Cloud Storage - Potential Concerns - Attack Surface Area

Attack Surface Area

Outsourcing data storage increases the attack surface area. The article referenced does not mention storage, but refers generically to cloud computing.

  1. When data is distributed it is stored at more locations increasing the risk of unauthorised physical access to the data. For example, in cloud based architecture, data is replicated and moved frequently so the risk of unauthorised data recovery increases dramatically. (e.g. disposal of old equipment, reuse of drives, reallocation of storage space) The manner that data is replicated depends on the service level a customer chooses and on the service provided. Different cloud vendors offer different service levels. Risk of unauthorized access to data can be mitigated through the use of encryption, which can be applied to data as part of the storage service or by on-premises equipment that encrypts data prior to uploading it to the cloud.
  2. The number of people with access to the data who could be compromised (i.e. bribed, or coerced) increases dramatically. A single company might have a small team of administrators, network engineers and technicians, but a cloud storage company will have many customers and thousands of servers and therefore a much larger team of technical staff with physical and electronic access to almost all of the data at the entire facility or perhaps the entire company. Encryption keys that are kept by the service user, as opposed to the service provider limit the access to data by service provider employees.
  3. It increases the number of networks over which the data travels. Instead of just a local area network (LAN) or storage area network (SAN), data stored on a cloud requires a WAN (wide area network) to connect them both.
  4. By sharing storage and networks with many other users/customers it is possible for other customers to access your data. Sometimes because of human error, faulty equipment, a bug and sometimes because of criminal intent. This risk applies to all types of storage and not only cloud storage. The risk of having data read during transmission can be mitigated through encryption technology. Encryption in transit protects data as it is being transmitted to and from the cloud service. Encryption at rest protects data that is stored at the service provider. Encrypting data in an on-premises cloud service on-ramp system can provide both kinds of encryption protection.

Read more about this topic:  Cloud Storage, Potential Concerns

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