The term ‘cloud’ denotes a network. Cloud computing is the systematic delivery of various hosting services provided to clients over the Internet. It aids in the creation, configuration, and customization of commercial applications online. It allows firms and enterprises to easily outsource IT processes, hence giving them ample time to concentrate on their main commercial activities (Sharma et al. 52). This helps the organizations to enhancing productivity and innovations hence customer satisfaction. This concept, cloud computing, existed back since 1950 where mainframe computers were implemented but were only accessible to static clients. With the growing number of IT and virtual assistance reliance, cloud computing has realized millions of clients in need of various services from the cloud.
Benefits and Risks of Cloud Computing
Cloud-based computing has numerous benefits to the current digitized world. Mainly, this model supports advanced technologies that are being developed daily, making it reliable, flexible, and easy to use (Sharma et al. 53). These techniques include: Virtualization, Grid computing, utility computing, and Service-oriented Architecture (SOA). Virtualization technique allows the sharing of resources amongst multiple firms or consumers where a logical term is assigned, and a pointer is provided to the named physical resource when required. In grid computing, a number of computers are connected from numerous locations in order to achieve a common goal. The SOA also aids in the employment of applications as a service to others despite the product, vendor or technological type.
Lastly is utility computing, which is entirely based on a pay-per-use paradigm. It readily offers computing resources on-demand making all the above paradigms based on it as a concept. Cloud computing has made it easier and much faster for many consumers to access information, socialize, and also in education where most students research and are also virtually taught. There has been much effective as cloud computing was broken down too much easier platforms and gadgets like Mobile intelligent phones which are rich in internet and media experience (Sharma et al. 53). Smartphones also require minimal power usage and even less processing. Here data processing and storage are entirely done in the cloud, and the devices serve as a mode of display.
Although the cloud computing paradigm has borne fruits to many users, hence attracting more consumers, there have been numerous security concerns raised about the safety and privacy of information flying out on the internet. This is due to the malicious activities that are done across the internet globally, especially on the upsurge of hundreds of social media platforms, applications, and social sites (Birje et al. 33). When using cloud computing services, one’s personal data is entrusted to a third- party for security and storage. Here the question that a user should ask him/herself is if the cloud-based company will genuinely protect uploaded content or data (Birje et al. 38). These challenges have made it be still considered as an emerging technology between the Small Market Enterprises (SMEs). The threats facing cloud computing from the technical part include:
- Insecure application programming interfaces (APIs) management – this threat involves cybercriminals and other malicious people exploiting vulnerabilities in client documentation and interfaces with the cloud. If found, cybercriminals may leverage such weak links to find ways of perpetrating malicious attacks against an organization and exfiltration sensitive data from their cloud environment. They can utilize the user’s assets to launch further attacks against other users and customers in the cloud environment.
- Data in transit interception- this is when a failure in broadcast security leads to information sniffing; hence date statistics being transferred to and from the cloud is compromised.
- Data leaks- information between customers and cloud service providers is intentionally leaked when symptoms of dire issues of disconnects during online sessions are depicted.
- Hijacking accounts – some people use extremely weak password security, including using the same credential several times or on several sites. Such practices heightened the risk of security threats such as data breaches and phishing attacks because one stolen password may be leveraged to gain unauthorized entry into multiple different accounts (Sharma et al. 55). For example, a breach of one staff member’s login details can enable cybercriminals to take full control of the account and utilize the credentials to access sensitive data or critical functions of the organization’s or its customers. This threat is exacerbated by failure by to implement regular security threat assessments to identity potential weakness and address them timely and effectively.
- Denial of Service (DoS) describes attacks aimed to compromising a network or the whole system, thus blocking legitimate users from accessing it. Attackers may flood the particular network or system with high traffic or sending unsafe data that may crash the target.
- There are also other threats that cloud computing assets face during processing, such as isolation failure, insecure deletion of information, growing conflicts between handling customers and the service provider staff in the computing space, malicious cloud providers, and resource exhaustion.
Cloud computing is basically at its initial stages, and it seems not all security standards have been completely set. The online layer to cloud computing faces numerous attacks like false news, collection of information, utilization, and DDOS. Due to its unique characteristics of enormous user data resources, byzantine management, and high levels of centralization, hackers find it as an easier target to attack cloud services through vulnerable users leading to more damages and losses compared to the traditional net application environments. Priority access control also makes the users’ security data security confidentiality unguaranteed since cloud service personnel and administration is allowed to access user data hence possible leakages (Bounagui et al. 99). Employment of the Secure Socket Layer(SSL) encryption model in the provision of security to online communication has tried to help in protecting most cloud service users, but with more studies being researched, SSL will also soon be vulnerable to hackers hence another threat to cloud computing security.
