloud security breaches happen due to human errors. Downloading malware, using weak passwords, or not updating software can compromise your cloud security without you noticing. So, how do we prohibit such situations?

Reducing Cloud Security Risks Due To Unintentional Human Errors

You should start from the organizational level. Provide your employees consistent cloud security training on handling sensitive information, preserving IP rights, sharing internal documents, or accessing server resources. Only being cautious and alert will help avoid human errors!

Cloud Security Risks Due To Regulatory Compliance Mismatch

You know that data protection laws are different across countries, and as a business owner, you must maintain regulatory compliance based on your business’s areas of operations. For example, GDPR governs data protection in the European regions, while HIPAA applies to healthcare data in the US.

So, if you don’t adhere to these regulations, you automatically put your cloud environments at risk. You might face financial losses due to legal penalties, just like British Airways! In 2018, the company was fined £20m due to a compliance issue that led to a data breach of 400k global customers!

How Can You Maintain Regulatory Compliance?

First, research and confirm the data protection regulations applicable to your industry. Based on that, you can implement consistent compliance measures across the cloud. You can also use automated tools to monitor compliance risks and protect your cloud environment from potential legal and financial repercussions.

Data Sovereignty Concers

Data sovereignty refers to the idea that data is subject to country-wise laws based on the storage location. In the cloud, where data is often stored across multiple geographically distributed data centers, this can present significant cloud security challenges:

  • Uncertainty about where data is physically stored
  • Risk of non-compliance with GDPR standards
  • Varying laws on data access by local authorities
  • Potential privacy and security concerns due to different jurisdictions

How To Address Data Sovereignty Issues?

Check your cloud provider’s available data residency options and implement data classification to protect sensitive information. Regularly audit your data storage locations and communicate clearly with your cloud provider about data management practices. Thus, you can maintain data sovereignty!

Privacy Contract Breaches

In addition to complying with government regulations, you must abide by the data and privacy contracts you establish with your customers. Here are some of the situations where you might fail to meet the contract terms:

  • Mismanagement of customer data
  • Failure to update privacy policies
  • Inadequate data protection controls
  • Lack of transparency in data handling

In any case, you might have to pay your customers penalty charges, so you might take extra precautions to protect the contract’s privacy.

How To Maintain Contract Privacy?

Start handling your customer contracts with care using these best practices:

  • Revise business contracts to keep the compliance up-to-date
  • Safekeep customer data access logs for future use
  • Use privacy impact assessments to re-verify access rights

Thus, you can strengthen your privacy contract compliance while building long-term trust with your business partners and customers!

Securing Your Cloud Environment With An Effective Cloud Security Strategy

As we conclude our discussion of cloud security risks and concerns, we strongly suggest you craft a perfect cloud security strategy. If you have less experience, consider hiring one of the Cloud and DevOps Consulting Companies that can help you develop a suitable approach to securing your cloud environments. Good luck!


What differentiates cloud security threats from risks?

A threat is an attack or adversary, such as malware or hackers targeting your data. On the other hand, a risk is a potential for data loss or a weak spot that threats can exploit. So, cloud security threats are the actions, while risks measure the impact of those threats.

What are cloud security issues?

When your cloud environment faces security threats and risks, each problem becomes a cloud security issue. So, data breaches, misconfigurations, unauthorized access, and all other securities risks represent individual problems that require immediate fixing!

What are the common cloud security challenges?

The following represent the common challenges related to cloud security:

  • Data breaches from weak security measures
  • Misconfigured cloud settings exposing vulnerabilities
  • Unauthorized access by malicious actors
  • Inadequate monitoring and incident response
  • Compliance with data protection regulations

Which best practices should I use for cloud security?

You can enforce these cloud computing security best practices:

  • Use a cloud service that encrypts data.
  • Read and understand user agreements.
  • Activate two-factor authentication.
  • Don’t store sensitive data on the cloud.
  • Research your cloud service provider thoroughly.

What security threats do public cloud environments possess?

Public cloud environments are always at risk because they are accessible online. Hackers and cybercriminals often exploit vulnerabilities. That’s why incidents of data breaches are commonly seen in public clouds. If you use services from a public cloud provider, focus on building a solid cloud security strategy to protect your environment.

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Co-Founder & Director, Business Management
BDCC Global is a leading DevOps research company. We believe in sharing knowledge and increasing awareness, and to contribute to this cause, we try to include all the latest changes, news, and fresh content from the DevOps world into our blogs.

About BDCC

BDCC Global is a leading DevOps research company. We believe in sharing knowledge and increasing awareness, and to contribute to this cause, we try to include all the latest changes, news, and fresh content from the DevOps world into our blogs.