94% of worldwide businesses are leveraging cloud delivery services, but their cybersecurity risks must be addressed
Cloud delivery services bring content, applications, or resources over the internet to end-users, typically through a global network of servers and data centers. These services enable users to access and consume various types of content and resources from anywhere with an internet connection. Cloud delivery services provide organizations unprecedented computing flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness and have become increasingly popular as a result.
EarthWeb reports that 94% of companies are using cloud computing services in 2023, with the banking, financial services, and insurance sectors alone accounting for 21% of all cloud-based services in use.
Let’s investigate a few examples of how organizations use cloud delivery services, and take a closer look at the cybersecurity threats these services present to the organizations that use them.
Examples of cloud delivery services include:
- Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)
CDNs are networks of geographically distributed servers that work together to deliver web content, such as images, videos, scripts, and other static or dynamic content, to users based on their geographic location. Using CDNs, websites can reduce latency and improve the loading speed of their content, resulting in a better user experience.
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
In this model, software applications are hosted “in the cloud” and delivered to end users over the internet. The SaaS model eliminates the need for organizations to install and maintain software locally. Popular SaaS examples include email services, productivity tools, and customer relationship management (CRM) software.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS)
PaaS provides software developers a cloud-based platform to build, test, deploy, and manage applications without worrying about infrastructure management. PaaS providers offer tools and services to streamline the development process and enable scalable, easily deployable applications.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
IaaS provides virtualized computing resources over the internet, including virtual machines, storage, and networking capabilities. Users can rent these resources on a pay-as-you-go basis, allowing them to scale their infrastructure as needed without investing in physical hardware.
- Gaming as a Service (GaaS)
GaaS allows users to play video games over the internet, streaming game content from remote servers to their devices. This model eliminates the need for high-end hardware, as the game processing occurs on the cloud servers.
- Function as a Service (FaaS)
FaaS, also known as serverless computing, enables developers to run code in response to specific events without managing the underlying server infrastructure. Developers only pay for the computing resources used during the execution of their functions.
For all the benefits they offer, cloud delivery services are not a free ride. These services present several cybersecurity challenges that organizations must address to ensure their data’s security and privacy. Before we get into these challenges, we must recognize that while the cloud services vendors you employ are responsible for maintaining secure platforms, your organization is responsible for securing the data, applications, and other assets you have hosted in the cloud. AWS calls this the shared security model.
Nine major cybersecurity threats associated with cloud delivery services
- Data breaches
When your organization moves assets to the cloud, your risk losing control over your security measures. If your cloud-hosted environments are not configured to support the enforcement of your security policies, your organization runs the risk of unauthorized users gaining access to your sensitive cloud-hosted assets. This can lead to data leaks, financial losses, and reputational damage.
- Insider threats
Employees of cloud delivery services providers often have access to your customer data and other assets. While your organization is responsible for mitigating threats presented by your users, your vendor must also have rules and policies in place to stop insider threats on their end – whether they are bad actors with malicious intent or simply engaged in accidental negligence. Even reputable cloud delivery service providers face vulnerabilities and breaches. Make sure your cloud service providers have robust security practices and are transparent about their security measures.
- Shared infrastructure vulnerabilities
In a multi-customer cloud environment, multiple organizations may share the same underlying infrastructure. If one organization’s assets are compromised, there’s a risk that other organizations’ assets might also be exposed.
- Insecure APIs
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) facilitate the communication that drives cloud services’ functionality and integration. If these APIs are not sufficiently secure, they can become entry points for cyber attackers.
- Data loss
If your cloud service providers do not have proper backup and disaster recovery measures in place, your organization faces an increased risk of data loss.
- Compliance and regulatory issues
If your organization is subject to industry-specific regulations or international data protection laws, you must be sure your cloud-hosted environments are configured to support compliance.
- Shadow IT
As a way to avoid security policies that can slow the development process, employees under pressure to deliver applications and functionality quickly can be lured into using unauthorized cloud services to store sensitive assets. This often creates more security risks, as these shadow IT services might lack proper security controls and compliance with your organization’s policies.
- Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks
Cloud delivery services are frequently targeted by DDoS attacks overwhelming the infrastructure and causing service disruptions. Pay careful attention to the details of your service level agreements with your cloud delivery services vendors and make sure they have the capacity to fend off DDoS attacks without affecting performance or user experience.
- Encryption and key management
Ensuring proper encryption of data in transit and at rest as well as securely managing encryption keys are essential for preventing unauthorized access to encrypted data in cloud-hosted environments.
TrueFort actively blocks anomalous activity and protects assets hosted by cloud delivery services vendors
Traditional management and monitoring tools lack the ability to detect workload configuration risks and identify malicious activity in the cloud. TrueFort’s Enterprise-grade Cloud Workload Protection Platform uses a positive security model to continuously monitor for drift in workload behavior, triggering alerts or blocking activities outside of the expected norm. This Platform helps security teams understand, manage, and control trust to proactively protect against unknown risks that threaten sensitive assets. These teams can leverage the intelligence they gather to create least privileged access policies and mitigate risk in all cloud delivery services environments.