Two-Factor Authentication in Cloud Security

Today, cloud services are incredibly popular both among users who store their personal data there and among the companies that use cloud services for a successful business. We shouldn’t underestimate the importance of the cloud, as a means to store the employees’ personal data and the necessary corporate information, which is available to an employee at any time and at any place. But we shouldn’t forget about cloud security because cloud services are not only convenient but also quite risky.

Cloud Security – the main risks

Clouds services are real “tidbits” for the hackers since they store large amounts of data. If cloud security solutions turn out to be not enough reliable and the users’ data are compromised, not only the users will suffer, but the providers of the cloud services as well since their reputation will be endangered.

Unfortunately, today new and new vulnerabilities are being found in the cloud services. Recently one of the experts in the information security has posted an article on the Virtual-Strategy Magazine website saying he has discovered a shocking fact – a brand new server, hosted on Azure or Amazon Web Services, can be hacked in 30 minutes with the automated attack scripts that are capable of finding the smallest vulnerabilities in the cloud security system. This ultimately makes it possible to further use the server for malicious acts, for example, to spread malware.

The attackers are constantly looking for the new ways to hack and use every available resource. Thus, to protect information in the cloud, both providers and users should unite their efforts. Reject simple passwords, regularly correct errors and use multi-factor authentication – a functional and reliable data protection system.

Strong authentication as an indispensable element of the cloud security

Strong authentication is the multi-factor authentication that uses two or more factors during user authentication in the cloud. When using this authentication method to log in, the user must take two following steps:

  1. Enter the login and password (the knowledge factor).
  2. Confirm his identity with an OTP (one-time password), generated with the help of an OTP token, a special smartphone application or sent through SMS, Push message or in an e-mail (the ownership factor).

To understand the importance of the two-factor authentication to cloud security, let’s imagine the worst course of events. Having hacked an administrator password and gained an access to your server, the fraudster manages any information stored in the cloud in his own discretion. The attacker will probably play hard – change the passwords, publish corporate confidential information on the network, copy user’s personal data, or vice versa delete all the information you need and all the backups. And after all, he can even extort money from you if you want to regain an access to your server. A frightening prospect, isn’t it? We do not know what kind of scenario the hacker may choose. The only clear thing is that there is no limit to attackers’ flight of fancy.


To protect the users of cloud services from hacking tricks, we must restrict access to the admin panel by IP address, as well as use complex passwords and two- or multi-factor authentication. The owners of the cloud services should also make sure that their clients have an opportunity to implement a reliable system of server protection or to integrate a worthy multifactor authentication into their systems.

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Author: Anna

If you have any questions about two-factor authentication and Protectimus products, ask Anna, and you will get an expert answer. She knows everything about one-time passwords, OTP tokens, 2FA applications, OATH algorithms, how two-factor authentication works, and what it protects against. Anna will explain the difference between TOTP, HOTP, and OCRA, help you choose a token for Azure MFA, and tell you how to set up two-factor authentication for Windows or Active Directory. Over the years with Protectimus, Anna has become an expert in cybersecurity and knows all about the Protectimus 2FA solution, so she will advise on any issue. Please, ask your questions in the comments.

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