We all know how cool Cloud computing is, but there are some genuine privacy concerns to be aware of. In this week’s article we’d like to point out a few things you should check into before trusting your data to the Cloud. We’ve compiled 7 items that should be on your checklist before you make the jump, and a few things to watch out for along the way.
1. Get to know your Cloud provider
It’s important to check the credentials of your chosen provider to know what you’re getting, and not getting. For instance, is your cloud provider know for its long history of solid security, or is it still a bit wishy-washy? If they have a commitment to security and a history of executing security on their more traditional servers, it stands to reason that they’ll merge that commitment with their Cloud-based offerings as well.
2. Define your business needs
Make sure you can clearly articulate a good business fit for a Cloud setup because you might not need it. For instance, if you want speedy communication between your office and the Cloud, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment because while storing files might be a good scenario for Cloud computing, database queries from your office computers to the cloud could really slow down your response time and office processes. If you’re still set on migrating to the Cloud make sure you have a few cloud-savvy professionals to consult with.
It’s important to encrypt as much Cloud data and traffic as you can to deter hackers from stealing your passwords and tokens. Not sure how to do this? Talk to your provider about the best ways, and ask around, you’re likely to find someone with experience to help you, even if you’re a small business on a tight budget.
4. Manage your Cloud access
Make sure you control who can access your Cloud because you don’t want your sensitive materials available to just anyone. While your Cloud provider may look after your data, that does not mean you aren’t responsible for policing the access you authorize. It’s a good idea to limit access to specific individuals that need access, not just leave the connection open for everyone to use. Consider two-factor authentication instead of merely relying on passwords.
5. Backup your Cloud data
Chances are you are backing up your data, but have you ever tried to restore from these back ups? If you haven’t, you’re not alone. About once a month, try to get access to a critical file and restore it to your machine to ensure that your files are, in fact, backing up properly, and avoid the headaches that can occur when actually trying to restore. If you take a few minutes and see that your data is duplicated and you can still retrieve it, you’ll be miles ahead in confidence and know that if something bad really did happen, you’d be protected.
6. Check the fine print for your Cloud
The terms and conditions of your Cloud agreement should be read very carefully. Highlight and discuss any of the questionable terms with your Cloud provider.
7. Virus Protection and end-point security
Moving to the Cloud does not end the need for anti-virus protection and you still need strong endpoint security on devices that are permitted access to your Cloud. Don’t let viruses destroy your work and your business due to lack of security.
In the end it’s your choice as to how much and what type of information your business will put in the Cloud. If you keep in mind these 7 points for securing your Cloud relationship, we think you’ll have a much more secure and enjoyable experience.