With more and more businesses putting their data in the Cloud, most agree the benefits of doing so outweigh the risks. However, there are still risks to consider, both before and after selecting a Cloud Service Provider. Read on to find out about these as well as to learn how to manage security in the Cloud.      

Making Your Business Cloud-Ready

According to a Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) report, “Assessing the Cloud Security Landscape,” 85% of business and IT professionals are confident in their Cloud Service Provider. Cloud computing is certain to grow even more in coming years. What cloud security concerns are top of mind for business owners and IT professionals? What do they need to consider before migrating to the Cloud?

Three of the key concerns business owners have are about business downtime and disaster recovery, loss or exposure of data when it migrates to the cloud, and the safety of data, through encryption, when the data is in motion and at rest. Other concerns include the physical location of data centers and shared technology concerns in multi-tenant environment. In spite of these concerns, only 3 in 10 business owners do a comprehensive evaluation, according to CompTIA.

Questions to Ask Your Cloud Service Provider

Before selecting a Cloud Service Provider, ask yourself and the potential provider some important questions. First, should all of your data be in the cloud? If you are responsible for compliance with regulatory standards, or if your data is proprietary or competitive, the cloud might not be the right place for the more sensitive information. Be sure to have a solid IT infrastructure to handle the data that needs to be more closely guarded. Another factor related to regulatory compliance is the physical location of the provider’s data center. Where does it reside and how does that affect compliance to regulatory standards? Also ask about the provider’s encryption policies and their business interruption and disaster recovery plans. All of these considerations are key to staying secure in the cloud.

Keeping Your Business Secure

Once you have decided to use the cloud, you still need to take the responsibility to keep your data safe. Ensure that your network is in compliance; it is only as secure as its weakest point. Make sure to have the most current operating system patches as well as up-to-date anti-virus and anti-malware definitions. Also, establish a policy for establishing and maintaining passwords. Educate your employees in choosing strong passwords—a combination of upper-case and lower-case letters, numbers and special characters can make passwords “unhackable.” Emphasize that employees should change their passwords regularly, and that they have a stake in protecting their own and your company’s data.

Has your company reviewed how you want to handle security, reliability, compliance, and legal issues related to your cloud service? If not, consider contacting a cloud computing professional to review your cloud security policies today.

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