Maintaining Security In The Cloud

Companies that have chosen to move their data to the cloud may find that choosing an online storage solution is a bit difficult. Most wonder about the data security that their chosen site can offer. Keeping data secure is essential for any business, particularly those in the healthcare and financial industries. While most cloud storage providers can offer a very secure storage solution, many companies fear that problems that have crept in may affect them in the long run.

In July 2012, DropBox experienced a massive breach in security. This breach involved the passwords of its users. To counter the attack and to avoid these issues in the future, DropBox began to improve their password security solution by requiring a two-factor authentication. Some companies however, feel that this situation could have been avoided completely had DropBox not had its data in the cloud.

Researchers however, released information stating that because the DropBox application had been reverse-engineered, it allowed details for hackers who wanted to access the private user data provided by the site. The paper that was released provides an example of how hackers could potentially bypass any password security methods to gain access to data that is stored in DropBox. There are other alternatives to the DropBox issue, but companies should understand that there is always the potential for cyber-attacks and this potential could impact the future of storing data in the cloud. Companies have to consider how they can maintain control of their data while still taking advantage of all the benefits cloud storage offers.

The solutions lies in strongly encrypting or tokenizing all data fields while the data is still on premise, before sending it to the cloud

Taking steps to secure data before it is sent out to storage in the cloud helps to keep it safer. Encryption allows users to control the keys to their data. Tokenization however, gives them full access and control over everything including where that data is stored. It renders customer data completely useless to hackers which offers companies a bit more confidence in using cloud storage with regards to keeping data secure and also gives them the opportunity to take advantage of the benefits offered by cloud storage.

It is essential that companies consider three major elements to any storage technique. First, they must make encryption invisible to end users. This ensures that users cannot find any way around the security measures taken. Data should be encrypted throughout the life cycle and the scheme used for encryption should be completely secure. If the encryption is broken easily, hackers can get in even when companies use cloud storage solutions that are otherwise secure.

If the encryption itself is easily broken, who holds the keys no longer matters. The 256-AES algorithm should be non-negotiable. Anything else isn’t strong enough

It may be impossible to defend against cyber-attacks completely but choosing wisely when selecting a cloud storage company is essential. Controlling encryption keys will allow companies to better protect their data whether they store onsite or choose cloud storage.

More and more government agencies are beginning to move IT to cloud storage and have noticed a wealth of benefits including low maintenance, lower costs and increased storage capacity. With so many cloud storage providers to choose from, some wonder how they can find the best storage solution through the best provider and keep their data completely safe.

While there are many advantages to cloud computing, choosing the right provider is essential in realizing these benefits. As with anything, not all providers are alike. Selecting a provider that cares little about data security is not something that companies want to do. Cloud storage should provide secure access with data privacy and high security as well as offer the potential for lower costs, efficiency and higher levels of productivity. When companies do not trust their data to cloud storage however, they are unlikely to experience these benefits. Looking at why companies choose storage in the cloud is essential in understanding what it can do for organizations.

The main reason that most organizations choose cloud computing is because of its lower cost. Organizations pay for computing on an as-used basis. If they do not need loads of space, they do not pay for loads of space. Some companies feel that this benefit alone is enough to make them move their data over. But, what about those that feel cloud storage is not safe?

Cloud computing provides a means for keeping data safe from a number of threats. It physically protects data against things like flood, fire, theft and other issues. When an organization has data stored offsite, anything that affects them onsite does not affect their data. Storing data in the cloud means not worrying about natural disasters or other problems onsite. Whenever they need to recover, the data is there and ready to be accessed. Access can be gained from any location and at any time, which is another benefit that companies feel is worth making the move. Employees can be given any level of data access from around the clock access to completely locked out of access.

Companies that have a lot of data to store find that cloud storage offers them much more storage space than a server onsite. Upgrading is easy and can be done as needed. The maintenance is also easier with the cloud as the security upgrades, software and hardware are all automatically handled by the storage center staff. There is no downtime for upgrading and no additional cost for added security.

Now, back to the security issues that some companies are concerned about. Some companies simply feel that they cannot fully trust their data to be stored offsite.

But despite the many advantages, cloud computing still makes some organizations a little uncomfortable, simply because it requires you to think about our data in a different way

Those companies, the ones that are a bit concerned about cloud storage in general, can provide much more control and security for their data by simply choosing to make it more secure before moving it to the cloud. The DropBox incident was one in a million and things like this are not likely to happen often, particularly as more and more cloud storage providers begin to increase their own security features. Our favorite storage provider for the security sensitive is Spider Oak.

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