Cloud Data Security – What are the Challenges & Best Practices?

Written By Sambita Panigrahy  
Anuraag Singh
Approved By Anuraag Singh 
Published On November 14th, 2023
Reading Time 10 Minutes Reading

Modern businesses are increasingly moving to cloud-based systems using IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS computing models. Enterprises may face a variety of difficulties when properly resourcing their departments due to the dynamic nature of infrastructure management, particularly when increasing applications and services. 

But the question is;

Is the Cloud Secure?

Theoretically, as long as the organization has developed a detailed, effective cybersecurity plan that is specially created to guard against risks and threats in a cloud environment, the cloud is no more or less secure than a physical server or data center.

And therein is the issue: A lot of businesses might not be aware that their current security plan and outdated tools, such as firewalls, do not safeguard assets stored on the cloud. To satisfy the security demands of this new environment, enterprises must fundamentally reevaluate and modernize their security posture.

Another common misunderstanding regarding the cloud is that it handles all security tasks, including data protection. In actuality, cloud security adheres to what is known as the shared

Hence, Understanding the security standards for keeping data safe has become essential as businesses continue to shift to the cloud. So, without further ado, let’s understand cloud data security, the challenges, and some best practices to avoid it.

What is Cloud Data Security?

The technology, policies, services, and security measures that guard against loss, leakage, or misuse of any form of data stored in the cloud via breaches, exfiltration, and unauthorized access are referred to as cloud data security. A strong plan for cloud data security should include:

  • Ensuring data privacy and security within applications, containers, workloads, and other cloud environments as well as across networks.
  • Limiting user, device, and program access to data
  • Delivering full transparency into all data on the network

All sorts of data must be protected by the cloud data protection and security plan. This comprises,

  • Data in use: Using user authentication and access control, secure data that an application or endpoint is using.
  • Sensitive, confidential, or proprietary data is transmitted securely over the network using encryption and/or other email and message security measures.
  • Finished data: enforcing access controls and user authentication to protect data stored on any network location, including the cloud

Why Do Organizations Need Cloud Security?

There is no question that using the cloud instead of more established on-premise solutions has the potential to increase security. The word “potential” is crucial here. Businesses may not always benefit from increased protection when they switch to the cloud, although it can be more secure.

This is more about how corporations and organizations approach security, administration, and supervision than it is about the cloud. In other words, it matters how you use the cloud. You won’t be protected from the risks that exist in the cyber domain by the infrastructure alone.

The average cost of a data breach in the modern period is $3.86 million, or $148 per compromised record. And that is a recognized global figure. If a company responds to a breach in fewer than 30 days, guess what happens? They normally reserve around $1 million. Additionally, if the threat is entirely eliminated, it will save the company millions of dollars in expenses.

These data points suggest that cloud security isn’t as resource- and money-intensive as it originally appears. It’s an investment with a phenomenal return on investment.

Now, let’s discuss some issues related to cloud security.

Main Cloud Data Security Challenges

Almost every enterprise has incorporated cloud computing into its operations. However, due to this use of the cloud, the organization’s cloud security plan needs to be ready to defend against the top cloud security threats.

1. Data Breach

Nothing causes more anxiety than a data breach. Every organization is concentrating on it. Few, though, have the tools and plans in place to deal with it in a worthy manner. This elevates it to a serious issue (and something that has to be dealt with in a proactive and preventative way).

Without adequate data management (via intentional encryption), your company faces significant compliance concerns, not to mention severe consumer trust violations, data breach penalties, and financial penalties. It is your responsibility to protect the data of your customers and employees regardless of what any Service-Level Agreement (SLA) says.

2. Adherence to Regulatory Requirements

It’s usual for businesses, especially smaller and mid-sized ones, to believe that partnering with a cloud solutions provider can ensure their greatest level of security. The situation is more complex than it first appears.

Compliance extends beyond laws at the national and international levels. Other industry requirements must also be fulfilled. Examples include but are not limited to, EU data protection, PCI DSS, FISMA, GLBA, HIPAA, and FERPA.

The appropriate cloud security solutions give users the technical ability to comply with legal requirements, but constant monitoring and minute attention to detail is still required. According to the accountability paradigm, the cloud provider supplies cloud security, whilst the end user manages cloud security.

3. Insufficient IT knowledge

34 percent of businesses are now avoiding the cloud because they don’t think their IT and business managers have the skills necessary to handle the demands of cloud computing, according to the Cloud Security Alliance’s “Cloud Adoption Practices & Priorities Survey Report.” This places it among the top four business worries about cloud security.

Currently, the average corporation has three to four clouds. This adds new levels of complexity that need technical expertise and pertinent experience.

This points to a wider trend that we may anticipate developing over the ensuing months and years. IT and business managers will need to have technical cloud expertise in addition to managerial experience and financial awareness. They won’t need to be cloud experts, but a fundamental awareness of the topic and the capacity to drive focused projects become crucial.

