The next generation of cloud-based storage and services allows us greater freedom to compute on the go. It enables us to be free from the storage constraints of compact devices and gives us the ability to access services and personal information on these devices regardless of our location. Cloud computing also poses serious threats to online privacy.

A new report published by The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) and HP on March 1 details some of the more serious threats about what could occur when using cloud-based services, now and in the future.

Perhaps the most worrisome threat for individuals is the loss and interception of personal information such as credit card details, banking records, medical records, home and work address and any other information that could leave them susceptible to identity theft.

A lot of research has gone into creating cloud-based services, but perhaps not enough time and money has been spent protecting individuals' privacy and safeguarding against the interception of information via third-party sites. More resources need to be harnessed to ensure these services will be safe for people to use when future generations of hackers try to prey on cloud-based databases.

There are few laws in place that govern cloud-based security practices. Cloud computing privacy policies are often very vague about what happens in the event of information loss or theft.

This level of uncertainty is largely replicated in the early adoption of cloud computing. Security is cited as the number one barrier to adoption. New users find it difficult to weigh up the pros and cons of cloud computing; there is a wealth of opportunities floating in the cloud but customers are very concerned about the associated risks.

By highlighting the top cloud computing security issues, CSA and HP hope to make cloud computing safer for consumers and businesses alike.

"Cloud services are clearly the next generation of information technology that enterprises must master. We have a shared responsibility to understand the security threats that accompany the cloud and apply the necessary best practices to mitigate them," said Jim Reavis, founder of the Cloud Security Alliance.

The top security threats of cloud computing:
1. Abuse and Nefarious Use of Cloud Computing
2. Insecure Interfaces and APIs
3. Malicious Insiders
4. Shared Technology Issues
5. Data Loss or Leakage
6. Account or Service Hijacking
7. Unknown Risk Profile

The full report can be viewed here: