Cloud computing has transformed the business world, and its growing presence suggests business owners accept and appreciate the benefits it provides. There are inherent qualities that make TechTarget (A bit “techie”, but I think it is a good place to start): “Cloud computing is a general term for the delivery of hosted services over the Internet. Cloud computing enables companies to consume compute resources as a utility — just like electricity — rather than having to build and maintain computing infrastructures in-house.”
In this article, I provide guidance on how to stay protected while having your business in the cloud…
Data Protection and Continuous Observation
Each cloud service, PaaS, IaaS, and Saas, requires different data protection protocol and procedures. The person responsible for managing security for the respective cloud service must consider key points when hoping to keep a client’s data secure. These points include: keeping a proper and accurate of record of data resources, setting parameters for access to data and data use management, establishing strict guidelines regarding data privacy, and remaining educated about constant changes to cloud computing. For a client to allow a cloud service provider control over their data means they trust the provider to keep their data safe at all times.
Cloud Application: Security Control and Management
A strong security plan must include a strategic approach to the specific security control of the cloud applications used with the service. To accomplish this, an approach should be considered with the infrastructure, platform, and software used for the service as the focal points of security management.
Your service provider should present a course of action that revolves around keeping data protected at every level, particularly the protection of data used in cloud applications.
Don’t hesitate to inquire about their data security policies or question their disaster recovery scenarios.
Every cloud provider should comply with new national security standards (US) that counsel on what can be done to improve hosting protection, and how to operate a secure hosting environment.
Secure Connection and Cloud Network
In order to guarantee the success of their security plan, a qualified cloud service provider will use a secure connection which means the cloud network is protected. To thoroughly guard data, the cloud service provider should screen traffic, create login credentials, limit and block traffic related to spam, viruses, and malware ports, and create provisions on how to respond to malware attacks. It is likely that better security protection will cost more money. It should be considered an investment, as lax security measures could cost much more in the case of a data breach.
Monitoring of Physical Infrastructure
In addition to maintaining the security of the cloud network and connection, it is just as important to implement security procedures for the physical infrastructure of your cloud service. The physical infrastructure includes hardware (servers, etc.), the building where services are located, the internal personnel with access to the building, service providers (utility companies, delivery personnel, etc.), and the safety equipment used to protect the building. Each silo of the physical infrastructure must be governed in a way that means you and your customers’ data is not comprised. Standard safety practices such as mandatory sign in access to the facility should meet only your minimum requirements for the security services offered by your cloud service provider.
Switching Cloud Service Providers
What does the exit process entail for your cloud service provider? If you anticipate that you will switch service providers, it is best to know beforehand what your provider’s plan will be for your data security once your working relationship is terminated. If you are unaware of what steps are in place to return all of your cloud data back to you, then educate yourself on how the process works. The return of your data should happen quickly and without complications. You should also find out the exit process for cloud service companies you may potentially work with after ending the relationship with your current provider.
Of course, this list serves as only a guideline, and your cloud service provider should work with you to create a customized plan for securing your data. Data exchange via the cloud offers flexibility to business owners hoping to reach a wide client base. Before considering cloud computing, however, be sure you understand and properly address how your cloud service company can keep your data private and prevent any issues around theft.