What is Cloud Misconfiguration and How Can You Avoid It?
The increased usage of the cloud, intended to promote company agility and resilience, has recently increased cyber risks. It does not follow, however, that choosing to adopt cloud-based-hosted environments automatically increases an organization’s vulnerability to a cyberattack. Because specific security solutions aren’t designed to secure cloud-hosted environments, securing a cloud environment requires a different security strategy than securing on-premises infrastructures.
IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) solutions are becoming increasingly popular among businesses for their IT operations. According to Gartner, by 2022, double the number of corporate entities using cloud-managed products 2018 will be using them.
According to the NSA, cloud misconfiguration is the most significant vulnerability in a cloud security environment. Although these risks are frequently modest in sophistication, the occurrence of cloud misconfiguration problems is typically through the sky. In other words, 99% of businesses will have cloud misconfigurations that they are entirely unaware of.
What is Cloud Misconfiguration?
Any flaws, defects, or holes in your cloud setup that could put you in danger are called cloud misconfiguration. This cloud security risk may manifest as insider threats, cloud breaches, data breaches, insider threats, or bad external actors who use your network’s weaknesses to their advantage. This serious compliance risk might appear in a variety of ways, including:
- Granting public access to storage buckets;
- Unknowingly disclosing unencrypted data to the public internet without the necessary authentication in place;
- Improper network functionality generation;
- Exposing data saved in the cloud to all system users and storing encryption keys and passwords in publicly accessible repositories.
It can be either malicious or accidental.
- Malicious cloud misconfiguration is when someone deliberately sets up their cloud server to access someone else’s product or data. This is often done by hackers who want to steal information or even cause physical harm.
- Accidental cloud misconfiguration happens when a company puts its information on public clouds and does not secure it properly. This can happen because a company doesn’t understand its responsibilities in this respect or anticipate how much work would be required to ensure its data once it is moved into the cloud.
Leading Causes of Misconfigured Cloud Infrastructures
Most misconfigurations are caused by human error and elements like overly complicated infrastructure or inadequate knowledge of security procedures.
While it is difficult to know who is responsible for a breach, the most common culprits are malicious insiders who have gained access to user credentials and have tried to use them to launch attacks on the cloud environment. As a result, users are often forced to change their passwords or reset their accounts’ entire passwords.
Denial of Service Attacks (DoS)
A denial of service attack occurs when an attacker tries to overload a system with data requests so that it cannot service legitimate requests from users or other applications. This can result in lost productivity, disrupted operations, and an inability to process payments, which can cause financial losses for companies with cloud-based eCommerce platforms.
Overly Complex Infrastructure
Cloud infrastructure typically consists of multiple components such as servers, storage systems, networks, and firewalls that work together to provide cloud services across various geographic locations worldwide. IT professionals may become susceptible to attack by hackers or malware distributors seeking entry into company systems when these components are not correctly configured or managed by IT professionals.
An unauthorized individual can access your cloud infrastructure and wreak havoc on the AWS environment. In the case of a malicious actor, the consequences can be devastating to business operations, financial security, or even human lives.
Insufficient Understanding of Security
When creating and managing apps and infrastructure, the majority of developers and DevOps teams do not place a high priority on security. These teams primarily concentrate on ensuring that services perform properly and offer users functionality.
When selecting members for your development team, consider security. Ensure they comprehend crucial ideas like application hardening, least privilege, and encryption at rest.
How to Avoid Cloud Misconfiguration?
Here are some tips to avoid cloud misconfiguration:
Implement Log Tracking
The first step to avoiding cloud misconfiguration is to implement logging and monitoring. When a cloud service is misconfigured, it’s often difficult to identify what exactly went wrong. The best way to catch this type of issue is by using a detailed logging and monitoring system. You can determine the root cause of any misconfiguration incidents by tracking changes.
Add Layered Security
Layer testing is another way to prevent cloud misconfiguration issues. Layer testing involves placing multiple checks on your application before deploying it in production. For example, if you are deploying an application that requires authentication, you will use one layer of testing for authentication and another layer for authorization. This way, if something goes wrong during authentication, it does not affect approval.
Automate Configuration and Security Checks
Automation is an integral part of cloud security. A data breach can occur if the same settings are used in multiple environments. Automating the deployment of your infrastructure helps you eliminate this risk.
Simplify Your Environments
If you have multiple environments for your applications, then it’s essential to simplify them as much as possible. This is because every domain has different requirements and limitations. For example, if you have an internal production environment and an external staging environment, having two separate configurations will complicate things further down the line.
If you’re using cloud-based services, then they will require your information. So, ensure you have all the documentation ready before moving to the next step. This will help you in case of an issue with your service or a security breach.
Scan for Vulnerabilities
A scan will check whether your server has known security issues that could allow hackers to access it. If there are any vulnerabilities, ensure you fix them as soon as possible by following best practices such as patching software, updating third-party libraries, or installing anti-virus software on your server.
Adopt a DevSecOps Culture
The process of development and deployment has long neglected security. A DevSecOps culture is created by combining awareness and attention to growth, safety, and operations. This culture makes incorporating security as a crucial component of application design and development more accessible.
It helps to build security into your application’s framework to have competent security resources on your design and development teams. Avoiding issues in the first place will prevent the hassle of dealing with them afterward.
Misconfiguration issues are ultimately nothing new; they have moved to the cloud with the applications. Your organization’s ability to lower its cyber risk and the likelihood of being a victim of a cloud-misconfiguration-based breach will improve the more cloud security automation you can deploy in combination with human-backed services. Managing your security threats inside your expanding list of cloud services is crucial as cloud usage keeps accelerating. A significant data leak can result from a single configuration error.
An automated solution like Protected Harbor can help you reduce your attack surface and control third-party cloud exposures through real-time monitoring and optimized remediation workflows. We help businesses and enterprises protect their data and assets by offering cloud configuration solutions. We offer a full range of cloud services, including infrastructure, platform, and software solutions.
With a team of certified engineers and consultants, we help enterprises and businesses migrate, transform, and digitize their critical business processes. We work with our clients to understand their business requirements, design the best architecture, and execute the project with utmost care. We are a team of professionals who believe in integrity, honesty, and hard work.
With our solutions, you can focus on what matters most to your business. Contact us today to learn about cloud migration and configuration.