10 Cloud Computing Risks You Should Know

Cloud computing has changed the way we handle information and data storage, but it also comes with its own set of risks that you’ll need to be aware of before making the switch to this service. Whether you’re thinking about using it at home or business, below are 10 cloud computing risks that you should know about. Make sure to take these into consideration so that you can determine whether or not cloud computing is right for your needs and your data.

1. Data Loss

One of cloud computing’s biggest risks is data loss. When you store your data in a cloud service, you give up some of your control. If something happens to that third-party storage area, there’s very little you can do about it. As such, it’s vital that you create backups of any important information before using a cloud service and regularly monitor your backup services to ensure they have not been compromised or lost.

2. Privacy Concerns

There’s no denying that cloud computing has many perks. It’s fast, it’s convenient, and it requires little maintenance from your end (no hardware to buy or software to load). However, any time you give an organization access to your data, there are risks involved.  If a cloud provider suffers a breach of security, for example, your personal information could be compromised. Cloud providers also have policies in place that may limit what you can do with their services. If a provider decides to discontinue a service, for example, you might lose all of your stored data. And if you decide to switch providers either because of performance issues or simply because another provider offers more storage space you may not be able to transfer all of your files over to another service without losing some information in transit.

3. Lack of Agility

Because your cloud computing services are hosted on a third-party server, you do not have total control over their operation. For example, if they stop working due to an internal problem at your provider’s company, you may be forced to find a solution in a short period of time. While cloud computing can increase flexibility and reduce costs, it can also make companies less agile when it comes to problems that arise.

4. Business Continuity

Continuity of operations is one of many cloud computing risks to consider. While cloud technology can provide a more seamless experience for IT administrators, it also requires new strategies for ensuring continuity during emergencies and disasters. When businesses choose to use cloud services, they’re making an implicit trust that their providers will be ready when disaster strikes and data needs to be recovered.

5. Hackers, Viruses, and Malware

Cloud computing runs on an internet-based network, so your data will be at risk from viruses and hackers looking to steal your company’s sensitive information. To minimize these risks, make sure you choose a cloud computing provider that has security protocols in place. For example, if you decide to use Amazon Web Services (AWS), make sure you go with a cloud service provider offering a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) capability like AWS GuardDuty.

6. Outsourcing Migration Challenges

When an organization begins to outsource its data and application services to a cloud-based provider, it opens itself up to new risks in addition to those it already faces. This shouldn’t come as a surprise: For example, when an organization uses a hosted email service for its employees, many of them can now access email from any internet connected device.

7. Security Misconfiguration

Even with a cloud computing vendor that has strong security measures in place, your business’s security may still be put at risk. Security misconfiguration is one of 10 Cloud Computing Risks You Should Know About especially if you’re looking to move sensitive information. According to a Verizon report on cloud computing risks, cloud service providers are under no obligation to protect data they transmit, store or manage  even if it is encrypted. 

8. Access Control & Monitoring

Whether you’re moving data from your on-premises infrastructure to a cloud solution or moving workloads across multiple cloud providers, access control and monitoring should be high on your list of concerns. Cloud computing risks have been widely publicized and almost all of them are in direct relation to security vulnerabilities that exist within applications and business processes; so if you can fix or mitigate those vulnerabilities before deploying a solution, you’ll be in much better shape.

9. Missing Skill Sets for Your Team

It’s not always easy to find a team that has all of the skills you need. Depending on your project and timeline, it may be necessary to hire contractors or bring in part-time staff. But as an IT pro, you should be familiar with cloud computing security. This can help ensure there are no gaps in your defense strategy. Missing skill sets can add risk to any project. Make sure you have a plan for getting additional help if you need it.

10. Non-standard Processes (Blanket Purchasing Agreements)

Nearly every state requires businesses to run at least some purchases through a bidding process, with contracts awarded to those who can do a job at an agreed upon price. The business with whom you plan to work might think they’re going outside of these rules by using a BPAL, but they’re not. It is illegal in most states. In other words, you could win a contract without offering any type of discount, or even be outbid by someone who offers a better deal.

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