Apart from cost benefits, secure cloud computing has delivered numerous benefits since its inception. However, the technology is not without its threats and risks; and these fears are responsible for the stagnation of the growth of cloud computing. Fortunately, there are a few measures that can be taken to mitigate these threats.
- Encrypting data
Cloud service providers must secure their clients’ applications and data by encrypting them. This should include both storage and transport level encryption. The former protects data from unauthorized access at the data center, while the latter guards against attacks that may be launched on data in transit. They should go further and use firewalls to protect against possible attacks aimed at their data centers.
2. Regular auditing/security checks
Even with different encryption levels, it is still necessary to carry out regular security checks. These should be aimed at identifying potential security loopholes. These should be as thorough as possible; and should even include simulations of attacks. These sessions should be extended to include auditing of logs to identify any failed security breach attempt. The logging capabilities should show when the data was accessed and by whom. Shares, edits and deletes should be reviewed to confirm that they were authorized.
3. Physical security
The data centers should be well protected from physical attacks. It should be noted that cloud computing faces cyber threats as well as accidents of nature. The data centers should have strong protective walls as well as security guards in different places. All security personnel and other workers should know how to act in case of an attack.
4. Onsite monitoring
It is important to monitor who can access the data to prevent unauthorized manipulation at the site. This layer of protection should include different protocols such as biometric access, monitoring, and access control, among others. These protocols should be regularly reviewed for upgrades when necessary.
Cloud service providers should ensure that all critical data are only accessed by those who have the authority to do so. This can be achieved by the use of usernames and passwords and other authentication measures. Data logs should not be shared, even between employees of the cloud provider, without permission.
5. Procedures in case of attack
Sometimes, despite all these measures, a security breach may occur. This does not mean that all data should be vulnerable. There should be measures in place to identify and plug security breaches as soon as they occur. This means each cloud provider should have a rapid response team in charge of such scenarios. In the process, enough data should be gathered to prevent future attacks. A successful action plan will ensure that only minimal damage is experienced in case of a breach. An effective data recovery plan should also be in place.
6. Legal compliance
Apart from infrastructural deterrence and encryption, legal compliance is also central to securing data in the cloud. The laws and regulations governing this industry may vary by state and country, but each provider must ensure that the prevailing laws are followed. It is only by adhering to strict security control measures that the benefits of cloud computing can be fully realized.
Jessie Brannen is an independent tech researcher. She has recently been following developments in cloud computing security and reporting her findings to various tech blogs. Click on the link to find out more about ProfitBricks’ flexible cloud network storage services and associated information.