Cloud Computing Is a Business Game Changer. But What Are the Security Risks?

Security that relies on end-to-end, packet-level visibility into the entire service delivery stack is essential.

Cloud with arrow on it
David Pitlik

Cloud computing is quite literally the future of the digital business world. More and more enterprises are migrating to the cloud, which in turn enables greater innovation and new opportunities to meet the growing demands of the global marketplace. Evidence of this trend can be found in the rapidly increasing spend on cloud services. According to a recent IDC forecast, total worldwide expenditures on cloud services is expected to surpass $1.3 trillion by 2025, with a compound annual growth rate of 16.9 percent.
Of course, with this escalating reliance on cloud computing comes significant challenges, including clear and present cybersecurity dangers.

Understanding the Most Common Security Risks of Cloud Computing

When it comes to cloud computing, enterprises face a number of security risks. It is important to consider each of these risks in order to fully understand how best to mitigate them. The following is a list of some of the most common security risks associated with cloud computing: 

  • Large-scale data breaches. When sensitive or confidential data is stored in or accessible via the cloud, the potential exists for that data to be stolen. Evidenced by the all-too-frequent news headlines where large-scale data breaches occur, enterprises must take all precautions to prevent hackers from gaining access to such information. The upshot of such attacks can be devastating to a business. 
  • Lack of visibility. The key to effective cloud security is visibility. However, because cloud-based resources are located outside your corporate infrastructure, the ability to see end-to-end is limited. Traditional monitoring tools can’t deliver complete visibility into the cloud. Without holistic network visibility into the cloud environment, enterprises may be limited in detecting and fending off cyberattacks, adding security risk to cloud computing.
  • API hacks. In today’s increasingly connected and automated world, the use of application programming interfaces (APIs) has become fundamental to communication across cloud services. Because APIs typically are accessed by third parties, they present vulnerabilities to being hacked, potentially exposing sensitive data to compromise. This creates a strong need to protect these vital interfaces from cybersecurity threats.
  • DDoS attacks. Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks are a type of incursion that involves overwhelming a server with too much traffic, causing it to bog down and eventually crash. When targeting a cloud infrastructure, DDoS attacks can create widespread disruption for all businesses that rely on those cloud services. In some cases, DDoS attackers may demand ransom to cease the attacks and/or to free up now-disabled systems and restore access to vital data. In fact, ransomware gangs are now adding DDoS attacks to their techniques of stealing and threatening to expose cloud-based data and encrypting cloud-based data in an attempt to triple extort their targets.  

Why Pervasive, End-to-End, Packet-level Network Visibility Matters with Cloud Computing

As previously outlined, enterprises face unique cybersecurity risks related to cloud computing. To mitigate those risks, they need end-through-end network visibility into the entire service delivery stack. 

NETSCOUT’s highly scalable, deep-packet inspection-based security solutions provide a holistic approach to security, offering comprehensive insight into both service performance management and cybersecurity. Such pervasive security is the best approach to augmenting an enterprise’s layered security strategy. NETSCOUT Omnis Cyber Intelligence leverages cloud-native, virtual-network packet-capture capabilities to extend on-premises packet-based visibility to the cloud, providing advanced network threat detection and response. And Omnis Arbor Edge Defense (AED) and Arbor Cloud combine on-premise DDoS defense with cloud-based traffic-scrubbing services that are tightly integrated via an automated cloud signal. Together, these solutions mitigate today’s full spectrum of DDoS attacks and other cyberthreats for both service providers and the enterprise.

Learn more about how you can gain visibility into your on-prem, private and public cloud, and virtualized networks with NETSCOUT’s cloud-optimized software.