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Posted August 17, 2017 in Cloud

How to Safeguard Data in the Cloud

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If there’s one obstacle that has stood in the way of wider cloud adoption, it’s the issue of cyber security. Cloud advocates have had to face questions regarding the platform’s integrity and security for years, as potential adopters worried that a move to the cloud would leave their critical systems vulnerable to cyber attack.

Although many myths regarding cloud security have been proven false, some organizations hesitate to fully embrace this technology even today. According to RightScale’s 2017 State of the Cloud report, while 85 percent of enterprises leverage multiple cloud environments, a quarter of respondents cited cloud security as a primary concern. Small and medium-sized businesses, in particular, may be more apprehensive about committing to the cloud as they are less likely to have extensive experience working with it.

Clearly, there is still work to be done to assuage fears regarding cloud data security and instill confidence in these platforms. This is especially true when it comes to sending business-critical assets to the cloud. To get the most of cloud services, businesses need to overcome their security concerns and embrace this technology. Safeguarding your cloud data is the first step to a brighter tomorrow.

Keep your eyes on the sky

One of the concerns associated with cloud security is the possibility of opening up new attack vectors and points of vulnerability for hackers to exploit. Working with a third-party cloud provider does create new endpoints, and new endpoints expand your threat topography.

That’s all the more reason to implement network and system monitoring tools that keep a watchful eye on your endpoints, cloud environments, and on-prem databases. These solutions should go beyond mere threat list-based tools and actively search for suspicious behaviour. Today’s threats are pretty sophisticated, and cyber security teams will be more likely to identify potential breaches by looking at questionable activity rather than explicitly malicious actors.

Look at questionable activity rather than explicitly malicious actors.

Account for compliance concerns

The fallout from a data breach stretches far beyond the incident itself. In addition to the immediate cost of a breach, victims could face lost revenue due to an eroded company image and client churn as well as extensive fines from regulatory bodies. The two primary data security and privacy guidelines facing Canadian companies are the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and 2015’s Data Privacy Act. Combined, these regulations dictate how consumer data should be protected and how organizations should respond in the event of a breach.

The digital world rarely recognizes country’s borders, however, and data privacy compliance has quickly become an international concern. For example, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, set to go into effect May 2018, is not limited to businesses based in the EU. GDPR applies to any company in the world that has access to European consumer data. GDPR’s guidelines are extensive and the potential financial penalty for violation is significant, topping out at nearly $30 million or 4 percent of a company’s annual global turnover.

When it comes to compliance, you need to dot every “i” and cross every “t.” If you’re unsure at all about where you stand in regards to domestic or international data privacy regulations, don’t hesitate to reach out to a consultant for assistance. Speaking of which …

Work with a cloud vendor you can trust

There’s no way to get around it: When you work in the cloud, you are putting your data, systems and other assets in the hands of a third party. If that external organization cannot be trusted to securely handle your business’s critical information and applications, you need to reconsider that relationship.

Be sure to thoroughly vet your cloud service providers and take a look through the past track record. Is it filled with successful partnerships and happy clients? Or is it littered with cautionary tales? Choosing the right vendor can make or break any cloud deployment, so it’s well-worth the effort to do a little legwork ahead of time.

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