3 key security risks of cloud computing

  • Data breaches in cloud environments rose by 50% in 2023.
  • 80% of companies report concerns over cloud security.

As businesses continue to migrate to the cloud, understanding the associated security risks becomes imperative. While cloud computing offers significant advantages, it also presents unique challenges that need careful consideration.

The security risks of cloud computing

Cloud computing has revolutionised the way we store and manage data, but it has also introduced new security vulnerabilities. Here are the key risks:

1. Data breaches

Data breaches occur when sensitive information is accessed without authorisation. In a cloud environment, the risk is amplified due to the vast amount of data stored and the multiple access points. High-profile breaches, such as the 2020 Capital One incident, highlight the severe implications of inadequate cloud security measures. Unauthorised access to sensitive data. Pros include the cloud’s scalability and accessibility, but cons are the heightened risk of exposure and the complexity of managing access controls.

Also read: Prowler’s $6M investment shows confidence in cloud security

2. Insider threats

Insider threats involve employees or contractors misusing their access to company data. The 2019 AWS breach, where an employee exploited a server misconfiguration to access sensitive data, exemplifies this risk. Companies must implement strict access controls and monitoring to mitigate these threats. Risks posed by employees or contractors with access to sensitive data. Pros include easier collaboration and access management, but cons include the potential for malicious or negligent actions from within the organisation.

Also read: Fundamentals of cloud computing: Security and beyond

3. Service outages

Service outages can disrupt business operations, leading to financial loss and reputational damage. Cloud providers like AWS and Microsoft Azure have experienced outages that affected thousands of customers. Dependence on a single provider can be risky; hence, businesses should consider multi-cloud strategies. Disruptions in cloud services that can halt business operations. Pros include reduced costs and increased flexibility, but cons involve potential downtime and reliance on the provider’s uptime guarantees.

A personal perspective

The cloud computing industry is booming, with global spending expected to reach £500 billion ($650 billion) by 2024. As more businesses migrate to the cloud, the competition among cloud providers intensifies. This growth brings heightened scrutiny on security practices, with companies investing heavily in fortifying their defences against these risks.

The security risks of cloud computing are not just abstract concerns—they are real challenges that affect everyday operations and trust in digital transformation. Embracing the cloud requires not just leveraging its benefits but also proactively addressing its risks. It’s about striking a balance between innovation and security, ensuring that as we soar into the digital future, we do so safely and securely.

In this rapidly evolving digital time, staying informed and prepared is key. Let’s approach cloud computing with both enthusiasm and caution, embracing its potential while safeguarding our digital assets.


Doris Du

Doris Du is an intern reporter at BTW Media. She graduated with a master's degree in Translating and Interpreting from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Send tips to d.du@btw.media.

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