Cloud Security Risks Definition

KZero Staff
Jul 27, 2023

What are Cloud Security Risks?

Cloud adoption has grown rapidly in recent years. Cloud environments provide numerous advantages over on-prem data centers, including scalability, flexibility, and the potential for cost savings. As a result, companies are moving large volumes of data and applications to the cloud.

However, cloud environments also come with their security risks. Cloud-based data can be stolen or modified by an attacker, and cybercriminals can exploit vulnerabilities in cloud-hosted applications.

Cloud Security Risks

Cloud environments have great promise but also carry significant security risks. Some of the most common cloud security risks that companies face include the following:

  • Limited Visibilty: In the cloud, companies lack visibility and control over their underlying infrastructure. Additionally, many companies have complex, multi-cloud environments distributed over several provider’s platforms. This can make it difficult to maintain the visibility necessary to detect and remediate potential threats to cloud data and applications.
  • Data Breaches: Companies are storing large volumes of sensitive customer and company data in the cloud. If an attacker gains access to this data, they could steal it or corrupt it using ransomware or similar malware.
  • Unauthorized Access: Cloud services are publicly accessible via the Internet. Poor authentication and account security could allow an attacker to access a user’s account and take advantage of the access and permissions that they have in the corporate cloud environment.
  • Network Security: Cloud environments face the same network security risk as traditional, on-prem infrastructure. Data can be stolen via the network or an attacker can scan for vulnerabilities in an organization’s cloud-based applications and services.
  • Application and API Security: Cloud environments are commonly used to host applications, and application programming interfaces (APIs) are used to link cloud-based microservices together. These applications may contain vulnerabilities that can be exploited by an attacker.
  • Shadow IT: Cloud environments are designed to be easy to set up and use. This creates the risk that employees will create their own personal cloud environments outside the purview of IT and upload corporate data to these insecure environments.
  • Security Misconfigurations: Cloud environments have numerous configuration settings, and some of these can impact the security of a cloud environment. Security misconfigurations are a common cloud security error that leaves cloud-based data, applications, or accounts accessible to an attacker.
  • Compliance Challenges: Companies’ compliance responsibilities also extend to their cloud-based environments. Since cloud environments differ significantly from on-prem and cloud customers lack full control over their infrastructure stack, maintaining the necessary visibility
  • Insufficient Cloud Expertise: Cloud infrastructure differs from on-prem environments, and different providers’ environments require specialized knowledge and expertise. An organization may struggle to retain the specialized expertise necessary to effectively protect their cloud environments.


Companies are embracing complex, multi-cloud infrastructures because cloud environments — and different providers’ specific implementations — provide various benefits for the organization. However, these benefits also come with various security risks. As organizations increasingly rely on cloud infrastructure to host sensitive data and vital applications, they will also need cloud security programs capable of accurately identify and managing these cloud security risks.

KZero Staff

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