Cloud security, a mixed bag

One of the main issues that puts off a large number of businesses is how secure their data is in the cloud. If a company uses a cloud service they have no choice but to trust the provider with their data, and recent attacks have shown that some cloud provider technology isn’t as secure as it needs to be, potentially putting your data at risk.

In this year alone, nearly every major cloud provider has had issues with their services. From natural disasters to hackers, companies have seen their data exposed or unavailable, and this isn’t the first time this has happened. In 2011, Sony Entertainment had nearly 77 million accounts hacked, exposing user’s information, Dropbox had numerous service outages, and Gmail had a 30 hour outage that resulted in 44,000 accounts being lost. The list goes on and issues since 2011 go to show that cloud providers and their systems aren’t invulnerable.

Despite numerous attacks and problems, many data centers where cloud providers have their servers are physically secure. Google’s recent security video is a good example of how secure the physical locations are.

When companies talk about cloud security however, they don’t just talk about how secure their physical location is, they also strive to protect against three other elements:

  1. Service outages
  2. Confidentiality of your personal information and control over who can access it
  3. Privacy of banking details and other related information

By focusing on these four factors cloud providers are able to provide close to 99% security. However, many companies are still at risk when using the cloud and this risk actually comes from inside the company. Nearly every cloud service requires a password to access, but scammers know this and they can attack other services, or your company, to get you to give up your password. Once they have obtained this your data is compromised regardless of where it’s stored. This is what happened in a latest security issue with Dropbox.

If your company utilizes cloud services there are a number of things you need to be aware of when it comes to security:

  • According to all cloud providers, liability for sensitive data stored in the cloud rests with your company, not the provider.
  • Some cloud vendors provide reports written by a neutral third party on the security of their service. These should be taken into account when looking for a provider.
  • As with anything online, you should be taking steps to backup data stored in one cloud to a secure physical location.
  • You should establish a process that encourages your employees to change their passwords at least every three months.

Do you have cloud solutions in your company? If so let us know what your concerns are about security. If not, then let us know why.

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