Cloud Security Threats that will Trend in 2019 and How to Avoid Them

by December 21, 2018

One of the business highs of 2018 has been the movement of critical workloads to the cloud. As the market is buzz with providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform vying for market share, this is only the beginning of an exciting new future. According to a Tuesday report from Palo Alto Networks Unit 42 threat research team, even as technology advances, many businesses still remain unclear on which parties are responsible for which elements of cloud security.

The Shared Responsibility Model of cloud security explains that cloud service providers are responsible to secure and protect the infrastructure which forms the backbone of all the services that are offered in the cloud. Monitoring risky configurations, anomalous user activities, suspicious network traffic, and host vulnerabilities is the responsibility of the cloud customer.

There have been multiple high-profile security breaches in 2018 which have involved public cloud environments. Here are the key cloud security trends businesses must pay attention in 2019 to keep their workloads and data safe:


1. Account Compromises will Increase

In a recent research release, around 29% of organizations have potential cloud account compromises. Security threats include growing credential compromises, making organisations enforce strong governance and full proof policies. 2019 will see enterprises implement strict monitoring to detect and respond to suspicious user activities.


2. Cloud Attacks on Crypto-currency will Drop

The dropping value of cryptocurrencies around the world along with improved detection capabilities has led to fewer cryptojacking attacks in the cloud. Industry estimates point that only 11% of organizations under study have found cryptojacking activity within their public cloud environments. This leaves enterprises to get ahead and implement necessary protections before the next wave of attacks in the new-year.


3. Ongoing Compliance

Nearly one third (32%) of organizations surveyed are publicly exposed at least one cloud storage service which is the root cause of many high-profile breaches. To address this problem organizations are beginning to implement protections, but there is still a long way to go to reach at comprehensive compliance and governance across public cloud environments.


4. Vulnerability Management will continue

Organizations that have moved their workloads to the public cloud have are at an upper edge over their on-premises peers when it comes to vulnerability management. Hosting their workloads in the cloud enables them to access regular infrastructure updates by service providers.


5. Insider Attacks

As information moves to the cloud, data breaches remain a concern primarily due to the insider misuse or human mistakes. 2019 may be the year of insider attacks as these breaches clearly demonstrate that building even the most robust external defense is insufficient, as employees and contractors possibly pose an even bigger threat to cybersecurity than professional hackers do.


 6. Advanced Analytics for Better Cloud Security

Many enterprises have been using multiple security products such as data loss prevention (DLP) tools, security information and event management (SIEMs) antivirus software which generates humongous data. To gain an insider edge, organizations need advanced analytics tools that can process data from multiple sources and flag threats to sensitive data. The growing adoption of technologies such as User and Entity Behaviour Analytics (UEBA) will empower organizations to establish stricter control over their IT infrastructures even before any data breaches occur.


7. Shared Technology Vulnerability

When the technology is on the cloud, enterprise security is often compromised by cloud models like a Software-As-A-Service model. These cloud models make cloud service providers provide service scalability, without altering existing software much. These infrastructural components supporting cloud services are not essentially designed for actual use cases in multi-customer application or multi-tenant architecture environments. This often results in shared-technology-vulnerability that can be well exploited by all cloud-based models.


8. Ransomware Attacks

In the new year and the years to come, cyber criminals will move towards less traditional, more profitable ransomware targets like connected devices, businesses and HNI individuals. Cybersecurity firm McAfee points that organisation must upscale their machine judgment and the speed of orchestrated responses with human strategic intellect to help them understand and anticipate cyber-attack patterns. In 2019, Ransomware technologies will be deployed to tackle cyber sabotage and disruption of organisations, even as business rivals seek to inflict greater damage.

As technology moves to the cloud, business and individuals must keep their eyes and ears open for security breaches and start their preparations to tackle them.