How secure is your cloud computing services provider?

When choosing a cloud computing provider, IT must be diligent about making sure the vendor has the security capabilities to meet the organization’s needs. In this guest post, Systems Analyst Vanessa Parks discusses some of the important factors to look for in a cloud provider.

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Businesses small and large are seeing a lot of the benefits of cloud computing technology. So what’s holding back many companies?

Powerful as the cloud may be, there are many who doubt its capability of maintaining the security and safety of files stored in the Cloud. Security from data losses, reliability of access and theft are what make many large companies, who rely on the powers of multiple server systems to store and back up their critical data, stay away from cloud services. The question is not of the capabilities of the Cloud, but its security guarantee.

So how can IT determine whether a cloud computing service is secure? These are the key characteristics that determine if a cloud computing service provider has the capability to provide top notch security for your business:

1. User Protection

The ultimate priority of cloud service providers is the security of their users’ information. There are two basic security measures for this: restrictive access and certifications. Restrictive access is the basic username and password log-in scheme, but it has capabilities of more sophisticated methods such us the CAPTCHA entries which require a specific user to enter his or her clearance. Certification on the other hand is the guarantee that applications have been tried and tested against attacks, viruses, malware and such.

2. Data Protection

Protecting access for cloud services is important, but futile if cloud service providers cannot protect the data that they store. Certifications that prove security capabilities are again important measurements. There are hackers and online thieves who will try really hard to take a peek at your most confidential documents, having certifications will up your defenses against these enemies. Hardware and software security capabilities are also crucial factors for the protection of your data, so make sure you look into what tools the provider is using to protect your company’s data.

3. Expertise

When considering the capabilities of cloud service providers, it is important to know the aptitudes, skills and expertise of the vendor’s staff. These employees have an important role in the security of your data, as the reliability of the cloud computing service. Think of them as your police force against virtual attackers, and of course you don’t want them to be the type that would doze off during a crime.

4. Recovery

Sometimes, despite all the best efforts, losses still happen. Being secure may not always be fool proof, but a good recovery system can help you get running again as fast as possible. The loss of information may be devastating to a business, which is why a capable back-up scheme is not an option, but a requirement.

5. You and your company’s users

At the end of the day, an organization must determine what information will be uploaded to a cloud server. Complete reliance on service providers alone may not be enough, so a lot of the security measurements will also depend on your own diligence. For example, having your own back-up scheme would be a good place to start.

Cloud computing, despite the risks, can have tremendous benefits for your business, be it a small company or a large enterprise. Security capabilities of your chosen provider play crucial roles in the protection of your information, data and reliability; but you also play a great role. So be diligent in both choosing your cloud computing service provider and devising your own protection programs.

About the author: Vanessa Parks is a Freelance Systems Analyst with 5 Years of solid experience. She has been an advocate of cloud computing and collaboration for improved work efficiency and performance. She also has a passion in dancing, cooking and playing golf.

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