How to get past the confidence crisis in cloud computing
More and more businesses are considering adopting cloud computing, drawn by the huge savings and benefits the cloud can provide. However, a perceived lack of confidence in cloud-based technologies is seen as one of the biggest barriers to adoption.
This is why there are a number of key issues suppliers need to address for the cloud to become the commercial success we claim it to be, like: transparency, reliability, accountability and security of operations.
It’s clear that cloud computing can deliver significant value to organizations. In a study commissioned by Microsoft in June 2013, strong majorities of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) experienced security benefits (94%), increased privacy protection (62%), and improved service availability (75%) after adopting cloud services.
After reading these results you would think companies are past the confidence crisis in cloud computing, but in my experience, as you examine your options for building the cloud into your organization’s future, it’s important to assess your readiness to make the move.
For all its advantages, cloud computing still makes some firms a little uncomfortable, simply because it requires us to think about our data in a different way. But if cloud computing is done correctly your data will be secure.
In fact, cloud computing offers a level of physical and electronic security that an on-site server or a locked file cabinet can’t begin to approach. If you choose your hosting company carefully and approach implementation with the right knowledge and expectations, the process can be surprisingly easy.
I personally believe that it’s best to look at your relationship with your cloud computing provider as an ongoing partnership rather than a vendor-customer relationship. Consider them an extension of your business.
Most cloud computing providers take extraordinary measures to keep your data safe on their end. But the fact is, the biggest risk to your data comes from inside the firm, from miss-routed data and other simple mistakes to outright data theft by employees.
These are some of the steps that enterprises can take for better protection of data in the cloud:
Learn what security controls the service providers have in place to protect your data – Enterprises need to determine how the cloud service provider protects user data. The service providers should implement strong encryption standards for better security. Encryption has over time proved to be the most secure method for protecting data in the cloud. The keys used for encrypting sensitive customer data should be managed effectively by periodic key rotation and re-encryption of data with new keys.
Train your employees – The employees need to be trained regarding how to manage and store sensitive user data. They should be educated about new cloud security threats and vulnerabilities so that they can effectively handle and respond to security breaches.
Consider access control policies – Make sure that you have strong access control policies in place to prevent unauthorized access to data. The cloud storage companies should implement effective security controls like strong passwords, longer keys, or complex hash algorithms that will make it difficult for anyone to access your data.
Evaluate the cloud service provider’s incident response – Before moving to cloud services, businesses should evaluate a cloud service provider’s incident response plan in case of a data breach. Given the increased rate of data breaches, it is extremely important to know how the cloud service providers respond to security breaches, and what their disaster recovery plans involve.
It’s a shame that we still seem to face the same barriers when it comes to cloud adoption as we were discussing a few years ago, but the options are there for businesses to pick a cloud model that works for them in the long term. So, do you trust the cloud?
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