Data and Cloud Computing: Are You Protected?
In cloud computing, software and hardware are delivered over a computer network as a service. It is very popular today, and it holds both great potential and great danger. The concept of shared remote services is not new, but today’s cloud computing infrastructure uses new technologies that have not been fully evaluated as far as security is concerned. With cloud computing, your business gets:
- Flexibility: You’ll have access to thousands of databases, and you’ll be able to combine them as you see fit.
- Increased reliability: No more worries about stolen or failed hardware.
- Better collaboration: Your workers will be able to share applications and information more easily.
- Unlimited storage and access: You and your workers will be able to access data from anywhere there’s an internet connection.
Cloud computing can offer your business significant benefits, but it does come with some security risks. When choosing a cloud computing service, keep the below security issues in mind.
- Security of data transfers: All traffic going between the cloud and your network must travel the Internet. To plug the security hole, ensure that you only connect to the provider through an https: browser. Your data should be authenticated and encrypted using industry protocols.
- Security of APIs: You should be aware of the interfaces your workers use with cloud services. If you rely on weak APIs, you’re exposing your business to accountability, availability, confidentiality and integrity issues. If you’re considering a cloud service, learn how they secure each phase from authentication to activity monitoring.
- Security of stored data: When your data is on the cloud servers, it should be encrypted. Very few providers assure that your corporate data will be protected during use or disposal; ask all potential providers about how they handle and secure data while in transit or on their servers.
- Access control: When your data is stored it can potentially be accessed, and you have no control over the employees who can access your data. Consider the nature of the data you’re putting onto the cloud, and ask providers about the people managing your data—and about their access level.
- Separation of data: Every cloud computing provider shares technical resources, such as servers and infrastructure. Ask if your provider uses ‘virtual containers’ on their servers for each customer. However, attackers are becoming more savvy, and they’re learning how to target the shared technology inside the cloud. Learn about the techniques your provider uses to keep attackers and other customers out of your virtual container.
The above security issues should ideally be addressed with your cloud computing provider before you allow your company’s sensitive data onto its applications and services, but they do not have to be deal breakers. Cloud computing companies offer so many great benefits that you shouldn’t dismiss them offhand—after all, you’ve probably already dealt with almost all of these issues the first time you put your corporate network online.
To help keep your businesses sensitive data safe security experts QT&C recommend attending accredited information security courses.