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Cloud Penetration Testing: Vital Security Requirements and Requirements to Keep in Mind

Posted: May 14, 2022 at 9:57 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

When it comes to cloud security, many companies focus on perimeter security measures such as firewalls and intrusion detection/prevention systems. However, perimeter security alone is not enough. You also need to perform cloud penetration testing to identify vulnerabilities in your cloud infrastructure that could be exploited by attackers.

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In this blog post, we will discuss what cloud penetration testing is, why it’s vital, who needs to perform it, and the detailed security requirements for doing so. We will also provide a list of companies that offer cloud penetration testing services, and highlight some of the most common vulnerabilities found in cloud infrastructure deployments.

What Is Cloud Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing is a method for evaluating the security of cloud services. This technique may be utilized to examine infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings.

During a cloud penetration test, ethical hackers (aka white hat hackers) will attempt to gain access to sensitive data and systems in your cloud environment. They will use the same techniques and tools that malicious attackers would use, but they will do so with your permission.

The goal of cloud penetration testing is to identify security weaknesses so that they can be fixed before attackers find and exploit them.

Why Is Cloud Penetration Testing Vital?

There are several reasons why cloud penetration testing is vital for any organization that uses cloud services.

To begin, it’s critical to recall that the cloud is not automatically secure. Just because your data and applications are hosted off-site does not mean that they are automatically safe from attack. In reality, many businesses have discovered that cloud operations are more vulnerable than on-premises installations.

This is often due to a lack of understanding of how the cloud works, and a failure to properly configure security controls.

Another reason why cloud penetration testing is important is that the consequences of a successful attack can be much more severe in the cloud than on-premises. This is due to the fact that intruders can simply access a lot of sensitive data stored in the cloud. They can also leverage the cloud to launch attacks on other organizations.

For example, in 2015, a malicious attacker was able to gain access to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) account of Code Spaces, a code hosting, and collaboration service. The attacker then deleted all of the data stored in Code Spaces’ AWS account, causing the company to go out of business.

Who Needs To Perform Cloud Penetration Testing?

Ideally, all organizations that use cloud services should perform cloud penetration testing on a regular basis. This includes both IaaS and PaaS deployments.

However, it’s important to note that not all penetration tests are created equal. The scope and depth of your penetration tests should be based on your organization’s threat model and the sensitivity of the data and systems that are stored in the cloud.

For example, a company that stores highly sensitive customer data in the cloud will need to perform more comprehensive penetration tests than a company that only uses cloud-based email services.

The Detailed Security Requirements For Cloud Penetration Testing

When it comes to performing cloud penetration tests, there are a few key security requirements that you need to keep in mind.

First, you need to ensure that your ethical hackers have the necessary permissions to access your cloud environment. This includes both read and write access. Without these permissions, your ethical hackers will not be able to properly identify vulnerabilities.

Second, you need to make sure that your ethical hackers understand your organization’s threat model. This will help them to prioritize their efforts and focus on the areas that are most at risk.

Third, you need to ensure that your ethical hackers have a clear understanding of your organization’s security policies. This includes both your internal security policies and any external regulations that you are required to comply with.

Fourth, you need to establish clear communication channels between your ethical hackers and your organization’s security team. This will allow for the quick exchange of information and the rapid resolution of any issues that are discovered during the penetration test.

Finally, you need to make sure that you have a plan in place for how to respond to any vulnerabilities that are discovered during the penetration test with both short and long-term solutions.

Companies That Provide Cloud Penetration Testing

There are a number of companies that provide cloud penetration testing services. Some of the more well-known penetration testing providers include:

  • Astra’s Pentest
  • Rapid-fire security
  • iSEC Partners
  • Nettitude
  • IOActive

Common Cloud Infrastructure Vulnerabilities To Keep In Mind

When performing cloud penetration tests, there are a few common vulnerabilities that you need to keep in mind. These include:

Unsecured data storage: One of the most common mistakes that organizations make is storing data in an insecure manner either on-premise or in the cloud. When data is stored in an insecure manner, it makes it much easier for attackers to gain access to it.

Lack of encryption: Another common mistake that organizations make is not encrypting their data at rest and during transit. Without encryption, attackers can easily read your data if they are able to gain access to it.

Insecure communication channels: One of the most vulnerable aspects of any organization’s infrastructure is its communication channels. This includes both email and web applications. Attackers can easily intercept communications that are sent over insecure channels.

Weak authentication: One of the best ways to protect your data is by using strong authentication methods like two-factor authentication and multi-factor authentication. You can make it much more difficult for attackers to get access to your data by utilizing strong authentication procedures.

Lack of security monitoring: One of the most crucial things you can do to safeguard your data is to keep an eye on it for signs of an assault. This includes both real-time and past information. You can quickly identify assaults and take steps to defend yourself by monitoring your data.

By keeping these common vulnerabilities in mind, you can make sure that your cloud penetration tests are comprehensive and effective.

Alternatively, if you would like some help with your cloud penetration tests, you can contact one of the companies that provide cloud penetration testing services. They will be able to help you identify and fix any vulnerabilities in your infrastructure.

Did You Know?

In 2018, the average cost of a data breach was $148 million

The average time to containment was 69 days while the average discovery period was 197 days (Ponemon Institute).

These findings underline the significance of cloud penetration testing. You may use regular testing to ensure that your data is secure and safe.

Final Thoughts

With all of this data, it is clear that cloud adoption is more critical than ever. So don’t wait any further, choose your cloud penetration testing provider now and ease your worries forever!


Author: Ankit Pahuja is the Marketing Lead & Evangelist at Astra Security. Ever since his adulthood (literally, he was 20 years old), he began finding vulnerabilities in websites & network infrastructures. Starting his professional career as a software engineer at one of the unicorns enables him in bringing “engineering in marketing” to reality. Working actively in the cybersecurity space for more than 2 years makes him the perfect T-shaped marketing professional. Ankit is an avid speaker in the security space and has delivered various talks in top companies, early-age startups, and online events.

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