3 Solutions to Enhance Cloud Security

Posted by David Aparicio

Sep 17, 2014 7:36:00 AM

3 Solutions to Enhance Cloud Security

Cloud and virtual systems have been booming in recent years, but many business leaders still have their concerns about these platforms. In particular, many startup executives believe their enterprises don't have the resources to safely embrace the cloud. Some small business leaders hold the misconception that building a robust cloud system is expensive, while others believe they won't be able to hire the necessary IT staff to manage cloud security demands. 

This has been a major reason why some segments of the small business community have hesitated to switch critical operations to the virtual environment. However, there is no reason to fear the cloud, especially as the technology continues to evolve and become more suitable for organizations of all sizes. 

The nature of modern technology means that executives are wary of investing in new tech tools. With the news of data breaches and various hacking incidents arising every so often, it's not a surprise that some C-suites are fearful of the cloud. Despite the boardroom nail-biting, the cloud isn't a big, scary monster that is looking to put sensitive data at risk. Instead, it's a dynamic business solution that can be secured in a number of clever, easy-to-implement ways. 

1. Be dedicated to strong passwords 
It might seem like too simple of a strategy but having strong passwords is one of the best ways to protect virtually stored information. TechRadar reported that a large portion of cloud cybercrimes are made possible sue to sloppy and careless password policies. The source asserted that credentials such as "password" and "123456" are still widely used, which is welcome news to hackers. 

This is why it's important for organizations to establish strict password guidelines for all employees to adhere to when accessing corporate data via a cloud application. Drafting formal guidelines for password creation and sharing them with each department is a good idea. Also, department leaders and IT professionals shouldn't hesitate to pass down appropriate punishments when such policies are ignored. Keeping data safe is essential and passwords can go a long way to ensuring data is secure. 

2. Encrypt data
According to TechRadar, most cloud vendors will offer encryption services. However, it's still important to read the Service Level Agreement (SLA) to make sure encryption technology is part of the contract. Any arrangement that lacks such safeguards should be avoided or buyers should ask about including encryption technology. 

Encryption is one of the best fail-safes when it comes to sensitive information. Unless hackers are able to crack an encryption code, they will be unable to read stolen data, making it difficult for them to gain insight into financial credentials, for example. 

3. Consider hybrid clouds 
Hybrid cloud configurations are a great way for small businesses to get their feet wet in the virtual world. These models work by combining various cloud tools into a single architecture, providing users with a high level of flexibility. This combination of private and public platforms also offers peace of mind when it comes to security concerns. 

While public clouds aren't necessarily dangerous, many executives are still skeptical of placing data on a shared server that is managed by a third party. Simply, some business leaders have more faith in their in-house IT teams to secure such information on private equipment. However, outsourcing data storage demands can mitigate some of the burden internal tech professionals are under to manage large sets of information. Businesses can store very sensitive bits of data on private clouds while placing less critical information on public architectures, a strategy Business2Community outlined as a security advantage. 

"Hybrid clouds offer the best of both worlds, providing the cost efficiency and flexibility of the public cloud, with the firewalled security of a private cloud," the source stated. "For many small to medium-sized businesses, a hybrid cloud offers the financial savings they are looking for without any loss of data security."

Hybrid setups are becoming more popular, and it's easy to see why when the security and flexibility benefits are considered. Most cloud and unified communications vendors recognize this fact and can put the solutions in place to unify the various cloud tools under a single network. In many cases, utilizing such outsourcing can even help companies save on infrastructure costs. 

Even if they don't know it, most businesses are using the cloud for some function today. In some instances, enterprises are relying on unregulated cloud platforms that are intended for consumer usage. By partnering with a reputable cloud service provider, companies can take advantage of working with professional cloud experts who have experience designing secure platforms for their clients. This shows that while there may still be concerns related to data protection when it comes to virtual setups, they can be mitigated by building a relationship with the right cloud vendor. 

Topics: SMB Solutions, Cloud Trends