Whenever we initially propose our client’s to use a cloud server, their first reaction is fear. Even though the cloud lowers some barriers, most businesses are still scared of the cloud. The primary reason they quote is security but they don’t know how the cloud is not secure nor do they know how it is less secured than their current situation. They just know what their biggest fear is: losing or leaking customer and proprietary information.
It’s important to educate your business on what the actual risks of using the cloud are and how they can be mitigated. The truth is that small or medium businesses should not be blindingly avoiding the cloud but instead embracing it with full knowledge of its benefits and risks. In this article I will outline the main risks your business should be aware of when using the cloud.
In traditional scenarios the security data is entirely the burden of the company owning the data but in cloud computing the data responsibilities are shared. Some of the computing resources are controlled by someone else, and those resources live somewhere else. Infrastructure, operations, and physical security are a concern. It is important to know what security controls are implemented by the provider so that your business knows what further controls it needs to apply in order to ensure the security it needs. Some questions to think about are:
Who can create the data? Who can access, modify and delete the data? What happens when data is deleted? How are backups done? How does data transfer happen? What kinds of other security methods are used? Is there data encryption, key infrastructure?
The cloud is great for additional computational needs but the drawback is that it is shared in a public environment. Because of this, there is a concern that data boundaries may break and lead to leaked information. Furthermore, the fact you don’t know where the data is physically stored is a threat to your business.
A good way to mitigate risks is to keep backups. Cloud servers are machines after all so disasters can happen. It is important to know what steps your provider will take to ensure your data will be safe. Things to think about include:
Are there backups? How are they done? How frequent? How can your business retrieve the data?
This is not a huge issue since the cloud has set very high standards which are rarely achieved by an internal environment. The main issue that is brought up is that when cloud services go down, it may affect large number of costumers and in effect paralyze your business. Some questions you might want to ask are:
What guarantees (if any) is your provider giving you? What steps do you need to take if your service is down?
Overall, we believe the cloud is a great opportunity for small and medium businesses to leverage the use of powerful technologies to help their business grow. It is important for these businesses to educate themselves on what kind of risks they are taking and how their providers are ensuring these risks are minimized. How is your business using the cloud right now? If it is not, what are the main barriers that are stopping it? I would love to know so drop me a line in the comments below!