As recent events in the news have shown us, even the most secure data can be accessed and stolen by hackers. Failure to safeguard the personal data your company stores can endanger the personal and financial safety of your employees, clients or even yourself. Storing personal or proprietary data on cloud data storage systems does have some risks associated with it, but is it a risk that can be mitigated by partnering with the right company? Let's take a closer look.
The Potential Risks of Cloud Data Storage
Keeping your data in the cloud has many advantages, but there are some substantial risks as well. These risks include:
- Data can be accessed by third parties and vendors
- Data that isn't backed up may expose it to loss when switching providers
- Slow internet access may affect access to data
- Some cloud storage may have physical storage in different countries with different laws
- Vulnerabilities to virtual exploits and IP spoofing
While many of these risks are also shared by local data storage, some incidents where cloud based data has been unlawfully accessed the nature of the cloud has made tracking who and when the data was breached more difficult for security professionals.
Choosing the Best Guardian of Your Data
Your cloud service provider is the gatekeeper for all of your company's data. They are ultimately accountable for all of the security protocols that will safeguard your data and their data security policy should be among the first items of discussion when you are considering engaging their services. Some questions that you should ask your provider include:
- What is your disaster recovery plan?
- Do you archive or backup in an offsite location?
- Do you use third party vendors and how much access do they have?
- What is your level of encryption and method of data transfer?
The answers to these questions should be as a result of forethought and should be addressed in the written contract that you have with your provider. Cloud data storage will always be at least partially vulnerable to a data breach, but the important thing is your provider's level of preparation and foresight when it comes to worse case scenarios.
How To Mitigate Risk To Your Cloud Data Storage
So in an era of vulnerable data, what steps can your provider take to mitigate the risks that come with storing your sensitive data on the cloud? There are four steps that your provider should stress when discussing security.
- Ensuring end-to-end encryption of all uploads, downloads, and storage
- Fully updating to the newest operating systems and regularly updating
- Running regular audits on third party access
- Insisting on single sign on (SSO) access for all users
- Proactive security measures including white hat troubleshooting
These security measures need a place in your cloud service provider's data security policy, allowing you to rest easier and ensure your data is fully protected from potential breaches. With this peace of mind, you can enjoy the manifold advantages that the cloud brings to the table.