Fighting Your IT Fears: Five Tips For Better Cloud Security

Mark Flesch
Author: Mark Flesch Date: 09/13/2016

Are there security concerns in cloud computing? It's a safe bet: more than one IT professional has likely woken up in a cold sweat, convinced that an upcoming cloud move will open their organization to significant security risk. No surprise, then, that the cloud security market is on track to reach almost $12 billion in the next six years as businesses look for ways to leverage the agility and flexibility of cloud computing while minimizing risk. Here are five quick tips to improve cloud security, and your sleeping habits:

1. Prioritize Placement

For many IT professionals, the benefits of cloud computing are balanced by what they see or perceive as cloud computing risks. As noted by, however, there's a simple way to solve this problem if you're just starting a move to the cloud: keep confidential information close to home. Think of it like a trial run: use the cloud for often-accessed files and documents that aren't confidential or required for regulatory compliance. You get the benefit of cloud service without the specter of serious data loss.

2. Always Encrypt

Over time, you'll want to move critical line-of-business (LoB) data onto secure cloud servers. But what happens if another client on the same public server is hacked, or your vendor is somehow compromised? By encrypting data in-house or by using a third-party service, you significantly reduce the value of this information to an attacker.

Your best bet is to look for a vendor that offers “zero knowledge.” In this scenario, not even your cloud provider has any knowledge of your encryption method; local admins hold the key. Even if your provider had its database hacked or a government agency demanded access, your files stay safe: only you can unlock their contents.

3. Outsource With Care

According to ITProPortal, there comes a time when most businesses use enough services and store enough data in the cloud that security-as-a-service (SECaaS) starts to make sense. The key? Outsource with care. Look for a vendor that offers customizable security solutions and total transparency: you need to know exactly how your data is protected, how new threats are detected, and how the company will respond in the event of an attack.

4. Pay Attention To Personnel

While outsiders can pose a serious threat to cloud security, IT admins also need to manage internal threats. In many cases, employees and executives don't mean to compromise security but do so out of ignorance or in an effort to quickly complete their current task. To manage insider actions you need a reliable cloud-monitoring tool that permits greater scrutiny of those with greater access: what are they accessing, when and why? It's also critical to offer security training in proportion to access — those with permission to move or alter valuable data need more training and clear expectations for use.

5. Drill Down To Devices

The last tip for better cloud security? Target devices on your network. With most users now accessing the cloud through their smartphone or tablet, it's not enough to secure desktops; mobile devices with corporate network access must include application management tools to separate personal and professional data, in addition to patch management solutions that ensure app security is always up to date.

Moving to the cloud is a daunting prospect for many IT pros, and one that causes security concerns. But you can reduce the stress by having a plan that includes prioritizing what you’ll put in the cloud, encrypting sensitive information so even your host vendor has no knowledge of your methods, outsourcing your security, and keeping an eye on employees and their devices with the right monitoring tools and conducting appropriate training.

Beginner's Guide to Cloud Computing Inforgraphic

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Written by Mark Flesch

Mark joined the Gordon Flesch Company in 2008, rising from Account Executive to Vice President of Sales, Eastern Region. Today, he is Chief Operating Officer of the Gordon Flesch Company.

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