These days cloud computing is how the vast majority of data-driven businesses approach storage. In fact, just last year Forbes estimated that 77% of enterprises have at least one application or a portion of their enterprise computing infrastructure in the cloud. And many of those companies in industries like tech and manufacturing expect their business to become 100% cloud. Regardless, cloud computing security still remains a legitimate concern.
Especially when those enterprises that utilize cloud apps, platforms, and services expect to invest an annual amount of $3.5 million. Cloud computing definitely isn’t going anywhere, and it has its major advantages as well.
But that doesn’t mean some of the main cloud computing security threats are anything to ignore either. Let’s take a closer look at some of the biggest threats to your network (and business) through the cloud.
Loss of Sensitive Data
If your company is exclusively using the cloud to store all company data, understand the inherent risks associated. Especially if that data is extremely sensitive and not meant for public consumption, including:
- An individual’s health information
- Identification information like social security number, date of birth, driver’s license number, etc.
- Private financial information
- Intellectual property
- Valuable trade secrets
Data breaches are top concerns for any company that relies on digital storage, whether it’s in the cloud or not. However, that doesn’t change the fact that cloud customers should be wary of any vulnerabilities with their cloud provider.
If your operating system is not well protected, you leave your business open to the types of breaches that can cause the loss of extremely sensitive customer and employee information. Malware infections can lead to targeted attacks. If user access credentials are lost, cyber criminals can not only monitor potential transactions, but manipulate and extract more data.
That all depends on the type of attack, of course. Cloud computing gives businesses the benefits of speed, flexibility, and efficiency in scaling (often at a better value). But the sheer amount of data, and the types of public cloud services in use, have created a variety of new ways in which breaches can occur.
Some data breaches may even require full disclosure and notification to any victims.
Depending on your industry, regulations from HIPAA, HITECH, or the EU Data Protection Directive may require businesses to not only admit to a breach but communicate with any potential victims. Especially when those breaches includes the loss of sensitive data.
Though it’s not only the legal and ethical thing to do, those victims may lead to lawsuits and heavy fines from regulators. And what other catastrophic damage could a public data breach lead to?
The complete loss of customer trust.
If your customers (or even employees), don’t feel that they can trust your business with their personal information, you’ll likely lose their business completely.
Data center outages and the ebb and flow of changing markets can affect a company’s bottom line. But the regular loss of customers who feel their information is exposed can do irreparable damage to the same company’s long term reputation and survivability.
We tend to always think of any cyber attacks as coming from some sort of evil, external force. But what about when cloud computing security threats come from inside a company?
It’s important for any company to regulate and monitor which employees have access to any cloud services. Especially for larger enterprises dealing with extremely high volumes of information.
One common insider threat often comes in the form of an employee on the eve of leaving a company. Let’s say that person decides to take sensitive client information, move it to their own private cloud storage and utilize it later while working with a competitor.
For that reason, it’s vital to have the proper organizational systems in place. Make sure that managers and those in leadership roles are aware of which employees have cloud access. Furthermore, any contracts with employees or business partners should be airtight in terms of confidentiality and data sharing.
Loss of Service from Cloud Provider
You can do everything in your business’ power to protect your data and check all the boxes for cloud computing security concerns. But what if you lose the cloud completely?
There are a lot of cloud providers on the market. If the specific provider you chose for your cloud services goes out of business or shuts down completely, you can lose everything.
In some cases a large scale migration might not even be possible at that point, meaning your data could be lost forever without the potential for recovery.
So what should you do?
Know Where You Stand: Have a Recovery Plan
For starters, before you even go into business with a specific cloud provider you should evaluate their business model. Think about your business needs, your budget, and long term goals.
Does it match with your cloud provider? Are they:
- A household name?
- Is their model sustainable?
- Are they successful with other clients, and turning a profit?
You’ll want to analyze any contracts or business agreements for business continuity planning as well. If a situation arose where your provider was struggling, or more importantly, on the verge of shutting down completely – what happens to your data?
Will it be readable? Will your provider be liable for anything lost? Your provider should be able to transfer your data to another provider, or directly to physical storage systems, in the event of bankruptcy or an extended outage.
Make sure any provisions are added to any contract with a cloud service provider before you even think about undergoing a large scale migration. Any refusal or pushback should tell you what you need to know about that provider.
Using More Than One Cloud Provider Increases Security
Along with using hybrid storage systems or physically backing up data in physical locations, it’s not uncommon for larger organizations to use multiple cloud providers. It can reduce the risk of data loss and provides that extra back up should one provider go out of business.
It also adds another layer of flexibility and organization. For instance, you might separate specific data or applications to separate providers. In the event of any problems with one provider, in depth how the other’s systems work.
However, there’s certainly an increased risk of complication. Expanding your network and growing your business is exciting, but spreading data between multiple providers can get confusing. Simply put, it’s always easier to work with a singular system.
Be Ready to Recover
Disaster can strike at any time. It’s always important to have a solid recovery plan in place to protect against the worst-case scenario. For organizations utilizing multiple cloud providers, it’s important to document and test the migration process between providers.
In that sense, you have the same metrics on file in the event of a service interruption and expectations are properly set. Plus the restoration process will be much smoother.
Though cloud providers should always be held accountable for the services they promise, the responsibility for your data ultimately falls on you. Take the proper steps to ensure your cloud provider is the right fit for your business. And that the right recovery plans are in place.
Still Looking to Migrate? Get the Most for Your Assets
With many cloud migration implementations or data center migrations, sections of servers, memory, storage, and other IT equipment will be left unnecessary or redundant.
Failing to properly dispose of that equipment can result in the same data breach issues discussed above. Cloud migrations are supposed to add security, speed, and scalability to your business. Don’t let your old hardware get in the way of growth.
At exIT Technologies, we offer full IT equipment services ranging from asset recovery, network equipment sales and recycling, data erasure, and full data center decommission services.
If you’re ready to get rid of your old data center equipment, contact us today and get an offer!
Have something to add? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!