4. Problems with Cloud Migration

Cloud migration is widespread, but it must be managed carefully (otherwise, it exposes the business to unnecessary risk). According to one study, the four top issues firms face are compliance (38 percent), defining security rules (35 percent), visibility into infrastructure security (43 percent), and security not keeping up with the rate of change in applications (35 percent). As a result, IT and security experts are feeling overworked by all the demands placed upon them.

5. Unprotected APIs

Since there are so many potential points of entry for attackers, the cloud presents a challenge. While being smaller overall, the attack surface area is therefore much more distributed. This is perhaps best illustrated by the growing popularity of serverless operations and micro-service architecture.

Although APIs are great, you must consider how they impact the system as a whole. Even though the cloud is secure (theoretically), hackers can steal data by breaking into less secure APIs. This is not good! You can thoroughly examine each application to guard against flaws like this with the help of the right cloud security solutions.

6. Internal Threats

Trusting your personnel is a wise business move. Regrettably, a lot of companies abuse this trust by failing to thoroughly examine its foundational elements of it upfront.

Insider risks account for an astounding 43% of all breaches, according to research from Intel. Half are unintentional, and the other half is.

Businesses should concentrate on access control and controlling who has access to what and when. Applications and data sources in the cloud should be accessible as needed. Nobody should have access beyond what is required to carry out their job-related duties.

7. Free Software

Use of open source in application development. Open-source software packages are weak. The majority of the time, hackers contaminate the Git repository while they wait for developers to use the packages in order to eventually breach the application via a well-planned attack vector.

Top 5 Cloud Data Security Best Practices

Organizations must implement a thorough cybersecurity plan that tackles cloud-specific data vulnerabilities if they want to guarantee the security of their data.

Strong cloud data security measures should include the following:

1. Use Capabilities for Enhanced Encryption.

Encrypting data is one practical method of data security. Before entering the cloud, cloud encryption converts data from plain text into an unintelligible format. Encryption of data is required both in transit and at rest.

Cloud service providers offer a variety of out-of-the-box encryption options for data saved in block and object storage systems. Connections to cloud storage services should be done utilizing encrypted HTTPS/TLS connections to safeguard the security of data in transit.

Cloud computing platforms use platform-managed encryption keys to encrypt data by default. Customers can, however, increase their level of control by bringing their keys and using cloud-based encryption key management services to manage them centrally. The implementation of native hardware security module (HSM)-enabled key management services or even third-party services for data encryption key protection is an option for enterprises with stronger security standards and compliance needs.

2. Use a Tool for Data Loss Prevention (DLP).

A company’s comprehensive security plan should include data loss prevention (DLP), which focuses on identifying and preventing data loss, leakage, or abuse due to breaches, exfiltration, and unauthorized access.

3. Make Private, Hybrid, and Multi-Cloud Environments Visible in a Single Manner.

A cloud security solution must provide unified multi-cloud discovery and visibility, as well as ongoing intelligent monitoring of all cloud resources. This unified visibility must be capable of identifying configuration errors, security flaws, and risks to data security while offering useful information and guiding remediation.

4. Maintain Governance and Security Posture.

Having the right security policy and governance in place that enforces golden cloud security standards while adhering to industry and governmental requirements throughout the entire infrastructure is another essential component of data security. To eliminate blind spots and guarantee compliance across clouds, applications, and workloads, a cloud security posture management (CSPM) solution that recognizes and stops misconfigurations and controls plane threats is crucial.

5. Turn On Workload Protection in the Cloud.

The attack surface exponentially expands as a result of cloud workloads. To protect workloads, you need to be aware of each workload and container event, secure the complete cloud-native stack across all workloads, containers, Kubernetes, and serverless apps, and do this on any cloud. Cloud workload protection (CWP) enables businesses to create, manage, and secure cloud applications from the development stage to the production stage by incorporating vulnerability scanning, breach protection, and breach management for workloads such as containers, Kubernetes, and serverless functions.


Q- What is cloud data security?

Data protection in cloud computing environments is referred to as cloud data security. Ensuring data protection in the cloud entails putting policies and procedures in place to protect information against loss, theft, and other security risks.

Q- What are the main concerns of cloud security?

Cloud data security is primarily concerned with data breaches, data loss, unauthorized access, encryption, and the security of the cloud infrastructure itself. Another concern is compliance with data protection rules.

Q- What does encryption mean in cloud security?

Data is encoded through the process of encryption so that only authorized persons with the right decryption keys can read or decode it. Encrypting data while it’s in transit and at rest is a basic component of cloud data security.

Q- Why is multi-factor authentication (MFA) crucial for cloud data security, and what does it entail?

In order to access cloud accounts, users must give two or more distinct authentication factors (such as a password, fingerprint, or SMS code) using multi-factor authentication (MFA). MFA increases security by increasing the difficulty of unauthorized users gaining access.

Q- What does cloud security’s Shared Responsibility Model entail?

The distribution of security duties between cloud service providers (CSPs) and their clients is outlined in the Shared Responsibility Model. Customers are in charge of protecting their data and apps on the cloud, while CSPs are in charge of protecting the cloud’s infrastructure.