Security of user’s data in the computing clouds is also not guaranteed where Data backup, location, and separation are also facing numerous problems. When the cloud servicing team fails to backup data due to server problems or deletion of data accidentally by customers, here very essential information will be lost and never be recovered (Birje et al. 37). Users of cloud tech services are always not always aware of the location where their uploaded data is stored, and in cases, there is a need for data investigation by states owning these computing services. Due to differing policies, cloud service providers will be forced to submit information hence unable to provide security to customer data. The major concern here is reduced data efficiency due to failed decryption, where encryption fails due to sharing of huge of amounts of information in the same cloud environment. Cloud service providers have a tendency to re-using the IP address, making it easier for customers to use and unsuspectingly sharing the same IP address hence data abuse and security damage.
The current security problems associated with cloud computing systems can be tackled and improved systematically, and in the coming years, user data security will be a guarantee. There is a need to develop a cloud computing security structure. This structure or framework will comprehensively carry out research on critical technologies to cloud security. Cloud computing can highly expand its security apparatus by configuring a functional firewall. Bounagui et al. explain that this technique limits the usage of vulnerable ports (101). Web server group opens the two ports, 80 (HTTP port) and 443 (https port), to the entire globe whilst the App Server Group (ASG) only pens port 8000 (SASP) back to the web server group. The databank group also opens port 3306 (MySQL port) back to ASG. These three groups of network servers will then open the 22 (SSH port) that, by default, blocks any additional network connection, and this will significantly improve security.
As the SaaS Providers offer customers modules and complete applications in cloud computing, therefore it should warrant the security of different available programs. Implementation of the priority access control strategy to offer identified validation and easy access to control function, especially on username and password verification models (Sharma et al. 53). Cloud service providers will here be required to provide high strength, swift and timely change of passwords and sensitive degree of the passwords length base. Users can also try to prevent common network attacks by configuring a firewall, blocking unknown modus operandi, and closing down superfluous TCP/IP services (Bounagui et al. 98). The configured firewall will stop any online request. By regularly monitoring the TCP services, providers can be able to update and also make timely upgrades of software spots, and this will help curb the utilization attack.
IaaS is not readily observable to regular cloud customers and even to the management of the cloud computing paradigm. The cloud service providers should enlighten users on the cloud use policies and laws of the country where the servers are located to avoid conflicts of data safety and security. Separation of user data storage gradually reduces cases of data separation. As the paradigm lacks a joint secure standard verification system, a better institution is working on setting standards, where its complete framework requires reference criteria, function, and integrity. The model entirely depends on an improved joint cloud computing security standards and thus helps to tackle all arising security issues and problems in cloud computing.
In the recent past, cloud computing has rapidly grown and developed. It has helped transform the way in which most activities are done from the past slow and inefficient traditional methods to a well-digitized paradigm that makes cloud services to be swift, accurate, and reliable results always given. However, cloud computing technology still tends to face numerous challenges, especially in cloud service-user security matters. The security problems require serious attention that requires solving since cloud computing is globally relied on by millions of clients who use cloud services. As more users crowd for cloud services, mainly social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, snap chat and the rest are even more vulnerable to cyber-attack and cyber bullying and more security-related issues. The improvement of technology day in and out requires many more individuals, companies, and organizations to join hands, and together we can ensure comprehensive research on the cloud computing security issue. Being not only a technical problem, cloud computing security also involves laws and regulations, modes of supervision, standardization, and other numerous aspects. Once the security problems facing this computing paradigm are solved, here cloud computing will expand broadly and become widely used.
Birje, Mahantesh N., et al. “Cloud computing review: Concepts, technology, challenges and security.” International Journal of Cloud Computing, vol. 6, no.1, 2017, pp. 32-57. Web.
Bounagui, Yassine, et al. “Toward a unified framework for Cloud Computing governance: An approach for evaluating and integrating IT management and governance models.” Computer Standards & Interfaces, vol. 62, 2019, pp. 98-118. Web.
Sharma, Manju, et al. “Cloud computing risks and recommendations for security.” International Journal of Latest Research in Science and Technology, vo. 6, no.1, 2017, pp. 52-56.