In today’s digital landscape, where 82% of company workloads are stored in the cloud, the security of cloud-based systems is of utmost importance. As businesses increasingly rely on cloud computing for their operations, they must be aware of the potential risks and vulnerabilities associated with this technology. One such threat that has been on the rise is known as “cloud jacking,” where hackers gain unauthorized access to cloud accounts. In this article, we will explore what cloud jacking is and provide small businesses with essential tips to protect themselves.
Cloud jacking occurs when a hacker gains control of a cloud account by exploiting compromised user credentials. Once inside, they possess the same privileges as the legitimate user, enabling them to carry out various malicious activities. This can range from sending phishing emails and spam, accessing sensitive data, infecting cloud storage with malware or ransomware, to manipulating security settings and more. As more businesses migrate their data from on-premises servers to the cloud, there has been a significant increase in cloud account takeovers, with attacks rising by 630% in 2020 alone.
The consequences of a cloud jacking incident can be severe. Apart from the potential financial losses and damage to a company’s reputation, businesses may also face legal and regulatory consequences if customer data is compromised. Therefore, it is crucial for small businesses to be proactive in implementing measures to mitigate the risk of cloud jacking.
Here are some essential steps small businesses can take to protect themselves from cloud jacking:
Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security by requiring a unique code, usually sent to a user’s device, in addition to their login credentials. By enabling 2FA on all cloud accounts, businesses can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized access. Studies show that 2FA can prevent up to 99.9% of fraudulent sign-in attempts.
Implement the Rule of Least Privilege
The Rule of Least Privilege advises granting users the minimum privileges necessary to perform their daily tasks. Rather than assigning admin privileges to everyone, restrict high-level privileges to a limited number of accounts. By following this principle, the potential damage that a cloud jacker can inflict is limited if they compromise an account with restricted access.
Utilize Cloud Security Tools
Cloud security tools, such as Microsoft Cloud App Security, can provide an additional layer of protection. These tools monitor device access to cloud accounts, identify unauthorized devices, and assess cloud applications for potential security risks. Implementing such tools can help small businesses identify and respond to potential threats promptly.
Educate Employees on Security Best Practices
Human error remains a significant factor in many security breaches. Therefore, it is essential to educate employees about security best practices, such as recognizing phishing emails, creating strong and unique passwords, and regularly updating credentials. By fostering a culture of security awareness, businesses can empower their workforce to become the first line of defense against cloud jacking attacks.
Regularly Update and Patch Systems
Cloud service providers frequently release updates and patches to address security vulnerabilities. It is crucial for small businesses to stay up to date with these updates and apply them promptly to ensure their cloud environments are protected against the latest threats.
Cloud computing offers numerous benefits for small businesses, including flexibility, scalability, and remote accessibility. However, it also introduces unique security challenges. By adopting robust security measures and staying vigilant against emerging threats like cloud jacking, small businesses can safeguard their sensitive data, maintain customer trust, and ensure the continuity of their operations in the digital era.