Research Paper: Cloud Computing Several Organizations

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Cloud Computing

Several organizations are gradually integrating cloud computing techniques in their operations to help improve data security, increase information availability, integrity and privacy. In addition, these institutions have initiated cloud computing to increase functionality, lower cost, and enhance convenience of their services to users. Despite the numerous benefits of cloud computing, equipment failures and constant human faults have necessitated the provision of adequate information security by most organizations. In this regard, this paper looks at cloud computing assets of value, vulnerabilities, threats, the impacts of these threats and recommendations given to help reduce the outcomes of these challenges.

Introduction

Currently, cloud computing is incorporated in several technological spheres and given the extensive use of this system, safeguarding stored private and public data assets against potential data thefts and breaches is necessary. In line with this, data handling agencies are determined to initiate information security systems capable of withstanding data threats and attacks.

Assets of Value

In cloud computing, assets of value are the stored, processed and transmitted sensitive information. Cloud computing platforms support several assets with a greater percentage being valued assets such as government data, computer applications and the cloud computing associated infrastructures (Mell & Grance, 2011). In the cloud setting, data and applications are safely stored in different locations including the organizations' data centers with some outsourced via trusted platforms as services.

Since the RFID supports highly sensitive information about individuals, data confidentiality is given an upper-hand by most organizations. As is the case with some institutions such as the military, highly valued cloud computing assets include details of planned warfare, war equipment, as well as documents pertaining overseas and national military missions. In an example, the Defense Department is currently securing sensitive information following the leakage of high-profile security documents like the WikiLeaks saga. This chronicle tarnished the military's image thus; the Department of Defense is reinforcing its information assurance practices to avoid the recurrence of such occurrences (Jansen & Grance, 2011). For medical and education institutions, assets of value are citizens' personal information such as social security numbers as well as medical history among others.

However, mishandling of information results in disclosures of several vital documents thus; data handlers are working hard to ensure stringent security assessments are followed to make information more secure. Alternatively, since the cloud contains sensitive government information, confidentiality should be given high priority than other factors (Vivek, 2011). Therefore, guaranteeing that medical as well as government information remains unchanged leads to higher data integrity. In addition, ensuring that essential and important information is available to authorized groups of individuals increases the cloud's data availability. Besides, given the high levels of data insecurity, information stored in the cloud should be accessible to authorized individuals, a factor likely to increase information confidentiality and security.

System Vulnerabilities

The constant data violation activities have increased information vulnerability a great deal than before. The cloud computing vulnerabilities include people, operations and technology vulnerabilities among other unexpected security vulnerabilities (Cattedu & Hobben, 2009). Therefore, since the cloud is a haven for storing classified documents, identifying system vulnerabilities assists data handlers conceal weak points in the system.

The first vulnerability is weak data encryption; a technological weakness. This vulnerability leads to unauthorized access to the stored files resulting in data infringement and theft. Given the accessibility of cloud services via untrusted networks such as the Internet, individuals are able to gain unlimited access to stored information. This vulnerability allows for man-in-the-middle attacks and should be constantly monitored.

The subsequent cloud flaw is the inability to easily adopt security metrics. Most cloud computing platforms have lack or have sub-standard cloud-specific security metrics users can use in monitoring their cloud resources. As a technological vulnerability, it results in identity theft requiring immediate solution to minimize chances of data security breaches.

The last cloud computing susceptibility is poor training of authorized users; an example of people vulnerability. Poorly trained users lack the technical know-how in handling cloud portals and may be victims of imminent security breaches.

Threats

The first threat to the cloud computing structure is identity theft. This threat occurs as a result of poor training of users as well as lack of strong information encryption measures. This threat ultimately exploits the vulnerability, poor users training resulting in data pilferages thereby leading to loss of information confidentiality. In line with this, identity thieves exploit the technological vulnerability, weak encryption of the cloud resulting in information damage and infringement which greatly affects data integrity (Winkler, 2011). In addition, identity thieves have the tendency of stealing stored information or disarranging them given the low system encryption ultimately bringing about reduced data accessibility as well as availability. By abusing anonymity due to poor security measures, data thieves are able to conduct their activities without notice a factor undermining data confidentiality and integrity.

