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Is your cloud use really yours? Looking at fraudulent resource consumption

Organizations across the globe continue to embrace cloud computing, attracted by its convenience, cost-effectiveness, and adaptable application. Alongside these advantages cloud computing also presents notable risks in terms of security and fraud. The cloud's inherent anonymity and vast scale have made it a prime target for fraudulent activities, posing significant challenges for both individuals and organizations.

Fraudulent resource consumption is something that has been identified by all cloud solution providers and many government agencies as a significant risk to organizations using cloud services. This is the process where a bad actor gains access to organizations cloud account and creates resources for their own use. This can range from crypto mining to training and utilising AI models.

No matter the reason, the fraudulent creation and consumption of resources has serious financial repercussions for the organization responsible for the cloud account. Initially many cloud vendors would write-off or write-down excessive usage bills for customers that could reasonably show consumption was used fraudulently. However, as the number of these attacks and the size of the consumption involved grow this is not as easy for vendors to do. Recently customers are much more likely to have to pay for some or all the consumption that has been attributed to their account, unless they can prove that it was a vendor system that allowed the breach in the first place.

There are several security recommendations made by cloud vendors which can significantly reduce the risk of fraudulent consumption, the simplest of which is to apply and require all users to use multi-factor authentication (MFA) to access the vendor systems. Many vendors also have sophisticated algorithms for detecting some uses like crypto mining and will warn customers or actively shut down workloads to protect customers.

MFA is an important point for securing your cloud accounts

Another recommendation from vendors is for customers to actively monitor their cloud spend to identify issues and investigate the root cause of any unusual change. This is a seemingly easy concept that can be difficult in practice especially for organizations with large cloud spend, and large numbers of resources.

Cloud Ctrl’s Watchdog feature helps organizations find unusually patterns of use and cost in their cloud portfolio. Using customisable policies users can quickly and easily see when something is not right and see the resources that are affected. Policies can be used to analyse the change in spend for a given period of time, and for specific resource types, it can be used to identify spend in unusual regions or for an unusual product type, alerting Cloud Ctrl users to review and take action.

Widespread adoption of cloud computing has undeniably brought convenience and efficiency to organizations worldwide. However, this advancement is not without its pitfalls, particularly in terms of security and the risk of fraud. As the cloud becomes a more common ground for such activities, the financial impact on organizations can be profound. It's important that cloud users, guided by their service providers, adopt robust security measures such as multi-factor authentication and real-time monitoring of cloud usage. Tools like Cloud Ctrl's Watchdog feature will be pivotal in enabling users to detect and address anomalies swiftly, thus safeguarding their resources. As cloud technology evolves, so must the vigilance and preparedness of its users, ensuring that they can reap the benefits of the cloud while minimizing the risks associated with this digital frontier.

If you want to know more about Cloud Ctrl or need help or advice about protecting your organisation from fraudulent consumption you can get in touch here.

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