The number of individuals working and playing on the cloud has increased every year. Today, we rarely email photos, we log on to our Instagram account and upload them. USB flash drive use is down as we now load documents to the cloud to access, edit and share from anywhere in the world. The cloud has changed the way we share information and is quickly becoming a place where data is permanently kept and managed.
Many businesses have not fully embraced the cloud. Their biggest concern involves security. While safety of personal photos is certainly less of a concern than keeping proprietary corporate data secure, the fact is the cloud is essentially as safe, or safer than many on-premise systems. In fact, the IT structure of the cloud holds potential for organizations to improve their overall information security.
Some Security Concerns
For most businesses, control of information is vital. Many CIOs feel that hosting sensitive information on a third party, multi-user system is a complete loss of control. Cloud providers understand these concerns and are working diligently to address them. In fact, several providers have built their entire networks around providing facilities, services, and policies allowing complete control and transparency over data and information systems.
As a general rule, cloud providers offer a level of security that far exceeds most corporate or private cloud networks. Because of shared hosting, cloud providers enjoy the economies of scale when it comes to installing and maintaining security. This leverage allows for even greater control of critical information than on-premise hosting.
Another concern among CIOs revolves around the shared hosting structure. Server sharing can raise red flags among the uniformed. The fact is, even though multiple tenants reside on a single physical server, virtualization allows each tenant to function in complete isolation. The use of hypervisor technology allows the installation of individual firewalls just like your in-house corporate network.
Data Security Tips
Keeping data secure on most cloud platforms is really a non-issue. If you’re still concerned, here are a few tips to help you tackle the privacy issue:
1. Avoid keeping sensitive information on the cloud.
Begin your relationship with the cloud cautiously. Whenever possible, avoid keeping sensitive information on your cloud server. You can still realize significant benefits like document sharing and collaboration, while keeping truly sensitive information safe.
2. Read and understand the user agreement.
Sure it’s a lot of information, but in order to verify security, read and understand the user agreement. It will explain exactly how your provider’s cloud storage works and any options you might have to increase security levels.
3. Be serious when it comes to passwords.
Keep passwords for various services like server access and email unique. Always use longer, preferable random words like “spaghetti.” Your other passwords can then be variations like “spaghettimail” or “spaghettiskype.” This means you have to remember only your core password and tack on the service, easy to remember and still unique!
4. Encrypt all sensitive data!
Encryption is still the most effective way to keep data secure. Whether you encrypt before you upload, or use a provider that offers encryption, password protected data is doubly safe. Not only does your provider cover security in the event your data is breeched, the hacker will still have to hack your encryption.
The cloud has changed how work gets done, and it’s here to stay. Keeping data secure on the cloud is possible and the benefits for your employees and company far outweigh any risks. Migrating at least some of your company’s IT to the cloud is a smart business decision.
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