The risk of avoiding cloud services
Despite the widespread adoption of cloud services, some IT executives continue to express concerns about security issues such as cyber-attacks and theft. Although not unfounded, in some cases these fears may actually work to increase risk in the organisation rather than reduce it. For instance, when a business is reluctant to embrace the cloud, employees or departments may go ahead and use the services anyways, creating an environment where the risks cannot be properly addressed.
Instead of shying away from the cloud, decision makers would be better served by educating themselves about cloud technology to create the type of structure that will actually protect data while simultaneously reducing risk. Here’s a look at some practical measures businesses can take to increase their trust in the cloud.
Choose the right type of service
Among the many cloud providers, there are fundamentally three different types of cloud service options, which are infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS). While the names may sound a bit confusing, the basic differences are:
Choose the right level of security
Cloud services offer varying levels of security and protection, so you’ll want to research your cloud provider thoroughly. The CSA (Cloud Security Alliance) has identified several possible threats to data stored in the cloud, including:
As such, you’ll want to find a provider that provides a high level of protection at all data entry points and allows businesses maximum control over their data. For example, look for a provider who:
At a minimum, data should always be encrypted at rest, in transit, as well as on mobile devices, and encryption keys should always be physically and logically separate from the data they protect. In addition, companies that deal with sensitive data such medical records and credit card payments must take extra measures to ensure their cloud provider adheres to specific industry standards to prevent liability.
Choose to create a secure STAR environment
STAR stands for secure, trusted and audit-ready. A secure STAR cloud environment, therefore, is one that adheres to the highest standards of security, complies with industry regulations and has the resilience to withstand the most adverse events. Since businesses that use cloud services are essentially entrusting large portions of their IT operations to an outside third party, it’s critical that businesses and cloud providers work together to build a cooperative partnership of trust.
Because risk, even when minimised, is an inherent part of the cloud technology, there must be open lines of communication and transparency from the start. Service agreements must be in place and both parties must have a clear understanding of expectations and policies should any issues arise so they can be handled in an efficient and straightforward manner.
Offering lower cost, scalable infrastructure, universal data access and more, it’s clear that cloud computing is here to stay. Instead of fearing the cloud, businesses should educate themselves on all aspects of cloud technology and work towards finding the right cloud service provider with whom they can build a long-term relationship of reliability and trust.