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Keeping the Cloud Secure: Essential Considerations

Secure Cloud 

Using the cloud as a storage medium has become commonplace in today’s marketplace, due to the need for 24/7 access and backup. This is true for the general consumer as well as the enterprise markets, with specific needs for both. But what may be good practice for a consumer may not be at the same level needed for a business, even though the basic principles behind what to look for tend to stay the same.

Security

Security is extremely important for the consumer, though not in the same ways a business might see it. The security level necessary for the consumer comes more from wanting a sense of privacy. Users do not want their private photos or home videos leaked across the Internet. But because cloud storage will hold everything from photos and videos to important backups of documents, there is still a need for a high level of security.

A business, however, has information that might range from internal memos and documents to the information its clients have entrusted to them. Because businesses store information other than their own, higher levels of scrutiny and security are required.

The first way to make sure data is secure when using an outside source is to know who has access to the information and when. Look for a service that sends a notification to the person who is managing the data when a login is attempted from an unrecognized location or computer.

In this day and age of rampant cyber crime, it is important to follow best practices for passwords and other login information. Beyond using less obvious passwords like names and other personal information, changing passwords on a regular basis is an important habit to get into. To keep information as secure as possible, businesses should use two-factor authentication whenever possible.

Access and Recovery

The main advantage for cloud-based storage is the ability to pull that information anywhere at anytime. This is great for relatively small amounts of data since it allows access to files that may have been forgotten or are still being worked on. These sorts of features also allow for collaborative work between the business and client or for internal work with remote workers.

In the case of data loss on the client side, it is extremely important to know the practices of data recovery, so the data loss has minimal impact on the day-to-day life of the business. In the best case scenario, the data loss is relatively small and only requires a bit of time to download and reintegrate the data into the larger system. But in the case of a catastrophic loss due to theft, fire or another natural disaster, a solution that can quickly ship a hard drive, thumb drive or mass storage device is a service that should be seriously considered. Depending on the level of loss, downloading tens or hundreds of gigabytes would not be the quickest or most efficient way to recover.

Like any tool, there are advantages and disadvantages to using a cloud-based system. The security offered by the cloud service is the difference between peace of mind and constant worrying about the integrity of the business' data. Knowing who has access to the business' data at any given time and being able to get large amounts of data quickly in case of an incident are the most important factors to think about for long-term success.

Published Wednesday, February 03, 2016 10:18 AM by David Marshall
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