Cloud computing has a lot of benefits, but businesses must make sure data isn’t at risk when it’s put in the Cloud. In this guest post, network security expert Michael Wilcox describes some steps IT should take before implementing a cloud service – and some mistakes to avoid.
Cloud computing has many potential benefits for businesses. It can allow organizations to significantly reduce their physical dependency on servers, increase their network’s capabilities and create a more scalable infrastructure.
However, many businesses adopt this technology without paying attention to the new security risks cloud computing introduces.
Top cloud security concerns
Many businesses are worried about the security of the data they upload to the Cloud, according to a recent survey conducted by GreenSQL, a technology-focused research company. Among the IT pros surveyed:
- 31% said they simply do not trust the level of security that is available with cloud computing.
- 28% said concerns about compliance have prevented them from moving data to the Cloud.
- 22% are concerned about losing control over data that is transferred to the Cloud.
- 19% believe cloud computing services have not yet matured enough.
Each of these factors, though, can be mitigated by properly managing cloud security. In many cases, organizations find the security of their data in the Cloud equals or even surpasses what it was in-house.
The dos of cloud security
The following should be enacted by every IT security professional when migrating to a cloud computing solution:
- DO thoroughly research your cloud provider before signing up. Find out where your data will be stored, what level of encryption will be used, who will have access to it, and how you can retrieve your data. This understanding is crucial before switching to a public cloud solution.
- DO consider having a private cloud environment to mitigate data control and compliance concerns. HIPAA, Gramm-Leach-Bliley and Sarbanes-Oxley all have regulations that require companies to have complete control over data. While this will not be possible with a public cloud solution, it is possible with a private cloud. Enacting and configuring an internal private cloud will be more complicated than adopting a public cloud; however, you will be able to reap the benefits of the cloud without sacrificing any compliance control.
- DO understand the advanced level of security cloud computing can provide. A properly configured cloud solution adds layers of protection that will secure your data more than when it is simply stored on your private network. Cloud services can add another level of credential verification between an access point and the actual data.
The don’ts of cloud security
Before you fully migrate to a cloud computing solution, make sure you don’t make any of these mistakes that can compromise your data and your network.
- DON’T commit to a cloud provider that is new to network security. Confirm that your cloud provider has a proven track record of keeping data secure.
- DON’T neglect security altogether. Surprisingly, many organizations switch to cloud computing without considering the new security precautions that must be taken.
- DON’T be afraid of the cloud. Cloud computing is a new technology that is revolutionizing the way businesses configure their networks. It provides levels of scalability and speed that surpass traditional networks.
Cloud computing is an exciting technological advancement that is changing the way network security specialists view security. With adequate research and configuration, you can safely migrate to the cloud while minimizing the risk of data being lost or compromised.
About the Author: Michael Wilcox is a contributing writer and network security expert. He has helped several companies adopt cloud computing in recent years. He suggests investing in Trend Micro cloud protection before making the move to the cloud.