In the era of digital technology and a massive transition to work in the virtual space, creating platforms for storing data online is a common practice. For this purpose, software developers offer cloud storage services where files of different formats and volumes can be downloaded and used. In addition, there is a wide range of storages that differ in volume and cost. However, despite the spread of such a method of using digital platforms for storing information, problems of their maintenance and use are sometimes manifested, and the most relevant are the challenges associated with security. Users who utilize cloud services rely on the complete security and integrity of their personal or corporate files. Nevertheless, data leakage, inefficient segregation, as well as insufficiently successful vulnerability management are manifested in modern virtual storage systems. The use of special algorithms, in particular, proper system auditing, integrity management, as well as access control, can be valuable safety solutions.
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Ensuring the security of data in the online space is an urgent task of modernity since cybercrime aimed at stealing valuable information creates a severe threat to both individuals and organizations. The search for methods to secure digital assets is carried out regularly, and the strengthening of this area is of high importance for various stakeholders. In the field of cloud-based storage, where users keep both personal and corporate data, this issue is particularly acute because services for providing free space imply the security of downloaded content. However, information is not always protected, and this work is aimed at identifying the key principles of cloud storage, the problems, and challenges associated with security, as well as potentially effective solutions. The necessary algorithms of system auditing and the methods of vulnerability control over cloud resources are essential conditions for ensuring the safety of digital data and their reliable storage.
Cloud-Based Storage: Basic Principles
Cloud storage is a network location for storing files of its clients. The principle of operation is the downloading of documents of most available digital formats from a computer to a server with the aim of storing them. Either one or several servers may be utilized, while they can be located in any country or continent. Customers themselves do not know where specific physical stores are located. According to Rittinghouse and Ransome (2017), the most common criteria that characterize cloud services are their volume and cost. Each user can register and apply a paid, free, or mixed server type for both personal and corporate purposes. The latter usually offer a certain amount of space that may be expanded upon surcharge. Paid servers initially require initial and subsequent payments for their operation. When working with free cloud storage services, there is no need to pay money, although a specific storage location is limited and cannot be increased. In general, the algorithm of work with such resources is simple, but one of the main requirements for them is storage security, and the existing challenges are the reason for detailed research.
Security Issues and Challenges
Securing cloud-based storage services in the face of an increased threat from cybercriminals encourages software developers to create the necessary safety components. However, despite the existing locks and firewalls, some challenges arise, and their danger is significant. Rao and Selvamani (2015) note that the most crucial issues regarding the security of information on cloud systems are personal and corporate data leakage, the inappropriate segregation of information, as well as vulnerability management. These topics are to be addressed because, in case of the inadequate maintenance of virtual storage, valuable files can become the property of third parties, which is unacceptable in the conditions of information ownership.
The loss of user data and their leakage are unacceptable, but these problems arise. According to the significance of this threat and the risks associated with it, Rao and Selvamani (2015) put it in second place in the list of challenges related to cloud security. Neither individual users nor organizations that choose virtual services as storage locations are not ready for the data they download to be lost or stolen by third parties. The function of these platforms is to provide personal access, but, as Rao and Selvamani (2015) remark, precedents happen, and the threat of leakage is one of the key reasons for users’ concerns.
Another threat to data security in cloud storage systems is the difficulty of segregation. According to Rao and Selvamani (2015), this problem is paramount and relevant to all users without exception. Failures to control the processes of file separation are fraught with their loss, which is unacceptable and may lead to information leakage. In addition, when taking into account the large amounts of information that are utilized in various fields, this challenge is applicable to any sphere, regardless of the profile and purpose of the data. Therefore, the security of file segregation in cloud-based storage is one of the most important aspects of these platforms’ operation.
Inadequate vulnerability management may pose security risks to cloud-based storage if insufficient measures are taken to control the functioning of these virtual systems. Rittinghouse and Ransome (2017) mention the threats associated with third-party management and note that the technical staff involved in servicing online drives should monitor any suspicious activity and troubleshoot timely. However, as Rao and Selvamani (2015) argue, the issues of data access and leakage are associated with ineffective strategies for tracking threats. Therefore, the lack of proper control poses dangers to the security of cloud systems.
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In order to address the aforementioned problems and overcome security threats, the principles of servicing cloud storage imply utilizing special control algorithms that do not require significant investments but contribute to information security. As the basic principles of monitoring, a continuous audit of system performance and reliability should be promoted, as well as an integrity management policy that encourages the safety of security clusters. These measures are universal strategies to prevent data leakage or theft, improper file segregation, and inefficient management.
Cloud servicing should involve the ongoing auditing of security algorithms. According to Singh, Jeong, and Park (2016), control procedures should be based on tracking suspicious activities and applying the necessary measures to eliminate threats, for instance, advanced encryption for safe access. Data leakage may be the cause of an insufficiently productive monitoring process, and the authors suggest using modern security mechanisms, for example, advanced authentication algorithms (Singh et al., 2016). In case it is impossible to conduct an audit due to various factors, including an overly complex system of assessment or the lack of resources, this means that the entire system operates unreliably. As a result, the threats of file loss or their inadequate segregation are potential. The usability of a cloud platform directly depends on how often and competently the monitoring of performance and security is conducted. Accordingly, system auditing is a prerequisite for ensuring the safety of storing information in the virtual space.
Another potentially effective cloud storage security measure is integrity management. As Singh et al. (2016) note, this activity provides for the assessment of the safety of files on a virtual platform and timely interventions in case of detecting improper segregation. In other words, all security protocols should work to identify not only external but also internal threats, for instance, the disturbed fragmentation of information. Rittinghouse and Ransome (2017) state that in order to ensure the integrity of data collection, support teams need to develop and implement special protocols that control file storage paths and their preservation in clusters. For this purpose, the necessary digital mechanisms should be promoted, and managing this process should not simply cost savings. If proper protection is not provided, some data may be lost or fragmented, which is evidence of poor service and, as a result, customer dissatisfaction and the loss of profit for developers. Therefore, the integrity management policy is required to ensure the internal security of information in cloud storage.
Cloud storage security is a relevant topic in the context of digitalization and the transfer of large amounts of data into virtual space, and such measures as system auditing and integrity management are valuable solutions. Data leakage and loss, inadequate segregation, and ineffective vulnerability management are threats that are to be avoided. The development and implementation of appropriate security algorithms are the procedures that are of high importance in relation to the safety policy of cloud resources and are helpful practices in a modern online environment.
Rao, R. V., & Selvamani, K. (2015). Data security challenges and its solutions in cloud computing. Procedia Computer Science, 48, 204-209. Web.
Rittinghouse, J. W., & Ransome, J. F. (2017). Cloud computing: Implementation, management, and security. Boca Raton, FL: CRC press.
Singh, S., Jeong, Y. S., & Park, J. H. (2016). A survey on cloud computing security: Issues, threats, and solutions. Journal of Network and Computer Applications, 75, 200-222. Web.