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Cloud computing has become a mainstay of modern business. Companies are jumping into the cloud to make their businesses more competitive and profitable in a fast moving world. The cloud can do great things for a business and its customers but it's not without its pitfalls. There is a whole world of security threats floating around out there that have the potential to wreak havoc with a business' mission critical data and applications and in the process do quite a bit of damage to the bottom line of a business and to its reputation. It's important to be aware of these threats when considering jumping into the cloud or if your business already uses cloud computing.

The breach of important data like customer information or proprietary information is a concern. This can be especially true with a cloud provider that leases space to several businesses. One client using the cloud service might have an application with a single security flaw that can be exploited by a malicious user. This could potentially put the important data of every business using that cloud service at risk.

The loss of important data is another concern that businesses ignore at their own peril. A hacker or a disgruntled employee could delete important data. However, hackers and disgruntled employees are not the only ones who might be responsible for such a circumstance. Not all cloud service providers are created equal. Important, mission critical data can be lost due to the negligence of a cloud service provider. Disasters like earthquakes and fires are yet another circumstance that can lead to the loss of important data.

Traffic hijacking is another very real threat. If an attacker steals credentials, they can gain the ability to eavesdrop on the activities of your business and possibly redirect your customers to websites that can be used to steal their identities. This can be the type of disaster that can destroy the trust your customers have in your business and leave its reputation in tatters.

Denial of service attacks have long been a nuisance on the internet. Unfortunately, the cloud is not immune to the impacts that a denial of service attack can have. A denial of service attack can make an important application inaccessible or make it respond so slowly as to to essentially make it unavailable. Such attacks can cost your business quite a bit of money to pay for the excess bandwidth that is used during such an attack and can cause your customers a great deal of inconvenience and annoyance.

These are just a few of the security threats that exist surrounding cloud computing. If you're considering moving your business into the cloud then you need to do so with a mind toward combating these threats. If your business is already in the cloud then you may want to take a second look at the IT security policies of your organization and at the policies of your cloud service provider. Your business also may want to consider if it is worth investing in dedicated host servers rather than sharing space with other businesses. The cloud can be great for businesses and can allow them to serve their customers better. However, playing it fast and loose with cloud security can have very expensive consequences.

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