Cloud computing has undoubtedly transformed the way organisations manage their business and data, however it has brought its own unique set of security concerns. While some businesses are quick to embrace the convenience and agility of the cloud, others remain hesitant because of fear about data breaches and cybercrime. So how exactly are cloud vendors dealing with these data privacy concerns?
Making security the number one priority
When it comes to customer data, security is a top concern of cloud vendors. Make sure that you understand your own Data Privacy requirements and discuss these with your cloud vendor from the outset. Chances are that your requirements are similar to those that the cloud vendors can already meet. Companies may, for example, have legal restrictions that prevents corporate and personal data from being stored outside national boundaries. However, most companies are finding that cloud instances can easily be set up within respective countries to store information according to regulation, and that cloud security standards and certification are maturing quickly.
Providing the relevant training
Cloud vendors are also recognising the necessity of having cloud security training available for all employees or contractors who have access to the cloud and the data your company stores within the cloud . It’s also equally important to establish a data breach policy and to know your cloud provider’s incident response plan. Finally, it’s essential you have the ability to audit your provider on a regular basis. An effective cloud vendor security team will be ready to assist you in any or all of these areas.
Delivering across-the-board support
Today, cloud vendors are designing managed cloud services from the ground up to meet the most advanced data security requirements, giving current and prospective customers the peace of mind that their data is private and secure. They should also deliver across-the-board support for every aspect of cloud security including physical security, network security, data protection, monitoring, and access controls.
Data encryption for data in flight and at rest along with tokenisation of sensitive data items are strategies that can help improve Data Security and help to meet the most stringent of data privacy requirements.
Cloud vendors understand that any successful cloud security solution requires close collaboration between you and your cloud service provider, knowing that it’s critical that your organisation has a programme that covers everything from data governance and compliance to cloud user access.
When it comes to physical protection of the data centre infrastructure, regular monitoring of all physical access to the facility to detect and prevent potential security incidents is also of upmost important to cloud vendors, as well as access to control and alarm systems, administrator logging, two-factor authentication, codes of conduct, confidentiality agreements and background checks.
Adopting hybrid cloud
A hybrid cloud approach is when public or private clouds, or a combination of the two, are fully integrated with traditional, on-premises IT and centrally managed through a single platform. Hybrid cloud is an attractive option and flexibility is certainly one of the key benefits. In a hybrid architecture built on a common database, companies can economically shift data, applications and workloads between environments according to business needs, while also fulfilling data privacy and security requirements.
As a starting point a company may decide to move Dev and Test capabilities to the cloud using existing data privacy policies which would usually prohibit sensitive data items existing in non-production systems. As the capability matures and the data privacy requirements in terms of cloud become clearer, companies can then make informed choices on which workloads and which data are appropriate to move to cloud.
As businesses increasingly look to the cloud to drive competitive advantages, a hybrid approach can also offer greater agility, while lowering financial and time commitments. When flexibility in deployment meets increased responsiveness and the ability to achieve high levels of security, data privacy, and regulatory compliance, it’s no wonder so many companies are looking to hybrid cloud solutions.
To help strengthen the disaster recovery and business continuity efforts of their customers, cloud vendors can maintain a contingency plan that identifies essential missions and business functions along with associated contingency requirements. In addition, recovery objectives, restoration priorities, and related metrics and address contingency roles and responsibilities can be provided.
Companies should review their existing data management policies to ensure that data privacy requirements are captured at every stage in the data lifecycle. In many cases this will mean amending those policies to address situations whether data is held on or off premise.
The disaster recovery and business continuity plan, which should be tested and reviewed regularly, also shows businesses how to maintain vital missions and business functions despite potential information system disruption, compromise, or failure.