So you’ve made the move to cloud computing, but you’re hearing all sorts of rumbles about security issues. What do you do? Because cloud storage involves making access to the information you’re storing easier for employees on the goal and because most people who use cloud computing go through a third-party managed services provider, there is always a concern about data security. To make sure your information is secure, follow these tips when getting onto the cloud.
One common mistake that a lot of people make is placing all their assets on a cloud database or, even worse, making arbitrary decisions as to what gets ported over and what stays on in-house storage devices. The better way of handling this situation is to evaluate your data and place a value on what is absolutely needed and what information should remain carefully guarded for confidentiality reasons. This will allow you to port over the assets that you have a lower value on to cloud storage so you can save space on your business network while also making sure that those items that should absolutely remain under your control do so. It also gives you a guideline to follow in future storage decisions.
When it comes to the possibility of data loss or theft, you need to ask yourself a few questions. What would happen if the data and any backup copies of it were lost for good? What sort of individual might be motivated to steal your information and why? In this regard, confidential client information can be very damaging if lost. Customer financial data, such as credit cards or account numbers, tends to be targeted most by hackers and information thieves. Information that is proprietary to your company and thus protected by intellectual property law is less dangerous if stolen, but can be quite damaging if lost for good. A liability assessment helps you keep your priorities in perspective.
Do you work in education, healthcare, or a financial institution? If so, then you probably have compliance regulations set by the government. Even if you are aware of these regulations, you should take the time to review them when making any decisions involving the storage or maintenance of your data, since the laws tend to change frequently and without notice. Your compliance needs should play a major factor when it comes to your cloud security situation. In many cases, you can still use a managed services provider to store that data, but you need to remember that you are still the party responsible for it and can still be held liable if any of that information is lost or stolen.
Most managed services providers boast top of the line security and confidentiality, but it’s important to know exactly what they mean about that. You should do your research ahead of time, reviewing what your provider is offering and evaluating how that will fit in with your security needs. You should definitely examine the provider’s own website and service listings, but you should also get some other unbiased opinions as well. Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been levied against the provider. If there are user reviews of the service available online, read them and evaluate how those reviews might pertain to your own business. Who you pick is extremely important.
Most managed services providers are willing to work with a client the details of a specific contract. While a provider might have a generic contract that it uses by default, there’s nothing stopping them from making the adjustments you request, as long as those requests are reasonable. Before signing into any agreement, make sure you read it thoroughly and think about how it can be improved to best meet your security and compliance needs. Suggest these changes to your provider, and you will usually find that the provider is willing to work with you to give you the deal you want. If you can’t get the changes you want or need, shop around to see if other providers will meet your needs.
There is no reason why companies that need even the most secure data storage methods can’t utilize at least some cloud technology. As long as you consider your own security and compliance needs and are ready to negotiate with your provider, you should be able to get exactly what your business needs.