Like real clouds, cloud services have holes. The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) has warned that the shared and on-demand nature of cloud computing introduces the possibility of new security risks that can erase any gains made by the switch to cloud technology1.
Below is a list of five ways enterprises can minimize security risks when moving to the cloud.
1. Replicate local security measures
Organizations can curtail the danger to their applications and data in the cloud if they replicate the same security processes that have worked for them on premise in the cloud, wherever possible. This measure will also build confidence in moving data over to the virtual cloud given that tried and tested methods will be employed to protect data.
2. Have a thorough understanding of your cloud service provider
It’s imperative to investigate a cloud service provider before any decision is made to adopt their services. Experienced providers understand the specific security needs of different industries, have multiple security measures available and provide timely and accessible support. Adequate understanding and careful review of any agreement to be made with a provider is also essential, especially with regard to their data breach policy as this is critical for handling emergencies.
3. Use encryption and multifactor authentication
The massive amount of data normally stored in the cloud makes the prospect of a data breach frightening since there’s a lot to lose. The CSA has recommended organizations use multifactor authentication and encryption to protect against data breaches of the cloud. A comprehensive security solution should also employ ongoing data monitoring.
4. Limit security risks prior to migration
When companies make the decision to transfer data and applications to the cloud, prior to the migration taking place, pre-emptive steps can be taken to reduce the security risks once the move is actually made. For example, CIOs can ensure their staff are trained with how to use the cloud securely once it is instituted in order to avoid security mishaps arising from human error following migration.
5. Have a cloud strategy in place
Gartner estimates that less than one-third of enterprises have a documented cloud strategy and even with the increasing adoption of the cloud, mapping out a cloud strategy is still perplexing to CIOs. This is unfortunate, because a cloud strategy can help ensure an organization is fully up to speed regarding how to protect data. An effective strategy should encompass all dimensions of security, including how to keep data secure, what to do if data is breached, what data is too risky to move to the cloud (such as confidential data) and so forth.