Over the past five years, much of the data that companies work with daily has been moved to the cloud. The cloud allows the flexibility of anywhere access to business apps and data. It has also been a necessity for keeping most businesses operating during the pandemic and circuit breaker periods.

However, as more work has moved to cloud platforms, hackers have redoubled their efforts to breach cloud accounts. Over the last 18 months, 79% of surveyed global companies have experienced a cloud data breach. When a hacker breaks into a company’s cloud account, it’s called Cloud Jacking.  Cloud Jacking can result in any number of costly security incidents for a business. Small businesses are especially susceptible because they tend to have less cloud security than larger enterprise organizations. 

What happens if your Microsoft 365, Salesforce, QuickBooks Online, or other cloud account is hijacked?

  • Attackers can access sensitive files in cloud storage
  • Ransomware can be released
  • Hackers can send phishing and spam from your email accounts
  • Email forwards can be put in without your knowledge
  • Your data can be deleted
  • Hackers can create new users or lock your own users out of the system

Here are some of the reasons that you need to be worried about Cloud Jacking.

Cloud Attacks are Getting Worse

Of that 79% of companies that experienced a cloud account breach in the last 18 months, 43% of them said they had 10 or more account compromises. It’s only logical that hackers would move their attacks to follow where companies are now basing their workflows. Less data is being stored in on-premises servers, and more is being stored in cloud accounts, thus cloud attacks are the main priority for online criminal groups.

Misconfiguration Errors are Rampant

Users don’t understand how to configure the security of their cloud applications, which results in those accounts being breached. According to Trend Micro, between 65%-70% of all cloud account data breaches are caused by misconfiguration.  Misconfiguration doesn’t only mean setting a security feature at the wrong level, it also includes not properly configuring security in an app like Microsoft 365 and just leaving it at default settings. This can lead to hackers taking advantage of vulnerabilities that could’ve been avoided if only a security setting had been adjusted properly. 

Remote Employees Increase Risk of a Cloud Breach

As of August 2020, 20% of companies had experienced a security breach due to a remote worker. That number has surely grown and will continue to be a concern because many businesses plan to continue allowing employees to work remotely at least part-time. When you have a remote or hybrid (remote/office) team, nearly all their work is done in the cloud. Employees can also be logging in from unsecured Wi-Fi, further putting your cloud accounts at risk.

Even Large Organisations Make Security Mistakes

You may have heard about the ransomware attack that happened in the United States in May to Colonial Pipeline. This ended up being a global news story because it highlighted just how far-reaching a cybersecurity incident could be.  This incident impacted energy supply across the U.S. East Coast, causing a major petroleum pipeline to shut down for nearly a week. The cause of that major breach was Cloud Jacking. The hackers broke into the company systems using a neglected VPN account that no one was using and that wasn’t protected with two-factor authentication.  Even large organizations can make simple cloud security mistakes, meaning anyone can make them.

Tips for Securing Your Cloud Accounts

Use Multi-Factor Authentication on All Cloud Accounts

You drastically reduce your risk of a cloud breach by enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA). The need to add a code sent to a user device is often all it takes to block a hacker with a user password from accessing a company account. Single sign-on (SSO) solutions can be used with MFA to reduce the time it takes employees to sign in to their apps.

Subscribe to Managed Cloud Services

You can mitigate the risk of misconfiguration by signing up for managed cloud services. Just like managed IT services, the managed cloud provides a watchful eye across your technology environment.  This includes ensuring you have the right security configurations in all your cloud platforms, that you are using consistent cloud security policies across desktop and mobile, and providing continuous security monitoring.

Back-Up Your Cloud Platforms

Cloud storage can be infected with ransomware just like on-premises servers can. It’s important to have a full cloud backup of all your cloud platforms (Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, etc.) in a backup and recovery tool designed to back up Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms.

Create a Cloud App Use Policy

Cloud account breaches can happen when employees begin using a cloud app for business data outside the normal cloud environment. This is called shadow IT, and it can be done innocently enough because employees are looking for better ways to do their work. But, if companies aren’t aware employees are using different cloud apps for work than they have approved, those apps can be left misconfigured and be vulnerable to a breach. It’s important to have a cloud use policy so employees know that they can only use approved business apps and also know the procedure for suggesting apps they would like to use.

Keep Your Cloud Accounts Secure from Cloud Jacking

Managed IT Asia can help your Singapore business ensure you have a secure and productive cloud environment. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation. Call +65 6748 8776 or reach us online.  

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    MANAGED IT ASIA, we are an IT Support, IT Solutioning and Managed IT Service Provider specializing in serving Small Businesses across Asia. Call us at +65 6748 8776 and let us manage your Small Business IT today!