Every business seems to want to live with their head in the clouds these days – or at least that’s where they want their data to be (96% of all businesses in the U.S. use the Cloud). But what exactly is Cloud Security and why is it so important to business? And perhaps as importantly how secure is data that is stored on the Cloud?
What is Cloud Security?
A simple explanation is that Cloud Storage is a model that allows for the transmission of data to offsite locations where it is stored on remote systems. That data is backed up and made available to the owner of the data via a network – which today usually means the Internet (there are also options to use a dedicated private network to transmit and store that data). One of the most attractive attributes of Cloud Storage is its scalability. Capacity can be scaled up or drawn down to suit data volumes. Another attraction is the fact that the organization does not have to invest in expensive on-site data storage – the company pays for what it uses.
However, the security of that data is increasingly a concern. Hackers break into Cloud systems to steal a variety of data – especially where that data is valuable intellectual property, including customer details. However, despite high profile cases of hacking Cloud Storage remains one of the most secure ways to store data.
In part, this is because disaster can strike at any moment. Whether it’s a man manmade or a natural disaster (fire, floods, terrorist attack, power outages amongst others) it can have extremely detrimental effects on business operations when data is stored on-site.
Improving Cloud security should be at the top of the list for any organization that is storing data offsite – regardless of what information might be, you never know when you might need to access it, which is why you saved it on the cloud in the first place. Businesses of all niches need to ensure that they are on top of the latest developments in the field.
Why Cloud Security is Vital to Business?
There are several steps that the organization can take to ensure data security. Ensuring that only authorized employees have access to the data on the Cloud is one of these – the so-called ‘Identity and Access Credentials Management’ protocols of the company must be up to date. Unauthorized logins should not take place, whether that’s someone sharing their login or breaching of your security; keeping processes in place will help to avoid any type of breach. One of the best things you can do for your business, in general, is to hire employees you know you can trust. This will not only make it easier to excel as a company but also relieve possibly worrying about employees breaching security measures that are put in place.
Data administration personnel need to be able to alter access authorizations remotely – without having to physically interact with the user’s physical machine. Being able to alter cloud permissions/security in this manner is essential.
Ensuring that a web filter or proxy service is in place is also essential. This blocks access to dangerous websites from corporate desktops. These websites often play host to malicious software designed to allow access to Cloud data by criminals and hackers. Email filters should also be installed to prevent malicious attacks by bad actors using our most common method of communicating within the business environment. Lists of third parties that have not acted in the best interest of the organization should be continually updated – and where necessary, those actors should be blacklisted from interacting with employees or data.
In short – the hosts and custodians of the data in the Cloud have a responsibility to continually update their security measures through authentication and firewalls, as well as other methods. However, the company also has a responsibility to continually update its procedures and tools to ensure that security is maintained. This starts at the hiring level- if you can’t trust the people who work for your company, breaching security is not the only thing you’ll need to worry about. However, it is the most important in our minds!