Security in the cloud remains a top issue for companies and enterprises. Perhaps even more of an issue today than when the cloud was first being developed. When cloud computing first emerged, everyone knew it was a security risk. So the only users of cloud computing were well aware that additional security measures must be taken in order to protect data in the cloud. But with the extreme surge in popularity, cloud computing suddenly sees users of all skill levels- from novice first-time users to experienced professionals. The problem is that security challenges are the same for both. Company officials must analyze the risks and the value and determine the proper procedure for their company.
Security is often overlooked or taken for granted
Many CIOs already have (or want to have) a cloud strategy. The company takes security very seriously but just how seriously do the employees take it? Company officers can send out memos, educate employees, and warn them of the consequences, but when it comes down to it, there are still users that will use “password” as their password. This is the most commonly used password in the world today. For all the technology available for the cloud today, there is still very little to compensate for human error or oversight.
As more companies implement various forms of “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD), the security challenges grow. Not only for the IT department, but for the managers whose employees are using a variety of devices and services to access company data. Once again, the managers take security seriously; the IT department is taking security seriously, but what about the employees? They are so comfortable using their devices that security will often be taken for granted or just overlooked all-together. The convenience of cloud services helps employees more efficiently perform their duties and speeds up the time it takes to complete tasks. And this brings up another problem.
Convenience over security
Yes, it’s true- most users will choose convenience over security. They believe that they are too low-profile for hackers to target them or they take for granted that data can not be stolen from their device. Security checks and protocols may slow them down a little bit and in the frenetic-paced world of technology, this can be enough for users to ignore certain security precautions when dealing with company data. Two-step authentication is an important security measure that most cloud providers have implemented, or are in the process of implementing. But if the employee turns off two-step authentication because the extra security step takes too long or causes inconvenience, it could possibly put company data at risk.
One of the problems companies face is that users and employees become comfortable with the way they use their device or the way they use certain cloud services. If the company won’t allow them to work comfortably, the work may slack off as the worker loses interest. This is the problem some companies and enterprises face. Do you allow employees free reign to work as they choose and hope they maintain security during the course of their tasks? Or do you tighten the reigns and risk losing valuable employees?
Many companies have implemented monitoring software on all devices that deal with company data. That way, the IT department can monitor for security leaks, breaches or threats. Once again- this is a problem for employees that value their privacy. They don’t want the IT guys snooping through their text messages and photos. This has forced many employees to carry two smartphones- one for personal use and one for company use.
Cloud ToS: Who owns the data?
It’s your company’s data, you should own it, right? Be sure to read the Terms of Service (ToS) of every cloud provider you do business with. Some cloud providers may be a little vague in their ToS about who exactly owns the data you upload. You want to be absolutely sure that you own 100% of your data, no matter what happens. This is one reason that many industries, such as medical and healthcare, have not ventured into the cloud yet. Many of these companies are not yet sure about not having complete control over their data.
There is also the fear of “lock-in.” This is when a cloud provider’s ToS prevent your company from using your own data on any other cloud providers so that your data can only be used on their site. Sometimes they even have rules preventing companies from moving their own data off of the cloud site easily. There are ways to prevent cloud lock-in, but many companies are not willing to migrate until the rules change.
Retaining control over your data
As stated above, your company data should remain yours at all times. But you need to take certain steps to ensure that company data remains in control of the company, no matter what happens. Accounts have been wrongfully terminated for ToS violations and other forms of data loss have occurred for other reasons. The biggest and most common reason is human error, the cloud is unable to compensate for that at this time. This is why you must have a solid backup plan from cloudHQ in place. You need to be able to automatically and continuously replicate your data from your main cloud provider to a backup cloud account. This ensures that YOU retain control over your data and it also prevents all possibilities of a cloud lock-in. If data loss occurs for ANY reason, you have a complete and secure backup of all your data stored in another cloud account. If you lose access to your cloud account, if it gets wrongfully terminated, or if it just goes down for maintenance, you will still have full and complete access to your data at all times. You can switch from your main cloud service to the backup cloud service in seconds and continue working with your data uninterrupted. Even if your cloud provider’s ToS makes it clear that your data is your data, things can happen. Why take the chance of losing valuable company data? Keep the control of your data in your hands at all times with cloudHQ.