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Data Protection Tips When Moving to the Cloud

Data Protection in the Cloud

In recent years, more and more businesses are beginning to leverage enterprise cloud technology due to the multiple benefits it offers, especially in terms of profitability and efficiency. Reports from IDG Enterprise’s 2016 Cloud Computing summary show that cloud technology is used by 70% of organizations in the U.S. – whether it be public, private, hybrid or an eclectic mix of cloud computing models.

Benefits of Moving to the Cloud

Organizations that have successfully moved their data to the cloud report several benefits in terms of simpler administration and management, ease of access, increased efficiency and significant reduction in costs.

However, organizations can only enjoy these benefits when they move their data operations to the cloud.

Challenges

However, many organizations are still skeptical about moving to the cloud. Although migrating to the cloud comes with some challenges, most organizations hold back due to perceived security considerations.

When it comes to transitioning to the cloud, 61% of security professionals take threats to data privacy; 67% take protection against data loss and 53% take breach of confidentiality as their top security concerns.

Before making the move, organizations should ensure that their preferred cloud provider can meet their security needs. The provider should also be able to maintain regulatory compliance directives when it comes to handling sensitive data and must specify how breach notifications are issued and who is responsible for addressing breaches and vulnerabilities.

Although cloud service providers try to ensure the security of data under their care, the ultimate responsibility for regulatory compliance, data protection and overall security remains with the business – since they retain ownership of the data.

As such, they must look for ways to reduce and mitigate these risks. Let’s take a look at some of the ways organizations can ensure security when transitioning to the cloud.

Tips for Data Protection when Moving to the Cloud

Ensure that you understand the security models put in place by your preferred public cloud provider. Most providers explicitly state their shared responsibility models. Understanding where your responsibilities begin and end is a critical step towards ensuring the security of your data on the cloud.

However, you should pick a provider that focuses on security, implements best practices and utilizes top-of-the-line solutions to ensure protection against data loss, and reduction/elimination of threats to data privacy.

Geo-resiliency

It’s easy to forget that the cloud is based on physical hardware. Before transitioning to the cloud, you should ensure that your preferred cloud service provider implements protection and resiliency features against physical threats.

Ask about the location and capabilities of the provider’s physical data center and ensure that measures are in place for disaster recovery and security protection.

Offline Backup

Data in the cloud isn’t immune from the risk of a ransomware infection. Hackers are developing increasingly sophisticated malware and APTs that can penetrate even the most robust endpoint security systems and firewalls.

Therefore, you should ensure that your cloud provider implements offline data backup as part of its overall data management strategy.

Data encryption

Your data is at its most vulnerable point when you’re moving it to the cloud or from one cloud to another. It’s easy to lose visibility at this point – making it easy for hackers to steal or compromise sensitive business data.

You should make sure that your data is encrypted when in transit and at rest. This extra layer of protection significantly reduces the risk of data loss as well as exposure of sensitive data.

Flexible deployment models

Most cloud service providers offer deployment options that are not optimized for secure data management. Such models are designed for rapid scaling rather than security. Before choosing a cloud service provider, ensure that they have flexible deployment models that will enable you to address pressing security and compliance issues.

Conclusion

Cloud services have become a key part of today’s IT environment. Wikibon predicts that enterprise cloud spending will grow at a 16% compound annual growth run rate between 2016 to 2026.

This means that more and more companies are turning to the cloud to transform their business operations with digital data management. However, they must understand that they still own the data. As such, they are ultimately responsible for ensuring the security of customer, employee and other sensitive business data in their possession. Compliance issues or a database breach can have a devastating impact on business operations.

Data management over cloud is a complex and continuous process and organizations should make it a top priority. By implementing security best practices, organizations can confidently transition their data to the cloud.

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