Tips for Using Cloud Services More Securely

Cloud consultants

Cloud computing seems to be everywhere. The federal government has plans to move to a cloud computing model for its IT services to lower its data center infrastructure costs by as much as 30%. The seamless integration between development and operations has as nearly 60% of large companies moving their data storage to the cloud. Many firms that are moving to cloud computing are looking at developing strategies and policies for its usage. As many as 80% of companies that use the cloud say they are working on governance policies to cover their cloud computing. As companies look to make the shift to working with the cloud, they are increasingly going to a cloud services broker to help with the transition.

  1. Back up your company’s data. Regardless of where you have your data stored, most cloud consultants argue that the best thing you can do to protect your data is to back it up. Having secure backups is the single best thing you can do to protect your business. This will give you a peace of mind that does not come any other way. The problem is that many companies know that they need to back up their data on a regular basis but few actually do it. This is a problem for large companies and small ones alike. The bottom line is that your business needs to have a policy for backing up your data often.
  2. Keep an eye on your data. You need to know where your company’s data is stored physically. If you are using cloud brokerage services, what would happen to your data if the firm you use goes out of business? What happens if you decide to go with a different cloud services company? You need to employ firewalls and other intrusion detection plans but if you do not know the physical location of your data that is being stored with a cloud provider, you cannot really keep it safe. Ideally, you should be able to identify the machines on which your data is stored. Securing the hardware where your data is stored is a key issue to ask your cloud services brokers about.
  3. Talk to your clients and others in your industry. When you are talking to your cloud services broker, ask for references and recommendations. You need to find a cloud services provider that takes security as seriously as you do. Experts in financial firms, healthcare companies, insurance carriers and government agencies should have good suggestions for where to go to get the most secure cloud services. Do not take the cloud services provider’s word. Try to talk or communicate with their references yourself. You will feel better about the company you go with if you have done this.
  4. How seriously does the cloud provider take security? Do not assume they take it as seriously as you want them to. If your firm has to comply with federal and state regulations on client or patient data, for instance, you need to know that the cloud services company understands this. You will be held responsible if your data does not meet guidelines for the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act. Make sure the cloud services broker understands this.
  5. Hack your own data. The cloud services company looks good. Everything seems secure so what should you do? Test that theory. Have someone try to get into your data. If there are holes in the security plan, you should know what they are and how to fix them before you have problems. You will never really be done testing your security measures and the minute you become complacent with this, someone will find a way to get in. Factor testing into your budget for data storage and cloud services plans.

Keeping your company’s data secure is a prime goal of any storage system. Whether you have migrated to a cloud services provider or not, one of your main goals has to be to keep your data safe and secure from hackers and others who want to get in. There are ways to keep your data as secure with the cloud as anywhere else. Work with your cloud services broker and you will find a provider that works for you.