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With the average data breach now costing companies around $4 million per breach, having a security breach is probably far outside of your budget. If you've decided to move some of your important data onto the cloud, you need to take cloud computing security seriously. Otherwise, you could end up losing customers or, worse, being sued for negligence.
Here are four tips to ensure that you take cloud computing security seriously.
When you want to ensure that you're taking cloud computing seriously, you need to make sure that you're backing up your data constantly. This has got to be one of the most overlooked aspects of working on the cloud. People put so much faith into the cloud because they don't totally understand it.
Look into the fine print of the contract you signed with a cloud servicing company and you'll find that they're not responsible for a whole lot. You could have your entire company wiped out and they wouldn't be responsible for much.
You need to have control over your data no matter what happens. You should keep your data stored off-site on the cloud in case anything happens on your site, but you should also keep data stored on your site just in case. You never know what could happen to the cloud.
Secure your business and afford yourself the peace of mind that you deserve all in one fell swoop. Even companies as big as T-Mobile have had problems with their cloud storage, leaving customers in the lurch.
Don't be undone by putting too much trust in the cloud. It's as fallible as anything else in the world of technology.
While you might think that the cloud is a nebulous network of computers that could be located anywhere, you wouldn't be entirely correct. There is a physical location to your cloud storage.
Let's say you decide to terminate your service one day. If you don't know where your data is located, you don't know whether or not vital company secrets are still living on those servers. If you shared server space with some other small business, your service provider probably didn't wipe the server to get rid of your information.
You also need to know what happens if the data company you're working with goes out of business. If one day they shutter their operation, do they simply sell their servers to another business or do they destroy everything properly? You need to ensure that you were located on a dedicated server to ensure that your data won't end up in someone else's hands.
Better yet, you should think about owning the storage device where your data is located. If you have dedicated hardware that you purchase from the data center, you won't have to worry about anything happening to your data. If you terminate services, you can have your device sent back to you.
If you don't know much about cybersecurity, you might be crossing your fingers just hoping that your cloud service provider knows what they're doing. However, if you know a little bit about security, you can ask smart questions to check that they're doing all the right things.
Asking them if they're abiding by the best security standards is challenging if you don't know what to ask. Check and see if they're SAS 70, SOC 2, and SSAE 16 audited. If you don't know what these things mean, do a little bit of research in advance to give you confidence in asking these questions.
Another thing to check is whether or not they're up to the standards in your industry. If you're in the financial or the healthcare sector, you might be subject to data security standards without realizing it. HIPAA and PCI standards that aren't met by your cloud services provider could leave you subject to scrutiny or even legal trouble.
While you should have all the standard firewalls and antivirus software in place, above all, it needs to be carefully managed. They should offer intrusion detection and even offer you access to see when breaches occur.
It might feel awkward to ask, but it's completely within your rights to ask for references from a potential service provider. Before you trust all of your data and your hard-won customer data with a strange company you don't know, asking for references is normal.
Take everything with a grain of salt because they're sure to send you information about only their best clients. If they can recommend a customer that has needs similar to your own, you can ask important questions to ensure they know what they're doing.
Ask for their most high profile clients. Government organizations, insurance companies, and healthcare specialists have the strictest needs. They can't let anything get out to the wrong person or else their whole system could collapse.
References won't guarantee that you're working with the best company in town but it will provide that they may be a good fit. If you and the company that you're being provided a reference to have similar security needs, it will show that the company understands you.
Ask the companies that you reach out to what they needed services for. Ask what experiences they've had with other companies and why. You could get some valuable insight before you hand over your data to a new cloud provider.
No matter what your budget is, there's going to be a cloud computing security solution to fit your needs. Cloud computing is important to stay competitive no matter what industry you're in, but if you don't maintain security, it could sink your business.
Before you migrate to the cloud, check out our latest guide to prepare.