8 Major Cloud Security Metrics to Monitor Data Theft Risks

Debasish Pramanik Cloud Security Expert - CloudCodes Software
  • June 30th, 2021

The Need for Cloud Computing Security Metrics

The advent and implementation of cloud computing and storage mean that third-party data centers provide organizations with the capability to store and process their data. These cloud services can be used in a wide range of service models like an increase in the cloud security metrics and reduction of risks, and chief among them is the deployment in SaaS and private/shared models.

Chief Cloud Security Concerns

Cloud security concerns associated with cloud infrastructures fall mainly into the below mentioned two broad categories, as follows:

  1. First is the interest in the security issues that the cloud providers face (organizations providing SaaS through the cloud)
  2. Second, are the concerns faced by their customers (who are the organizations storing and hosting data on the cloud)

Cloud Security Metrics Trends

The responsibility of ensuring complete cloud security is shared. The provider has to be concerned with the infrastructure and see to it that the client’s data and applications are protected. The onus equally lies on the customers also who have to fortify their claims with the use of adequate authentication measures and secure passwords. When an entity decides to have its data stored on the cloud, then its physical access to the servers hosting the information is lost. It gives rise to the risk of intercepted data from insider attacks.

What Must Cloud Service Providers Do?

It is a matter of grave concern that insider attacks take the sixth position among the cloud security threats, and this cannot be ignored. It can be dealt with in several ways.

Firstly, a thorough background check of the employees having physical access to the data servers must be initiated by the cloud service providers. Also, any suspicious activity should be immediately reported to the concerned authorities in the data centers. 

Cloud service providers store a lot of customers’ data on the same server, and this is done to cut down on costs, maintain efficiency and conserve resources. It results in a possibility that others can view one user’s sensitive data, and it is easy prey for the competitors. This situation can be best avoided by ensuring data isolation and logical storage segregation.

8 Key Cloud Security Metrics 

It is evident that organizations use multiple and varied cloud applications on a routine basis, and close monitoring of these is necessary. Here below, we have enlisted eight key cloud security metrics to ensure that proper tracking is in place for the use of cloud applications (SaaS):

1. Cloud Apps in High-Risk Zones:

Risk classification parameters can be used to identify high-risk cloud applications. Some of the examples of the settings include segregating apps hosted outside the EU or without a privacy policy.

2. Unauthorized Cloud Apps:

In an organization, the other departments purchase or download cloud services on their own without informing the IT department resulting in Shadow IT posing data security risks. This ratio of authorized/unauthorized cloud apps in use has to be considered and worked.

3. Redundant Cloud Apps:

The number of unnecessary or duplicate cloud applications has to be checked based on use case and application discovery. For example, all the cloud-based file storage can be consolidated to one app like Google Drive or Dropbox.

4. Exposing Sensitive Information:

There has to be a metric to know the files that are being accessed by unauthorized users through the internet or on-premises intranet.

5. Collaborations by External People:

It is a must that organizations have a count and details about the outside people who are collaborating on files that contain crucial data either hosted within or outside the domain.

6. Cloud Services Accessing Sensitive Information and Data:

Organizations should be aware of the number of cloud services that hold their sensitive data.

7. Cloud Services as Per Their Categories:

Organizations need to keep a count of cloud services used in various categories like file sharing, social media, etc.

8. Violations of Cloud Policies:

Policy violations and exceptions need to be closely monitored like, for instance, unmanaged devices having access to sensitive data or unmanaged cloud apps which are not tracked.

CASB as Your Security Arm

Cloud security solutions provided by Cloud Security Access Brokers (CASB) can be deployed to automate the above talked about measurements and to generate reports for the above-given cloud security metrics in an effective way.