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How to Offset the Security Risks of Cloud Computing

As technology continues to rapidly change and evolve, more and more businesses and governments are shifting their workloads to the cloud. And for good reason.

Not only does the cloud allow dynamically scalable storage, compute, and management, but it also provides unprecedented access to data and systems from anywhere at any time over the internet.

Despite all the benefits of cloud-based systems, many organizations are still resistant to making the transition due to lingering concerns about data security in cloud computing.

If you find yourself in this category, keep reading to gain a better understanding of the complexities of cloud computing and how you can ensure your data and systems remain secure.

What Is Cloud Computing?

Cloud Computing is a term that refers to the method of delivering computing services through the internet (or “the Cloud”).

These services can include:

  • Servers
  • Storage
  • Databases
  • Networking
  • Software
  • Analytics
  • Artificial Intelligence

The goal of the cloud is to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and the ability to rapidly scale.

A benefit of this is lower costs, as you are only paying for cloud services rather than physical software, allowing you to lower your capital costs while gaining more control over your operating costs, run your infrastructure more efficiently, and better adapt to your changing business needs.

Other key benefits include:

  • Higher performance
  • Faster speed
  • Increased productivity
  • Reliability

Risks Involved in Cloud Computing

Just like any software system, cloud computing has vulnerabilities, which means there are some risks involved when using the cloud. These risks can include:

Loss of Data

Cloud computing means giving up some level of control when it comes to your data and placing your trust in your cloud service provider.

While this frees up time on your end and allows you to turn your focus towards other areas of your business, there is always a risk that sensitive data could end up lost due to something as simple as human error.

Having important data compromised due to deletion, alteration, or storing data on an unreliable medium, is a serious threat that can cost your business significantly.

Malware Infections

Because data is stored on the cloud, an internet connection is required to access it, increasing the risk for potential cyberattacks. If you can access it, then others may try as well.

Malware (malicious software) is an umbrella term used to describe any type of malicious program or code that can be incredibly harmful and damaging to systems.

This can include:

Legal/Compliance Issues

With legislation on data protection increasing, staying compliant is now more difficult than ever.

Therefore, companies need to have firm rules in place to dictate who can access what data and what they are able to do with it.

But with such ease of access when it comes to data stored in the cloud, it can be difficult to keep track of who is able to access this information.

Data Breaches

If a cloud service experiences a security breach, hackers could potentially access important files and data, not only putting your information at risk, but also harming your reputation and interrupting business operations.

System Vulnerabilities

System vulnerabilities are weak spots within software that hackers can easily infiltrate and exploit.

Even in the most advanced and secure systems, these vulnerabilities can occur, making your systems and data susceptible to exploitation.

Tips for Securing Your Data on The Cloud

While cloud computing does come with some risks, that doesn’t necessarily mean your data will inevitably be jeopardized.

In fact, there are several steps you can take to help mitigate these security risks.

Back-Up Data

It goes without saying, but one of the most critical things you need to do is to ensure that you have frequent backups.

For extra protection, offsite backups are also crucial.

Offsite backups involve using a cloud-based storage system to store your backup data files in an offsite location via the internet. Offsite storage servers are highly secure and equipped to protect large amounts of data. It is also possible to create geo redundant backups that are stored in a separate physical location in case one site fails. You could backup on the east coast and have another copy on the west coast.

Use Cloud Services That Offer Local Data Encryption

Always ensure that cloud storage services you are using offer local encryption for your data (data at rest).

This will help to ensure your data is highly secure and protect it from anyone, even service providers and administrators.

Encrypt Your Data

Even if your cloud storage automatically encrypts your data, it’s important to do your own encryption for an extra layer of security.

Install Anti-Virus Software

Sometimes, when a security issue occurs, the problem is not with the cloud service, but the system you have used to log in. Therefore, having anti-virus software installed and making sure it is updated regularly is crucial.

Without the proper protection for your system, you are exposing yourself to viruses that provide penetration points as hackers can easily access your account.

Use Strong Passwords

While this one should be common sense, quite often, security breaches do, in fact, occur due to something as simple as a weak password.

Simply put, the longer and more complex your password is, the safer your data will be.

It’s also important to make sure that passwords are not widely shared amongst employees to avoid them from spreading and ending up in the wrong hands.

However, this alone is not enough. In this day and age, you should be adding an additional layer of security by making Multi Factor Authentication (MFA) mandatory for all employees to ensure your systems are protected against compromised passwords.

Protect Your Network

Add extra security measures by setting up firewalls  between your corporate resources and your cloud services to ensure your network stays protected.

Also set up each system and computer with intrusion prevention and detection, anti-virus software, and malware detection. And make sure you are installing updates as soon as they become available to lower the risk of a breach from occurring.

Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to transfer data in and out of your organization can also protect your information from prying eyes while your data is in transit.

Test Your Security Measures Frequently

Do not assume all files are always secure on the cloud. Carry out frequent penetration tests to test the strength of your system security.

A penetration test allows you to identify any vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers by simulating a cyberattack.

Carrying out this testing regularly is critical, as it allows you to be proactive and fix vulnerabilities before a breach even occurs.

Because, if you are able to gain unauthorized access to your own data, there’s a strong likelihood that hackers will be able to as well.

Employ the Services of a Professional

When in doubt, contact the professionals to help you secure your data and ensure it is protected 24/7 or in the event that a breach does occur.

IDS Systems provides reliable solutions that allow you to continuously backup data and minimize damage in the event of an attack or other disasters.

What to Look for in a Secure Cloud Infrastructure

Unsure of where to start when looking for cloud infrastructure that is also secure? Here are some of the top things you should be looking for.

Secure Network Infrastructure

Although your network may be shared, your cloud infrastructure should have mechanisms in place to ensure your network remains segregated and secure.

Secure Hardware and Firmware

Security controls should be integrated into the firmware and hardware of your cloud infrastructure to ensure that it is always secure and continues to be throughout its lifetime.

Secure Testing and Monitoring

Cybersecurity experts should be employed to protect your infrastructure 24/7 by carrying out exercises to identify vulnerabilities in order to prevent attacks from happening.

IDS DataGuard

IDS DataGuard™ is a comprehensive hybrid cloud-provisioned solution that offers backup and recovery, business continuity, and disaster recovery capabilities all in one.

IDS DataGuard™ can fully replace most backup solutions, and leverages both cloud and virtualization capabilities. This allows your business to completely eliminate tape-based backups.

While Cloud computing has become an inevitable part of adapting to the constantly changing technological world, it’s important to take the right steps to ensure you are not leaving the door open for damaging security breaches and cyber-attacks.

For more information about making the transition to cloud-based solutions and ensuring your data and systems remain secure, contact the experts at IDS Systems today.