The Silver Lining In Your Cloud TM

Cloud Security Concerns and You: Is the Cloud Safe for Your Business?

Data security is an ever-present concern for businesses of all sizes. Massive data breaches continue to make headlines, despite the best efforts of corporations to prevent the intrusions.

The potential impact of a data breach cannot be underestimated, especially given the sheer number of records and accounts that can be stolen during a breach. In a Huffington Post article, nine of the biggest known data breaches were collated into a single list. These breaches ranged from 56 million records stolen at the low end, and upwards of 160 million records at the high end.

The motives and tactics used in these hacks varied from one target to the next. Incidents such as these data breaches have caused business owners and IT managers in countless companies to ask one vital question—Is the cloud safe for my business?

Cloud security concerns should be thoroughly considered and addressed before moving a business’ infrastructure to the cloud.

Here’s a short list of common cloud security concerns and how a secure cloud solution may address them:

Concern #1: My Company Won’t Be in Full Control of the Infrastructure

One of the underlying reasons that many companies assume that the cloud may be less secure than an on-premises infrastructure is that using a hosted cloud solution moves some elements of managing the infrastructure out from their direct control.

The truth is that, while control over certain aspects of the IT infrastructure will be lessened on the cloud, this does not necessarily reduce security. In fact, moving your hardware and infrastructure to a hosted service can actually improve security by limiting employee access to it.

Matt Davies, senior director of EMEA marketing at Splunk, highlighted a key reason why in an interview with Information Age, stating that employees “are physically removed from where the data is stored and don’t have the personal relationships with the person who does have access to the data… the lack of physical access and relationships with people could make data in the cloud more secure.”

This is particularly useful for keeping disgruntled employees from being able to steal data right off of the company’s IT hardware.

Concern #2: The Cloud Provider’s Security Won’t Be Tough Enough

In the face of massive data breaches that compromise hundreds of millions of sensitive records and files, it’s sensible for a company to want the toughest security money can buy for their IT infrastructure.

Large enterprise businesses spend millions on adding the best security measures to their in-house infrastructures. However, most businesses cannot afford that level of capital expenditure for something not directly related to their core products or services.

Hosted cloud services can give businesses access to top of the line security measures without the upfront capital expense. For many cloud service providers, investments in strong security are a part of the core business that helps differentiate the provider from competitors.

For example, a secure cloud environment will offer users the following:

  • Strong perimeter firewall
  • Internal firewalls for individual app & databases
  • Antivirus
  • Encryption services
  • Strong physical security for cloud hardware

Using the cloud allows businesses to take advantage of these security measures while reducing CAPEX costs for acquiring them internally.

Additionally, the cloud service provider will have personnel dedicated to managing these security measures—freeing up the user’s internal IT resources to focus on tasks that grow the business.

Concern #3: Using the Cloud Will Impede My Ability to Meet Compliance Standards

For many businesses, the ability to meet or exceed certain compliance standards can make or break the success of the business. Meeting security compliance standards helps businesses establish themselves as safe and reliable partners.

There are often concerns that using the cloud can somehow impede a business’ ability to meet basic compliance standards such as ISO 27001, PCI, or HIPAA. Depending on the cloud used, these concerns may even be justified.

To meet the requirements of a specific Information Security Management System (ISMS), businesses need strong security measures in place. This is something that commodity clouds may not provide, as they may treat certain security measures as an extra-cost add-on rather than a basic element of their service.

So, when vetting potential cloud partners, it is vital for a business to choose a cloud provider with strong compliance and security tools.

Because, with the right cloud service partner, businesses can dispel many of the biggest cloud security concerns.