The corporate systems go to the cloud infrastructure. However, there are some concerns: from the data confidentiality violation to its inaccessibility and loss. This article will help to understand the threats while using the SaaS model, and how to minimize them.
Cloud service is a business service that is provided to the customer via the Internet. As a public network, the Internet gives an opportunity to access this service by third parties. It relates to the vulnerability of the cloud to network attacks: malicious virus programs, interception of access credentials, password scanning, spoofing of user identity, etc. DDoS attacks (Distributed Denial of Service) are the most widespread today.
Network attacks are the complex multi-level threats. The cybercriminals continuously invent the new methods to access the confidential data. At the same time, cloud providers have to build complex security systems.
To minimize threats, providers must timely update the service and the client application. High-quality and updated antivirus software will help to minimize the risks of malware activity. A firewall is used to monitor and filter unwanted network packets. They are an extremely effective way to protect against DDoS attacks, but they are only used to protect private networks.
Reliable user authentication technologies help prevent unauthorized accounts use by intercepting access credentials and brute-force passwords. To provide higher reliability, the security teams should use tools like tokens and certificates.
Information leakage or loss
To prevent accidental data loss, the provider must implement backup technologies. Otherwise, the data can be accidentally deleted by the provider itself, or they may suffer from any physical impact (for example, a fire).
To protect data during transmission, encryption should be used. While encrypted data can only be accessed after authentication — even if accessed through untrusted nodes, they can not be read or changed. The providers actively use the protocols and algorithms like SSL, AES, TLS, IPsec.
Data Leakage Prevention systems are designed to control the information flow and block unwanted ones. It also includes the confidential company information. The systems are effective for fighting information leakage. But they have not received much popularity in the corporate SaaS-services segment. There are some reasons for that. For example, corporate customers are very reluctant to fully monitor their confidential data.
Under the insider, we will consider the threats coming from both the operator’s employees and the customer representatives. And if the second option is the internal problem, the first reason is due to the absence of a strict security policy. For example, the provider has expanded access rights to client information, and the worker shared it with the competitor.
Cloud providers must have strict data access regulations and reliable monitoring system. They also have to pay enough attention while giving the workers the access rights to the confidential data.
Availability of the cloud service
Often customers are afraid of downtime due to the cloud system failure. Despite possible errors, clouds allow organizing a distributed fault-tolerant system. They are resistant to disruptions and are under the constant control of the provider’s specialists. Availability is confirmed by the SLA (Service Level Agreement). This is a document that formulates the rights and obligations of two or more parties.
SLA guarantees a certain level of services with the list of necessary parameters. They are fixed several times during the day. They include service availability, service response time, bandwidth, etc. A statistical report is based on the month results and shows the average values for all parameters. If something does not fit the standards, the supplier pays compensation.
Despite all the concerns, we must admit that secure and continuous work is a priority for any cloud provider. This is true for IaaS-, PaaS- and SaaS-providers. Usually, the provider invests significant financial resources to provide the better work of its IT infrastructure,. So, the cloud often turns out to be a more controlled and safe environment than the own IT infrastructure.