Cloud computing is becoming a very popular solution to data storage and company operations and if you follow some practical steps, you can eliminate any concerns about security.
The reality is that if done right, cloud computing is a more secure option than what most organisations employ when they have an in-house data storage or IT system. That being said, things need to be managed properly for optimum performance and security. Here are five top tips to ensure that your cloud security is airtight.
#1 – Know exactly where your data is
You cannot ensure cloud security if you don’t know where your data is. Although data encryption, firewalls and detection protocols will keep out most intruders, you need to think ahead. What if you decide to terminate the service or the cloud provider goes out of business?
Being able to identify exactly where your data is, goes a long way towards long-term security. Just like all other forms of storage, dedicated hardware is key for cloud computing services to pass stringent security guidelines. Make sure you are clued up as to where your data will be stored on a specific piece of hardware. To learn more, read our post about data security for businesses.
#2 – Backup your data
Just as you would back up your server or hard drive, it is important to backup your data on the cloud. We are still talking about data on a machine here. Massive multinational company T-Mobile lost thousands of people’s data simply because they did not have a backup of it. The cloud is not a magic solution to everything, it is still a network of machines that stores data. While cloud providers do have redundancy protocols, doing so will always give you and your business peace of mind.
#3 – Develop a plan and educate the response team
Always have well developed contingency plans at the ready. A large element of security is the response to threats and how rapidly an organization can respond to threats and adverse events. Organisations should document logical responses to different adverse scenarios and implement ongoing training programs to facilitate a fast response to those situations. This can all be done in tandem with the cloud service provider.
#4 – Test the system
Never assume that where your data is stored is impregnable. When identifying a cloud provider, ask them what safety audits they carry out and specifically ask them how often and how they test the system. The only way to make sure something is secure is to test it. It is quite common for highly data-sensitive organisations to hire a skilled ethical-hacker to test their security provisions. Vulnerability scanning and assessments are just as important inside the cloud as they are outside the cloud. If you can find a way around the system, then hackers most definitely can.
#5 – Get references
There is no better advice than that which comes from someone who has had direct experience. When choosing your cloud service provider, ask for references from existing satisfied clients. Anything related to data on finance, healthcare, insurance, or government organizations is a good thing to look for. If other companies that have similar security needs are using the provider, they may be a good fit for you. Be sure to contact these references directly when possible and ask what steps they have taken to secure their data.
Better to be safe than sorry
If you have done your homework well and found a reputable cloud service provider, the chances are that your data will be secure. As with everything in life, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Follow the above tips to ensure that your data will remain secure. On a final note, the private cloud hosting model (dedicated companies) provide much more of a security guarantee than any on the public domain.