Security and Cloud Computing – Important Factors to Consider

Security and Cloud Computing – Important Factors to Consider

Migrating business applications to the cloud offers many long-term benefits, such as reduced overhead and practically unlimited scalability and accessibility. At the same time, choosing the right cloud provider can be a daunting process.

Although there are many factors to consider, security should never be overlooked when it comes to the cloud. According to a recent study by Symantec, more businesses are migrating to the cloud, which means more hackers will target cloud accounts in the near future.

Aside from choosing a provider who has an impeccable track record when it comes to cybersecurity, there are some other important considerations that apply across the board.

#1. Data Residency
With an on-premises infrastructure, you know exactly where your data is stored, and you have complete control over it.

Easily one of the biggest security concerns that businesses have when migrating to the cloud is where their data is going to end up. It is particularly important that your cloud vendor can tell you precisely where your data is kept and provide a complete line of sight into its location.

Data residency also concerns any legal and regulatory obligations that apply in whichever country or region the data is located.

#2. User Authentication
Accessibility is one of the greatest advantages of cloud computing, but the ability to access your web-based resources from anywhere also presents security challenges.

At the most basic level, user authentication may require nothing more than entering a username and password. This might be fine for accessing non-critical resources that don’t contain any sensitive data, but most systems should have a more robust method in place that uses multi-factor authentication. In other words, you’ll want to make use of things like SMS and email authentication in addition to strong passwords.

Another important element of authentication is access management. This allows you to set file access privileges to certain users and devices, minimizing the chances of frontline employees stumbling into highly-classified executive documents.

#3. Automated Backups
Having all data backed up exclusively on-premises is a shining example of putting all your eggs in one basket. The cloud, however, provides online storage, making it a critical component in any disaster recovery and business continuity strategy.

Most cloud providers offer a backup solution for synchronizing your data between local machines and online storage or keeping redundant copies of cloud-based resources. Automation is also particularly important because it negates the risk of human error and ensures that you always have a backup to fall back on.

#4. API Vulnerabilities
Many cloud providers offer open application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow users to develop their own applications and services and thus customize their cloud environment.

Nonetheless, APIs also present some inherent security challenges, since their very existence can provide hackers with an additional set of exploitable security vulnerabilities. To mitigate the threat of insecure APIs, businesses should always prioritize security whenever having custom apps developed.

#5. Public Clouds
Cloud computing platforms come in three flavors – public, private and hybrid.

Public clouds are hosted in enormous data centers operated by the world’s biggest cloud providers, such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. With the public cloud, you’ll be sharing computing resources with other customers, although your services will be delivered in the form of a virtualized container that keeps your data separate.

However, this sharing and distribution of resources also makes the public cloud more vulnerable. That’s why, for mission-critical data and to meet compliance regulations, many companies choose to implement a hybrid system or even have their own private cloud hosted remotely or on-premises.

The cloud has opened up many great opportunities for small businesses seeking to take advantage of the latest technology without breaking the bank. However, to ensure a secure and effective deployment, you’ll need to partner with the right provider. That’s why WhiteOwl offers the expertise and the full range of services you need to bring your company into the modern age of technology. Call us today to request a free IT assessment.

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