Common Cloud Vulnerabilities: Understanding the Risks

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Kristen Lynch

Companies continue to create new software and apps or migrate existing ones to cloud-based services. However, a company that adopts cloud computing services without understanding the risks involved exposes itself to financial, commercial, technical, compliance, and legal risks. This article looks at the most common cloud vulnerabilities and how you can be prepared. 

What is Cloud Computing? 

Cloud computing is the on-demand delivery of computing services – including databases, storage, servers, analytics, and software – over the internet (cloud) with pay-as-you-go pricing. Instead of buying and maintaining servers and physical data centers, you can access these services from a cloud provider like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. In other words, cloud computing provides the flexibility, scalability, and speed that allow your company to innovate, develop and support IT solutions. 

Common Cloud Vulnerabilities 

1.   Insecure APIs 

An API is a software intermediary that allows two unrelated apps to communicate. For this software to securely transfer, they need access to sensitive data and software functions, which makes them prone to cyberattacks. One of the most effective ways to prevent user credentials from getting exposed is by using access tokens (it allows user information to be accessed by third parties). After users successfully validate their account, their access token can be used as a credential to perform the actions taken by the API. 

2.   Data breaches and leaks 

One of the most common cloud computing vulnerabilities is the potential for a data breach and leaks. Poor security measures allow hackers to access your data through cloud servers. A single data breach could cost a business thousands of dollars, alongside a blow to the company’s reputation. One of the ways to prevent this is to ensure your service provider complies with the guidelines, latest rules, regulations, and laws. Also, choose a provider with the services and tools required to secure your data. 

3.   Misconfigurations 

All corporate data (intellectual property, customer information, receipts, and employment contracts) are stored in the cloud. For this reason, the cloud is a goldmine for malicious actors. Reviewing your cloud security setting is essential to prevent data breaches and leaks. In addition, make sure your cloud storage buckets are always marked ‘Private.’ With that, only the people with permission can access your cloud storage. 

4.   Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) Attacks 

DDoS attacks are malicious efforts in which the attacker overwhelms a server with internet traffic to prevent legitimate users from accessing websites and connected online services. These attacks are now more common than ever before. To minimize the threat of DDoS attacks, choose a cloud service provider that protects against this type of attack. Also, ensure your DDoS protection is always turned on. 

5.   Insider Threats 

Insider threats occur when an unauthorized user gains access to some or all of your organization's cloud data and resources. There are a couple of ways that these unauthorized insiders can gain access to your account. For instance, they can access your cloud data through account hijacking due to weak credential security and successful phishing attack. (e.g., a password shared between several accounts). 

To prevent or minimize this threat, you must ensure that Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) is activated. You can also use automated tools to filter out phishing emails and educate your employees about these attacks. Finally, make sure you follow safe password practices. 


As your organization continues to embrace cloud computing, it is important to take proactive cybersecurity measures to ensure an efficient and successful move to the dynamic cloud environments. In this article, we have identified the most common cloud vulnerabilities that organizations face as they consider migrating their assets and data to the cloud and how to minimize the risk. 

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