With the advancement in cloud computing, cloud security is an essential matter of question for organisations of all sizes to consider. Cyber security mechanisms, such as encryption, authentication, and access control, can protect data and systems stored in the cloud. Security risks, such as malicious attacks, missing patches, broken access controls, existing misconfigurations and unauthorised access, are all potential threats when using cloud-centric services.
Cloud security issues may be sourced from various aspects, especially cloud-based infrastructure, data stores, key management or even the security personnel responsible for maintaining the cloud environment. Security risks include human error, malicious actors, misconfiguration, and application and network vulnerabilities. Organisations can ensure their data and systems are safe and secure by taking the necessary steps to secure the cloud environment.
What is cloud database security?
Cloud database security is crucial to protecting sensitive information and confidential data from unauthorised access on the cloud. It is a set of measures designed to protect data from unauthorised access, manipulation, or destruction. It includes encryption, authentication, and access control to ensure only authorised users can access the data.
Suppose a company has recently acquired a large amount of sensitive data from its customers. The company needs to ensure that this data is protected from unauthorised access. The company is looking for a way to secure its data and protect user data.
The company implemented a cloud database security system that includes data encryption. This will ensure that the data is encrypted, thus protecting the breach of confidential data and information gets compromised.
Other security measures, such as restricting access to the database, implementing two-factor authentication, transparent data encryption and regular database monitoring for suspicious activity to protect sensitive data, should also be implemented by organisations to ensure that it is secure with these measures.
Cloud database security is all about putting security measures in place to protect cloud-based data from data breaches, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, viruses, and unauthorised users accessing cloud data.
Cyber attacks are not a matter of if, but when. Be prepared.
Box-ticking approach to penetration tests is long gone. We help you identify, analyse and remediate vulnerabilities so you don’t see the same pentest report next time.
Cloud database security challenges
What are cloud database security issues and challenges?
Cloud database systems can be as vulnerable to cloud security threats as other cloud technologies, leading to potentially severe consequences if not adequately protected. Let’s see what some of the top cloud security threats are.
Intruders attempt to hijack user accounts by exploiting software systems or phishing to uncover passwords. Once they gain access, they change the password to lock the user out of their account. They can then access any files or data stored in the cloud, potentially including an extensive user information database.
Data breaches are common threats to cloud databases, where attackers can access sensitive information such as customer credit card numbers or mailing addresses for personal gain. As more information is stored online in a centralised location, the severity of data breaches increases, potentially affecting millions of people simultaneously.
BYOD work-from-home policies
Organisations have implemented BYOD policies to facilitate remote work, increasing the risk of breaches. Unsecured personal devices can introduce malware to cloud systems. IT teams secure onsite networks, Wi-Fi routers and employer-provided phones, but remote access requires secure home networks and updated device software. Organisations are vulnerable to malware without IT-vetted hardware and processes to check home networks.
Misconfigured cloud systems
Many IT departments rush to set up cloud-based frameworks with inadequate time for a detailed setup, making misconfigured enterprise systems more vulnerable to online attacks.
Furthermore, IT teams have to simultaneously troubleshoot and course correct while unfamiliar procedures are going live, leading to long hours in which they may need help to perform optimally. A lack of stress testing to ensure system stability can further weaken an otherwise secure infrastructure, leaving it open to malicious criminals.
Application programming interface (API)
A user communicates with a cloud system through an Application Programming Interface (API), which governs their permission to attach third-party applications to virtual servers. Although cloud storage companies and other Internet entities have created secure APIs, such as OAuth, there is still a potential for intruders to find vulnerabilities and gain access to administrator API areas.
Cloud servers as malware platforms
Cloud computing can provide valuable services for updating database files across different devices and platforms. Still, consider an intruder’s attempts to use the exact mechanism to distribute viruses. In that case, they could spread malware across the whole network, causing more dangerous damage if they can access the locally – stored data across the organisation’s cloud environments.
Why cloud database security is important?
Imagine your company moves their data to the cloud and has chosen a cloud services provider to host their cloud databases and systems. The company is now faced with ensuring data security embedded in its cloud system.
Your company must first understand the risks associated with cloud services, databases and systems. These risks include data breaches, unauthorised access to data files, malicious attacks, and data leakage.
So, the company must create a security plan with strict user access controls, encryption, data protection, monitoring, and auditing measures and ensure its cloud provider complies with industry standards and regulations.
Example cases of cloud database security
Are cloud databases safe for sensitive data?
Suppose Ted is a small business owner who recently moved his business operations to the cloud. He has been researching the cloud databases available and wonders if they are safe.
Ted has heard about the potential risks of storing data in the cloud, such as data breaches and cyber attacks. He is concerned about his data’s safety and is still determining whether a cloud-based database suits his business. Ted meets with a cloud security expert who explains:
Cloud-based databases are gaining popularity as organisations move away from traditional on-prem solutions. Cloud computing provides organisations several benefits, such as cost savings, scalability, and flexibility. It is secure, as cloud providers employ various security measures to protect customer data. Cloud data stores are safe when used in conjunction with robust security measures.
Ted is confident that a single cloud-based server database is a safe and secure choice for his business. He implements the required and relevant security measures and uses the cloud-based database for business operations.
Secure your cloud database practices.
How do I secure my cloud database?
Cloud databases are becoming increasingly popular, but the need for increased security is also growing. The latest security intelligence technologies can help detect potential vulnerabilities and threats to cloud environments. In contrast, security controls such as authentication, authorisation, encryption, and access management and control can help protect data from unauthorised access.
Moreover, monitoring and managing database access, conducting security audits on user activity, and staying up-to-date on the latest data security trends and technologies are essential for cloud deployments. Following these steps will help ensure that cloud databases remain safe, secure, and protected from cyber criminals and unauthorised access.
Secure cloud databases with software security systems
Secure cloud databases are essential to today’s digital horizon. Software security systems help mitigate security risks that could affect cloud technology and protect the data stored on the cloud.
Software security approaches typically include encryption, authentication, and access control.
- Encryption ensures that any data stored on the cloud is secure and unreadable by unauthorised users.
- Authentication makes sure that only authorised users can access data on the cloud.
- Access control allows network administrators and database administrators to set user permissions so that only specific users can access the data required for them.
They are essential for ensuring the security of cloud technology and protecting network data. By implementing these systems, businesses can fight against data breaches, reduce the risk of data loss and protect their data from malicious actors.
Security of cloud environment hosting databases
Here are some tips for personal and enterprise use to help you secure your cloud:
- Change default logins/credentials for cloud databases to prevent brute-force attacks, which unskilled adversaries can do easily.
- Cloud IAM is now highly capable, and policies can be created and applied to minimise privileges. Prioritising strong IAM can significantly reduce the threat surface of databases.
- Enable full logging for all databases and send logs to a central security event management system for monitoring and responding to malicious access attempts.
- Set up a VPN with end-to-end encryption from a trusted provider to give your organisation a private tunnel for data.
- Test cloud security by probing networks and components for vulnerabilities with security methods.
A firm Cloud Database Security policy is essential for success in the data-driven world. Implement it when configuring your database servers. Get in touch with us to discuss your cloud database security concerns.
Shahrukh, is a passionate cyber security analyst and researcher who loves to write technical blogs on different cyber security topics. He holds a Masters degree in Information Security, an OSCP and has a strong technical skillset in offensive security.