Three cloud computing risks – and how to avoid them

Today, using cloud technology is no longer an exception. Instead, it is a widely accepted way of running a business. But despite the benefits, as with any technology, cloud computing isn’t risk-free. As such, it’s vital that you understand the cloud computing risks, and know how to deal with them.

Of course, depending on the cloud technology you use, the risks might differ. But here are some of the most common threats.

Security

There is no doubt that fears about security is one of the most significant barriers to cloud adoption. And, if you decide to invest in the cloud, you will have to consider your own organisation’s security, and that of your cloud vendor.

In reality, data security is better in the cloud. However, it doesn’t pay to be complacent and defending cloud infrastructure from compromise is essential. This includes things like:

  • Ensuring best-practice security configuration
  • Investing in security skills and data protection training
  • Deploying tech to protect against tech (e.g. antivirus software, encryption and anti-spoofing controls such as DMARC, SPF and DKIM)
  • Implement a ‘Clear Desk and Screen’ policy (and ensuring your employees abide by it)
  • Investing in secure communications platforms that are end-to-end encrypted
  • Incorporating processes that continuously check for vulnerabilities and data infringements
  • Using two-factor authentication for exposed services
  • Reviewing where your most sensitive data lives, and assessing your access and sharing privileges
  • Preventing employees from installing unauthorised software onto their work devices to avoid the risk of malware, ransomware etc.
  • Conducting threat assessments that look at the devices being used
  • Storing your data in ISO-accredited data centres
  • Ensuring that all operating systems are apps are updated regularly and routinely check for viruses and malware.

Crucially, when you work with a cloud provider, you must ensure that they understand the risks and that they know how to deploy solutions that reduce unnecessary exposure. In fact, they should be willing to specify the security measures they will guarantee as part of your SLA.

Mobile working

Mobile working and cloud computing go hand-in-hand. But security experts have warned that that the number of threats to mobile devices has increased. So, data leaks, lost devices, unauthorised access and a lack of monitoring all need to be taken into consideration and planned for.

However, it is possible to implement tools and practices to protect data on personal devices. To reduce the risk and allow mobile workers to use their devices securely, you should deploy things like:

  • Two Factor Authentication (2FA)
  • Ensuring all mobile devices are hardwired for security
  • Adequate password controls
  • Antivirus software
  • Making sure you have the ability to remove sensitive data from devices remotely quickly (e.g. via a hosted desktop)
  • Training and education to make sure that staff understand and take responsibility for security risks.

With the right technologies, processes and attitude, businesses can ensure that their sensitive data is secure, regardless of where it is being accessed.

Migration

Migrating data to the cloud can be daunting. And it’s not unusual to have concerns. However, with the right migration plan in place, it is possible to remove the likelihood of any problems.

Unless you are starting from scratch, you’re likely to have an existing on-premise infrastructure that needs integrating into your new setup. You’ll need to establish how this will work and identify any risk points. In many cases, it’s better to find a trusted partner who can manage this for you.

Also, one of the biggest concerns when planning for cloud migration is how much downtime you will experience. But if you adopt a carefully executed migration strategy, there shouldn’t be any impact on your business operations. Your new cloud system will run parallel to your legacy one until the process is complete. That said, you should consider what will happen should something go wrong. With a managed approach, IT specialists are watching your system all the time, making sure it’s running smoothly and quickly. This applies to the migration period and after that. Managed cloud services also boast best-in-class backup and recovery processes. So, you can be sure that your data is recoverable should something go wrong.

If you’re thinking about investing in cloud technology – but want to know more about how to ensure you stay secure– speak to a member of our team on 01942 261 671 to find out more.

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