The subsequent cloud computing threat is rampant misuse of cloud resources. According to Duvall (2010 ), infrastructure-as-a-service providers have weak system controls; technological vulnerability regarding individuals liable to use cloud services and always offer free unlimited cloud resources (Duvall, 2010 ). As a result of this, cyberpunks and spammers exploit this vulnerability by disclosing sensitive information which greatly undermines data integrity. In addition, these individuals are able to further encrypt the stored information making it inaccessible thus reducing data availability as well as accessibility. Besides, some cloud providers allow viruses, Trojans and add-ons as well to run in the cloud platforms; a situation exposing organizations' information to security issues related to confidentiality, availability as well as integrity.

The succeeding threat is malicious insiders' activities. Insiders with ill-meaning intentions exploit people and technological vulnerabilities. The insiders have in-depth knowledge of all the stored and processed information regarding the organization and their activities seriously affect data confidentiality and integrity. Besides, given the low system security and insignificant user education levels, iniquitous insiders create opportunities for data thereby reducing integrity and confidentiality of data. In addition, malicious individuals are able to conduct data infringement activities due to insufficient authentication, audit controls and operational failures.

The final threat to cloud computing platforms is data loss and leakages. This threat is caused by both insiders and data hackers via exploitation of software vulnerabilities resulting in loss of data confidentiality and integrity. In this case, attackers gain access to important and classified information and manipulate data. Moreover, untrained users lacking the knowledge about data handling may unintentionally erase stored data, leading to data unavailability (Vivek, 2010). Therefore, erasure and alteration of data makes some data inaccessible and violates documents integrity in addition to availability. However, the threat of data loss and leakages remain imminent in the cloud infrastructure due to low security measures initiated and insignificant user training.

Impacts of the Threats

The evolving phases of hacking in the computing world has made RFID providers main targets due to the weak security systems facilitating user anonymity thus, exposing the organization to data related security issues such as availability and confidentiality. In addition, due to the several system vulnerabilities and threats in the RFID, the impacts encountered by users may be traumatizing and disheartening.

The foremost consequence of accidental or intentional leakages of sensitive information stored in the cloud may result to death of medical patients if a spammer changed their medical data (Amies, Harm, Qiang, & Liu, 2012). As an example, for a patient suffering from flu, attackers may change their status to suffering from serious infections like cognitive heart diseases; the medical practitioners reviewing this information may not be aware of the alteration and prescribe different medication to the patient the outcome being death of serious medical implications.

The other example is the recent leakage of high profile military files during the WikiLeaks saga. This occurrence made the public have real time access to military sensitive information such as details of planned warfare, war equipment and military missions. This chronicle greatly tarnished the military's image thus, reinforcing cloud security systems are essential to avoid the recurrence of such events.

Most malicious insiders have unlimited access to their organizations' stored data and are able to infiltrate into most information. In this regard, malicious individuals have the tendency of leaking important and secret information regarding the firms' performance (Phillips, 2007). As an example, individuals leaking information regarding dubious financial deals conducted by the chief executive officer may bring about brand damage, productivity loss as well as organizational dysfunction. In addition, such leakages result in lowered stakeholders morale and trust and moreover, loss of core intellectual property has financial implications and depending on the lost or leaked data, there might be compliance violations and legal ramifications.

Risk Levels

Identity theft always resulting due to technology and people vulnerabilities brings about intentional data pilferage and violations leading to loss of information confidentiality. Loss of information confidentiality is a high risk level occurrence since it directly impacts both data integrity and accessibility (Bernstein, Ludvigson, Sankar, Diamond, & Morrow, 2009). In addition, since data thieves hide behind poor system security, they are able to conduct their activities without notice a factor… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cloud Computing Several Organizations.  (2012, December 6).  Retrieved May 25, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/cloud-computing-several-organizations/1843395

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"Cloud Computing Several Organizations."  Essaytown.com.  December 6, 2012.  Accessed May 25, 2019.
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