Threat Landscape in Cloud Environments

cloud computing cybersecurity risks

Cloud infrastructure is becoming more and more common as organizations see it as an increasingly flexible option to meet their needs. Many different providers have a myriad of solutions that can meet the needs of almost any company. Moving away from traditional on-premise networks also reduces the risk of many common attacks by threat actors to compromise a network. This is not to say that cloud networks are inherently secure, as they tend to introduce their own suite of vulnerabilities.

Advantages of Cloud Infrastructure

For many organizations, moving to a cloud or hybrid environment is a great decision. It can be surprisingly affordable, and the provided flexibility is extremely valuable. Many providers allow users to seamlessly manage and integrate many different aspects of their organization in much less time than doing it manually. It can also be straightforward for administrators to manage users and interactions between components through cloud networks, as it can often be more straightforward than management on on-premise networks.

Cloud networks also can allow employees to collaborate seamlessly in remote locations. Remote work has grown massively in recent years and likely will continue to grow. This adds more appeal to providing employees with the flexibility to work from anywhere. Even just adding some cloud components to existing infrastructure can be a good idea for many organizations. Hybrid cloud environments have many benefits of strictly cloud environments without the need to completely rebuild physical infrastructure.

Cloud and On-premise Security Considerations

Directory services are used by most organizations, with Microsoft’s Active Directory being by far the most common. Active Directory provides administrators with easy ways to provide access management and security for large organizations and quickly distribute these changes across large networks. Active Directory takes up a staggering percentage of the market share, with over 90% of Fortune 1000 companies using the access management tool.

When misconfigured, Active Directory is unfortunately prone to vulnerabilities. Even without exploiting software vulnerabilities, abuse of built-in tools can allow threat actors to compromise a network quickly. Great consideration needs to be taken when configuring Active Directory, or any other access management tool, to be sure that it is properly configured. Misconfigurations can be extremely costly and damaging for organizations in the event of a breach.

Cloud networks offer alternative solutions to on-premise networks and, as part of that, provide alternative security solutions. Unfortunately, this does not mean that they are inherently secure. Many similar problems faced in traditional networks remain present in cloud environments, and many new ones are introduced as well. Cloud market share is not as clearly monopolized as traditional access management systems, with Amazon’s AWS, Microsoft’s Azure, and Google’s Cloud each taking up a large portion of the market.

Each of these products has its benefits and drawbacks, and each introduces a new threat landscape. Attacks against Azure may be completely different than attacks against AWS despite them functionally operating similarly. Each cloud network will be unique and require a different set of skills to properly assess the security of the environment. Despite the differences, many general best practices can be applied universally.

When seeking initial access to any access management system, the most common attack will be social engineering. Training users on the importance of spotting these attacks will go a long way in preventing attackers from being able to get an initial foothold in the network. Weak credentials or breached credentials can be another extremely common attack angle.

These techniques can be done very similarly in cloud and on-premise environments. One attack with more variety will be attacking a network component, such as a poorly designed web server. If an attacker can compromise one of these in a cloud-joined network, they will be able to directly move to the cloud system with secrets stored on any joined component. It is crucial to regularly assess levels of access based on the assumption that a component may eventually get compromised and understand what could happen next.

Asses Cloud And On-premise Security With Blue Goat Cyber

Whatever your network may look like, we can help protect it against cyber criminals. Our team is highly experienced in defending both on-premise and cloud environments. We can help you identify the best security solutions for your organization. We understand that every network is unique, and solutions must be unique as well. Contact us to schedule a discovery session.

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