Just like cloud computing connects users with applications over the internet, cloud storage does the exact same. A user can upload any type of information online and share the link, along with secure access code with other people he or she wishes to work with. This link can then be used by others to access the same data, and any progress on it is automatically saved. Think of it like this, a general manager of a retail chain store in Atlanta needs to have an advertisement modified but isn’t adept with using Photoshop. Instead of waiting around, he uses a cloud linked storage service to upload the image and shares the link with his company’s media department in Hartford, Connecticut. Within minutes, a graphic designer has seen the image, understood the project and completed the job. In 15 minutes, the work that would normally have taken a day is complete and ready for action.
Challenges for Secure Cloud Storage & Solutions:
Just like all other forms of information technology, cloud computing services have their fair share of disadvantages too. The problem is compounded due to the nature of sharing promoted by cloud computing which poses the following challenges for secure cloud storage:
- Single Point Breach:
The most important and most vulnerable security risk for cloud storage is the possibility of a single point data breach. Since cloud computing relies on sharing information between hundreds or even thousands of users at a time, a data breach from any one access point can affect the entire system. Think of it like a secure deposit box key that could open all the boxes in a security vault. Cloud computing storage often includes sensitive business information, personal data, financial information, trade secrets, and intellectual property that can be compromised.Solution: Companies that provide cloud storage services need to deploy appropriate security measures to avoid this type of situation. This can be done by using multifactor authentication for user access. Data encryption can also be used to protect information from falling into the wrong hands, and limiting a data leak if it occurs.
- Misuse of Credentials and Limited Authentication:
A further extension of the single point data breach is the misuse of credentials to access privileged information. Another issue is limited authentication requirements to access entire databases of confidential and highly sensitive data. Because cloud storage allows users to store all kinds of information at a single place, it is especially vulnerable to these kinds of security issues. There are multiple cases where credentials were misused to gain access to private information on cloud servers. Furthermore, in most of these cases, the lack of proper authorization protocols was also uncovered. While this does not directly implicate cloud storage as a source of problems, it does indicate that cloud service providers need to take their security measures seriously.
Cloud storage providers need to protect security keys and continue to change them periodically in order to keep them protected. It is also vital to ensure any encrypted information is not left available on a public server (for example GitHub). Furthermore, appropriate measures to recheck user authentication need to be put in place when centralized data access is available to all users.
While cloud computing services promise to revolutionize the way we communicate, collaborate, and learn new things, it also poses a few serious security risks. These risks can be mitigated by making appropriate adjustments for secure cloud storage.