Cloud computing is becoming more accepted among small businesses as even the sophisticated applications are now more affordable and easier to integrate with existing business infrastructures and systems. Although cloud computing offers businesses various benefits including significant cost savings, one should always take note of potential cloud security risks and how to manage or avoid them. Here are some common cloud security concerns to keep in mind.
Cloud services often share resources within flexible networks of the provider’s servers as well as other parts of their infrastructure. Hypervisor software, for instance, is utilized to develop virtual containers on the provider’s hardware, and will be assigned to each of its customers. You should know that, in recent years, cyber attacks have been targeted at shared technology found in inferior cloud computing environments. When you are looking for a cloud computing provider, you need to check out their compartmentalization techniques and how they encrypt data to prevent unauthorized access into said virtual containers.
Your data should always be securely encrypted when it is stored on your provider’s servers and when it is in use by the specified cloud service. You should always be wary of cloud providers that do not assure adequate protection for data being utilized within the application, when it is in transit, or when it is accessed by other third-party cloud-based applications. On the other hand, some types of data are only stored temporarily. If you must dispose them, ensure secure disposal by deleting the encryption key.
When you access data in the cloud, there will be traffic between your network and a particular service. As those elements must traverse the Internet, you need to ensure that your data is traveling on a secure channel at all times. For safety reasons, your browser should be connecting to the provider through a URL that begins with ‘https‘. Next, you will want to authenticate and encrypt your data in ways that adhere to industry standard protocols. You may opt for Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) that is specially developed for Internet traffic protection.
When you store your data with a cloud provider, you need to be aware that the data can be accessed by one of the employees of that company. In addition, you – the customer – will have none of the usual user access controls over those employees. Before you upload any data that you own, consider the sensitivity of the data and whether they should be allowed out into the cloud in the first place. With that said, it is a good practice to ask around for specifics from your data management team as well as the levels of access they have.
APIs or software interfaces that interact with your chosen cloud service are something that needs to be taken note of. If a company relies on a weak set of APIs and interfaces, this mistake will expose it to an array of cloud security issues that could affect accountability, availability, integrity, and confidentiality. It is recommended that you find out if security will be integrated throughout your cloud service. And find out about activity monitoring policies to access control and authentication techniques.
All in all, cloud computing offers small businesses many benefits and it would be a waste to dismiss them altogether. The good news is that you would have already known some of these cloud security challenges in this post so as long as you take note of these problems and solve them, you will be able to enjoy enhanced cloud security day in, day out!