Top 5 Cloud Data Security Challenges in 2021

Earlier last year, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has led the world into a turbulent crisis – one that posed economic disruptions and existential threats to businesses of all sizes.

However, if there is one silver lining that has emerged from the pandemic, it likely lies in the acceleration of enterprise cloud adoption. Data has indicated that cloud demand will continue to increase at an unprecedented pace and scale, with the worldwide end-user spending on cloud services forecasted to grow by 18.4% in 2021. The market is expected to reach a value of $304.9 billion.

As organizations scramble to look for ways to adapt, scale, and pivot their operational strategies while weathering market volatility, cloud computing's value proposition and versatility become clear to both the believers and the sceptics. Transitioning to cloud environments will enable organizations to bolster agile working capabilities and remain nimble in an ever-changing landscape, leaving organizations resistant to change behind the race.

Security Challenges & Threats Remain Prevalent Despite the Paradigm Shift

However, as cloud solutions' significance increases exponentially, attacks, data breaches, leaks and other security threats have become a greater cause for concern than ever before. At this point, they are far more than just a temporary terror.

It is unsurprising, given that nearly 71% of Singapore organizations experienced some sort of public cloud security incident in 2019. As more organizations expand their cloud footprint in 2021, such challenges will continue to persist.

Amid this economic turmoil, businesses cannot afford to rush into the cloud precipitously. This migration needs to come with a concrete plan. By that, we mean understanding and getting ahead of the pressing challenges associated with cloud data. This way, organizations can support regulatory compliances and minimize exploits and vulnerabilities in their early stages, eventually placing themselves in the best position to win.

Below, we take a look at the top 5 security challenges pertaining to cloud data.

1.Data Breach

Data breach is arguably one of the most severe security threats globally. Singapore alone has witnessed a recent string of data breaches incidents in 2021, hitting big enterprises like Singtel, Certis and more. The fact that these security issues have seemingly become an everyday occurrence is distressing to note.

The on-demand nature of cloud infrastructure could be one reason why cloud-based environments are exceptionally susceptible to data breaches. But when we look at the bigger picture, these incidents often stem from poor key management and improper security configurations. All these grant attackers a window of opportunity to exploit confidential credentials and sensitive data from vulnerable cloud environments.

Data breach is not to be taken lightly. It can impact an organization on many far-reaching levels. Lost revenues, brand reputation damages, work disruptions and business continuity – to name some. While there is no foolproof strategy to guarantee that an organization will not fall victim to data breaches, one can certainly position itself as a hard target to attackers by implementing strong security measures.

2.Lack of visibility and control over sensitive data

Storing data in an inherently complex cloud environment limits an organization's ability to grasp complete control over who can access sensitive data. This leaves organizations vulnerable to external and internal security threats, some of which could be masked "under the hood". Despite technological advancements, blind spots still exist. Visibility and control still remain as a yet-to-overcome challenge for many.

To attain the level of visibility necessary, it all boils down to finding the right security vendors. Ensuring the presence of robust user access control settings should be a priority.

3.Data Loss

It is easy to assume that cloud data storage is entirely foolproof. The truth is that the risk of data loss still exists on a massive scale. With a remarkable volume of data being scattered into the cloud data centre and shared around daily, organizations are exposed to the perils of data becoming unintentionally shared to external collaborators, accidental file deletion and even malicious tampering. All these can bring about many downstream consequences for a business.

To narrow the potential for data loss, it is imperative to implement strong data controls, with access given to authorized personnel only. Besides, a disaster recovery process must be in place. Organizations are also recommended to perform frequent backups and hygiene checks to reduce the odds of data loss to a minimum.

4.Lack of knowledge & skills in managing cloud computing security solutions

The process of shifting to the cloud is fraught with numerous bottlenecks, with the absence of knowledge and necessary skills being one of the most significant.

Managing a cloud environment requires its own high-level, specialized skills. The lack of the right talents to fill this gap is amplified as organizations race to migrate their data into the cloud. Too often, organizations fail to maximize the full potential of cloud computing and keep up with the pace of security threats due to the lack of expertise.

To overcome this hurdle, organizations must recognize the need to upskill their workforce. This will ensure that employees are armed with the necessary knowledge to embrace the switch.

5.Insecure APIs

APIs unlock numerous possibilities for organizations to streamline processes. But it has also become the most frequent attack vector in cloud computing – accounting for 90% of the attack surface (Gartner Research, Gartner's API Strategy Maturity Model, 21 October 2019). The consequences? Unwanted exposure of personal, financial and other sensitive resources.

With increasing dependence on APIs, how can organizations protect their environments against malicious activities? The answer lies in choosing a quality cloud service provider that prioritizes API security.

Solutions to Overcoming Cloud Data Security Challenges

At Fujitsu, our all-inclusive, intelligence-led approach to stringent security works is complemented with a robust cloud infrastructure. These enable organizations to host critical systems while addressing the above challenges. With over 80 years of experience and a global clientele profile, we are well-positioned to help your organization thrive in this ever-changing landscape of cybersecurity threats.

Explore our portfolio of solutions, or reach out to us to find out how we can help you today.