5 Steps for Protecting Cloud Data SecurityBy shellydutton, Published on August 12, 2013
“The cloud” is much more than just a network of interconnected remote servers or a clever buzzword. It’s an Internet of everything that is quickly transforming how businesses and their customers interact with each other. Whether you’re streaming a video, depositing a check into your bank account, or checking your e-mail, everything you touch, download, and do is being tracked and analyzed by companies that want your business.
Is your data really safe?The news media has recently reported hacking attempts and intrusions that have struck a number of businesses and governments across the world. For some, this form of thievery has led to life-changing disasters – including identity theft, lost investments, exposure of trade secrets, and compromised homeland security.
And in a business environment where vendors come and go at a moment’s notice, the fear of “the cloud” is further heightened with the idea that an outside vendor or service provider stores and manages an organization’s data – including valuable intellectual property, highly sensitive documents, and customer information and records.
Secure your cloudTo safeguard themselves from these attacks, tech-savvy companies are adopting a comprehensive and holistic approach to security. By focusing on the data and understanding how it flows into and throughout the enterprise, these companies are better equipped to deal with the challenges that inevitably happen in cloud environments. They then knit these defenses into the fabric of their cloud platforms from the very beginning and constantly reevaluate their needs as technology and business requirements evolve.
According to a study conducted by Oxford Economics, companies that are successfully securing their cloud data are taking great care to:
- Tear down silos – Gaps and breakdowns may occur when different departments or divisions procure cloud services. Integrate services and platforms to help ensure that tools, systems, and strategies function comprehensively.
- Adopt strong integration tools and practices – Do not underestimate the value of integration tools and service providers. The right tools and a dedicated team can help your business establish stringent processes and rules for securing your data and complying with legal requirements.
- Develop solid communications with cloud providers – Understand your role and responsibility, the service-level agreement (SLA), and your third party’s certifications. Stay informed on security protections being offered and how and when maintenance, patches, and upgrades will take place.
- Implement data-centric controls – Once you’ve identified and classified your data, develop a strategy for ensuring that data is managed, accessed, and stored in a secure way. This may include system visibility, VM tools, role-based authentication, encryption, firewalls, 24×7 video surveillance and monitoring systems, and numerous other tools.
- Insist on complete oversight – Ensure full knowledge of operations at any given moment. This translates into a need for comprehensive auditing, user tracking, ongoing risk assessment, regular compliance inspection, and consistent reporting.