As cloud computing applications and cloud storage become increasingly common, both privacy and data security are taking on a new importance. The cloud computing model offers some major benefits when it comes to catering to clients’ needs, including increased mobility and streamlined communications, but it also carries significant security risks.
Organizations need to be aware of potential threats to private information and take steps to mitigate these through increased vigilance and security solutions that work. Whether you’ve already made the move to the cloud or you’re on the road to doing so, you should take the time to examine the risks to your data.
Potential Security Issues in the Cloud
Customers want to be sure that their data is safe right now, and that it will continue to be safe in the future. To that end, when selecting or building a cloud service to host your or your clients’ data, it’s important to ask yourself some questions:
- Is the cloud computing infrastructure (servers, applications, etc.) secure?
- Does the owner of the data maintain control of how their information is used?
- What steps or actions does the service plan to take in the event of a security breach?
Whether you are contracting with an external cloud computing service or developing a cloud application of your own, these are issues that need to be addressed. Your clients need to know that you have a commitment to helping them maintain both the security and the privacy of their personal information.
Solutions for Maintaining Security and Privacy
For maximum data security, cloud services providers need to ensure that customers’ information is secure at three different points during the data lifecycle: 1) when a client logs in or out, 2) when it is being transferred to or from the service, and 3) when it is resting in storage on the cloud. If steps are not taken at each of these three touch points to keep data secure, it is at risk of being stolen or corrupted.
- Authentication is usually the preferred method of maintaining customer privacy. Clients are asked to provide a username and password that is then passed to the server to ensure that the user is authorized to access specific information.
- Data should be transferred using a secure connection to and from the servers. This makes it difficult for outsiders to see and capture information.
- Data needs to be encrypted while stored on the servers themselves. This provides an added layer of security in case of data loss. Encryption keys should be stored on a separate server from the data itself.
If your cloud computing service is lacking in any of these areas, you may consider going with a different service or storing the data in house until a suitable solution can be provided.
What steps are you taking to ensure the integrity of your data in the cloud?
Alexia Mccormick is a writer for Netop. When Alexia is not writing, she enjoys sewing and learning about advancements in education. Netop is a leader in classroom management, live chat software solutions and secure remote access for business and educational institutions for almost three decades.