Why Misconfiguration Is Such a Big Deal to Cloud Security

Why Misconfiguration Is Such a Big Deal to Cloud Security

Misconfigurations in the cloud are defects waiting to happen. Attackers are constantly on the lookout for misconfigured assets, which may be used to acquire location data, financial information, passwords, health records, phone numbers, and other vulnerable personal data. The threat actors can then use this information for phishing and some other forms of social engineering attacks.

According to Statista, misconfiguration is known as the biggest security threat in public clouds with more than 4.3 billion breached records reported in 2019 compared to less than 50% in 2018. Three billion or more than 85% of the breaches were due to misconfigured cloud servers and other improperly designed systems.

This article provides informative insights on misconfiguration and its effect on cloud security. Continue reading to get more details.

What is Misconfiguration?

Misconfiguration is widely known as a failure to put restrictions effectively on a cloud-based service or system. It happens in a variety of ways when apps are spun up into the cloud and new services are activated. 

It also implies failure to configure systems from the start, leaving systems with default settings, or a failure to implement access controls and enforce the least privilege. Perhaps unauthorized changes were made in breach of the security policy. Or systems were left open to the internet, which is a typical flaw with object storage buckets.

Misconfiguration isn’t only a theoretical issue in cloud computing. According to research, 90% of firms had experienced IaaS security issues. As a result, getting the cloud migration configuration right will significantly reduce future IaaS security breaches and accelerate your digital transformation.

Misconfigurations Put Cloud Security at Risk

Misconfiguration may have disastrous consequences, with every data breach possibly providing a foothold into the cloud system. This can result in the collection of credentials, which are subsequently leaked or sold and used for credential stuffing attacks, which include the automated injection of username/password pairs into website log-ins. Or it can open the door to lateral attacks like ransomware or cryptojacking, in which cloud data are hacked and utilized to power crypto mining activities.

Misconfigurations happen for several reasons. One reason is a failure to change default settings, which are often too permissive. Another reason is configuration drift, which occurs when modifications to different components are done when necessary, without consistency in auditing to prevent discrepancies in cloud assets.

Steps for Minimizing Risk from Cloud Misconfigurations

Keeping track of configuration necessitates a multifaceted approach. Maintaining visibility of cloud assets is a priority, and to do so, you must assess or confirm if your Identity and Access Management (IAM) is fit for purpose and can rightly scale privileges to ensure the proper level of access is provided to cloud services.

Potential cloud misconfiguration vulnerabilities never get to sleeping mode. Cloud servers will always be accessible, both to legitimate users and to criminal attackers. Every new form of cloud deployment has the tendency to increase the attack on an organization.

The steps below can assist organizations in actively defending against attackers looking to take advantage of cloud misconfiguration:

  1. Allow admins to perform their specific tasks with the bare minimum of permissions for the necessary period.
  2. Ensure you develop the broad skills required to configure a great cloud environment. DevOps experience, internet protocol knowledge and networking, automation, security protocol knowledge, security engineering knowledge, and other skills are required for cloud security.
  3. Don’t rely solely on the monitoring solution provided by your cloud provider. Instead, utilize monitoring that can be applied to all of your hybrid and multi-cloud environments.
  4. Maintain visibility by monitoring things. For example, ensure that your chosen DevOps team has access to the entire stack. They don’t need admin access, just viewer or reader access to see what’s going on.
  5. Learn about the Shared Security Responsibility model and how to configure it. Do not trust your chosen cloud provider to protect your applications, data, and other assets.

Means to Safeguard Your Data from Cloud Misconfigurations

The professional tips below will assist you in configuring properly and maintaining your cloud security.

  • Create Policies and Templates

To enable future instances of a piece of cloud infrastructure or application to profit from prior experiences, IT leaders must propagate effective security settings into their environments’ base configuration settings.

  • Utilize Provider Tools

You must understand how much security responsibility you share with the cloud provider. With infrastructure-as-a-service clouds, the client has more responsibility, whereas the cloud service provider primarily handles SaaS offerings.

  • Conduct Risk Assessments

When migrating your data and operations to the cloud, cybersecurity risk assessments can assist you in identifying potential threats in your cloud storage and other infrastructure components.

Protect Yourself from Cloud Misconfigurations

Learning about and avoiding different misconfigurations in cloud migration will help you identify and eliminate major security problems. However, it is very difficult to eliminate cloud security vulnerabilities. This is one of the main reasons why network traffic monitoring is important.

Above all, bear in mind that configuring the settings in complex and hybrid cloud environments is a process, not a conclusion.

If you need more help with solving misconfigurations, contact us today.