Businesses storing data in the cloud, and using cloud-based applications are continuing to grow at a rapid rate. Working with cloud providers offers a host of advantages from reduced costs to superior security. But, there is never 100 percent guarantee information will stay safe, and you have to do your homework to determine the most appropriate provider, and ensure you are taking all the necessary steps to keep information safe. Here are just a few important considerations on which to chew.
Identify Assets and Assign Value
It is important you review your various types of data you are considering moving to the cloud, and value those assets. Examples include accounting data, infrastructure such as operating systems or your customer relationship management system. How valuable are these assets, and what would happen in the event you couldn’t access software for the day, or even just an hour. What would be the repercussions of hackers stealing information or the provider losing your data? This evaluation will help determine the level of security appropriate for your data, and guide you towards choosing a cloud computing security provider that can best meet your needs.
Get References from Other Clients
References from other clients are an important element in choosing a cloud service provider that offers the most secure environments for your data. It is a good idea to speak with businesses similar to yours to get a good idea of what you can expect from this provider. If you really want extra peace of mind, get references from clients who have very stringent security measures in place, such as government, insurance, financial and healthcare organizations.
Assess Your Liabilities
When it comes to moving data to the cloud, naturally one of the biggest concerns is breaches that expose sensitive information such as customer’s financial data, ‘trade secrets’ and the like. It is important to assess your liability in the event certain types of information go missing. Something proprietary to your company won’t be an issue, but your customer’s credit card data, will. Even though the breach occurred with the cloud provider, the information is yours and you chose to store it there, so you will be left holding the back, not them.
Vet the Security of the Data Center
One of the biggest reasons businesses are moving more of their data to the cloud is the enhanced level of security they would not be able to provide on their own. But, this does not mean you should assume all cloud providers offer the highest level of protection, or have the appropriate certifications. Find out the exact location of the data center and server where your information would be stored. Then, inquire about whether they are SOC 2, SAS 70 and SSAE 16 audited. Do they have any clients that are PCI or HIPAA certified? What sort of managed services do they offer to increase security measures? Reputable data centers typically offer services such as antivirus, intrusion detection and managed firewalls.
These are just a few concerns. Don’t rush the move to the cloud, nor your choosing of a provider. Do your due diligence. Ask questions.