9 Threats That Affect Synchronizing Outlook with the Cloud

9 Threats That Affect Synchronizing Outlook with the Cloud

Automatically synchronizing Outlook calendar and contacts with a smartphone keeps things simple as you no longer have to update your information in multiple places.


Cloud Sync Risks

However, many solutions go through the cloud to sync Outlook with phone contacts. Using the cloud to synchronize data is riskier than you might think.

The Cloud Security Alliance recently wrote about the “Notorious Nine” serious security threats in cloud computing. Here are the nine cloud threats to cloud computing that may affect the information you share in the cloud.

  1. Data breaches: According to research from University of North Carolina, it’s not hard for a virtual machine to access information from the cloud. An attacker could gain access to data if the application has just one flaw. It can also happen by accident, as one company was just reviewing Google Analytics when it came across confidential information in the cloud.
  2. Data loss: Malicious attackers could break into an account and delete everything. If a cloud service provider loses data, it may not have backup. “Forty-three percent of respondents have lost data in the cloud and have had to recover from back-ups,” said Dave Elliott, cloud marketing manager at Symantec. Even a strong password can’t protect you. With two minutes and $4, someone can find out your credit card, phone and security numbers despite a strong password.
  3. Account or service traffic hijacking: If a hacker accesses your login credentials, he or she could track your activities and transactions, and use them to provide falsified information or manipulate data.
  4. Insecure APIs: Third party companies use the application programming interface to integrate their products with the cloud service. Experts say there is no API is 100 percent secure including OAuth. “Although OAuth2 is optimized for client developer simplicity, it is a subtle protocol that can (unfortunately) easily be made insecure,” Coursera writes in OAuth2-based APIs. Unauthorized users can circumvent the API to change user restriction or access non-public areas of the application.
  5. Denial of service: The oldie but not so goodie still remains a threat as distributed denial of service attacks can send hundreds of thousand automated requests to consuming a cloud service’s resources that could cripple it or shut it down. Arbor Network’s eighth annual World Wide Infrastructure Security Report found that 76% of respondents report experiencing DDoS attacks affecting their customers in the cloud and data centers.
  6. Malicious insiders: Former employees and contractors could still have access after they’ve left the company. What’s more is that current employees may have access where they shouldn’t especially in an incorrectly designed cloud application. Forrester’s “Understand the State of Data Security and Privacy” reports that insiders are responsible for 36 percent of data breaches.
  7. Abuse of cloud services: Although this threat has a greater effect on cloud service providers than they do consumers, a hacker may use the service for a DDoS attack or to run malware. Verizon’s 2014 Data Breach Investigations Report says that one of the trends European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) spotted was an increase in malware from cloud services.
  8. Insufficient due diligence: Not all cloud service providers implement the required processes and security to provide a secure service that limits threats. And customers who want to sync Outlook contacts typically don’t spend a lot of time evaluating the cloud provider.
  9. Shared technology: If a single component is compromised, the cloud service could expose the customers’ information and open itself to a breach.

This is a lot of risk for customers who keep sensitive data in the cloud, which is what happens when you use the cloud to share and sync across platforms, devices, teams and locations. Most people’s Outlook contacts and calendar have information that they most likely don’t want to make public.

If you prefer to reduce risk by avoiding the cloud, one option is AkrutoSync, which allows you to sync your Outlook contacts and calendar with your smartphone without going through the cloud.

Either way, you’ll want to keep your information safe out there and do your due diligence on where you store your sensitive and confidential data.

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