What is Cloud Penetration Testing?

Cyber security experts authorize and stimulate cyberattacks against the client or customer's cloud assets to check the level of resistance the cloud system has to such attacks. It helps to identify vulnerabilities that could be exploited.

It's like the system is saying, 'Hit me as hard as you can.' Later, it works on its weak points.

Why is Cloud Penetration Testing Important?

Two things escalated post-COVID-19: remote jobs because of work-from-home opportunities and the inclusion of cloud infrastructure.

We have business productivity applications, chat tools, employee and customer data, system backups, and file sharing, among other things, all stored on the cloud.

As the tree with the most fruit gets pelted, the cloud system with important files gets attacked the most. Hence, protecting the fruits—I mean, the data—becomes utterly important unless you want to lose it.

Cloud penetration testing is done to check and enhance the security of cloud systems by identifying risks and vulnerabilities.

Process of Cloud Penetration Testing

Step 1: Evaluating

In the first step, the professionals perform the cloud security discovery tasks. These include identifying risks, potential vulnerability exposures, cloud security requirements, and current cloud SLAs (Service Level Agreements), among other things, in specific cases.

Step 2: Exploiting

Based on the data in Step 1, relevant pen testing methods are explored to exploit the vulnerabilities. The exploitation step tells the professionals the strength of your system's security, the efficiency of the attack detection system, and the methods to maintain the system in case of such an attack.

Step 3: Remediation Verifying

Ultimately, the experts evaluate whether the attack was implemented successfully and accurately from step 2. They can verify that the customer's cloud security aligns with industry-standard practices.

Challenges in Penetration Testing

Legal and Compliance Considerations

Understanding a complex network of laws and regulations is necessary while conducting penetration tests in the cloud. Cloud services frequently operate across legal borders, and each one may have different laws controlling cybersecurity, privacy, and data protection. Penetration testers need to know these regulations to ensure that their testing operations are lawful and in compliance.

Dynamic Nature

loud infrastructures' scalability and flexibility allow assets and configurations to change quickly. Because of this continual instability, keeping an updated awareness of the environment's safety condition is extremely difficult. It is vital for penetration testers to quickly and efficiently adjust to these changes to guarantee that ongoing security evaluations accurately represent the present condition of cloud infrastructure.


Cloud penetration testing needs to address multitenancy-related problems adequately. For penetration testing to be effective, attacks that could exploit weaknesses in the virtual barriers between users must be tested.

Techniques for Reducing Risk in Cloud Environments

1. Addressing any security weakness discovered after testing is essential. This involves making the necessary settings and software updates. You must also have an effective emergency response plan to ensure quick and effective action in the event of a security breach.

2. Cloud systems require constant monitoring. You should identify and address threats as soon as they surface by using technologies that provide real-time visibility into your cloud configuration.

3 Protecting your Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) settings, Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS), and Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) monitor network traffic to identify and eliminate possible threats. Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASBs) help you monitor your cloud applications and ensure that security policies are being followed. You should regularly check your cloud services for vulnerabilities and employ tools for managing vulnerabilities to protect you from attackers.

4 Strong backup and recovery plans ensure your company's continuous functioning during data loss or security breaches. It is also critical to ensure your security procedures fit industry guidelines and standards by constantly reviewing and modifying them.

5 Encrypting important data during transmission and storage processes protects it from unauthorized access.

Considerations while Testing Cloud Infrastructure

Shared Responsibility Model

The Shared Responsibility Model serves as a guide that specifies who is in charge of what when it comes to maintaining the security of cloud environments. This includes physical hardware, data, settings, operating system, network controls, and user permissions. Customers and cloud service providers (CSPs) have particular aspects that require attention.

Best Practices for Shared Responsibility Model

(a) View the Provider's Service Agreements

Consider the service level agreements (SLAs) before choosing a Cloud Service Provider (CSP). Recognize their security features and determine whether your organization can use them. Verify that the SLA guarantees regarding the handling of data recovery and service availability.

(b) Give Data Security First Priority

The cloud user's primary responsibility is safeguarding data. This involves safeguarding data during transmission and storage, securely gaining access to cloud services, and limiting who has access to or uses the data. You must ensure that procedures are in place to guard against theft, loss, and unauthorized access to your data.

Container Security

Container security protects containerized apps and their infrastructure at every stage of development, deployment, and runtime. It aims to reduce the risks connected with resource sharing and the potential attack surface while optimizing the built-in benefits of application isolation. Prometheus, Grafana, Sumo Logic, and Prisma Cloud are widely used tools for monitoring containers.

Best Practices for Container Security

(a) Implement Access Control

You should set up Role-Based Access Control (RBAC). RBAC enables you to assign users particular roles and control their access to your cloud system. Use tokens, API keys, and passwords to protect sensitive data. These tools protect your secrets from unauthorized individuals by encrypting them and providing them to your containers only when needed.

(b) Consistently Update and Patch Systems

It can be dangerous to utilize outdated software and systems since there can be security flaws that hackers could exploit. It is crucial to update your systems frequently to be safe.


Virtualization is a significant strategy cloud providers use to minimize costs, eliminate the need for physical hardware, and consume less energy. The cloud computing model heavily relies on virtualization. Users mainly keep their data on cloud servers. The benefit of virtualization is that it allows users to share the underlying infrastructure.

Best Practices for Virtualization

(a) Provide Limited Resources to VMs

Setting up virtual machines (VMs) with more RAM or processing capability than necessary is done on a large scale. This may result in increased expenses without enhancing efficiency. To prevent this, give virtual machines as few resources as required to ensure their correct operation and dependability.

(b) Make Future Plans

Traditional on-premises settings are less adaptable than cloud environments, but it is still essential to ensure that the cloud service you select can meet your future requirements. Be aware of any limitations of any cloud service provider to verify whether they can accommodate your company's future growth and adjustments.