With practically every business running on some kind of a cloud network and database, securing the cloud has never been more important, here are the most important reasons why.
By Jeremy Stephens, Cyber Security, And Outreach Specialist, Power Consulting


Photo: Pexels

With 96% of all enterprises in the U.S. Using some form of cloud computing, it’s clear that this technology has experienced a rapid proliferation in the past few years.

Cloud computing helps organizations of all sizes operate at scale, decrease their capital overheads, and assist in managing IT infrastructure.

Depending on your needs, there are several different types of cloud deployment you can consider. These are grouped together in three types:
1. Private Cloud
A private cloud is restricted for use within a specific organization. The infrastructure and resources aren’t shared with other companies. Such types of cloud deployment are expensive to set up but offer more customization and security.

2. Public Cloud
A public cloud is managed by an external, third-party provider. Space on this cloud server is ‘rented’ out to organizations, but the external party is responsible for security, maintenance, and other forms of upkeep.

3. Hybrid Cloud
As the name suggests, hybrid cloud functions as a combination of both private and public ones. It’s suited for organizations that want both rapid scalability coupled with top-tier encryption.

But moving to the cloud doesn’t come without its own set of security challenges. Let’s investigate why cloud security is important for all businesses.

Guard Against Security Breaches
The cost of an average security breach for a company is a cool $3.8 million.

This figure rises to $7.9 million for American companies with an average time of 196 days for the detection of the breach in the first place.
Data security on the cloud is important because you’re no longer in total control. If, for example, you choose to run your applications on either a public or hybrid cloud, you’re effectively putting your trust in a third-party.

This means you must stay on top of things and ensure that your cloud computing provider understands this responsibility. While it is certainly in the provider’s best interest to ensure top-tier security for long-term business prospects, you must, as the client, also go the extra mile.

Manage Remote Work
One of the benefits of using cloud computing is the sheer accessibility of data. Your critical applications can be accessed by employees from anywhere in the world. This results in flexible work arrangements and the possibility to hire staff from all around the globe.

However, the downside to this arrangement is that employees might not adhere to cybersecurity best practices.

If they’re working from coffee shops, for example, they’re using public WiFi to access the web — this practice entails an inherent security risk. They might also use personal laptops and phones to carry out their tasks, which means they’re more susceptible to malware and phishing attacks.

New malware variants for mobile increased by 54 percent in 2017 according to Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report, so this is a real threat. If a malicious virus enters your system, it’ll be hard to contain the damage.

Ensure Disaster Recovery
One of the tenets of business continuity planning is having a comprehensive disaster recovery plan in place. Disaster can strike at any time, be it fire, flooding, or other natural causes.

This could wipe out all of your data. Unless you’ve safely secured and protected your data, you could, potentially, be at risk of at a total standstill. That’s the last thing your customers will want to hear, so the ensuing loss of confidence could be a death knell for your business.

Comply With Regulations
Data protection standards like HIPAA and GDPR are rules that businesses must take seriously –- otherwise, they will incur the wrath of regulators.

These standards were put together to ensure the integrity and security of customer data. At the end of the day, if the customer data stored on the cloud is compromised, it’s you who will have to answer to the regulator.

You can’t simply pass the blame on to a third-party vendor (your cloud computing provider in this case) and expect little to no retribution.

Highly-regulated industries such as banking, finance, health, and insurance, legal already have exacting standards in place. The importance of cloud security multiplies in these sectors because of all the risks involved. Sure, a data breach will damage your business reputation and brand, but you’ll also be held accountable by external parties.

Eliminate Weak Links and Build Access levels
40 percent of organizations using cloud storage accidentally leaked data to the public. This had compromised their business integrity and gave their competition a leg up.

These leaks weren’t a result of malicious intent; rather, they were a result of poor security best practices. One best practice of cloud security is enforcing access controls on employees by just limiting access to data only to those individuals who need it.
This makes it much harder for hackers to infiltrate and prevents errors that lead to data leaks.

Conclusion
When it comes to managing and assessing your cloud technology, there are several things to consider.

Of course, the general service levels such as uptime and speed of data transfer are key, but security cannot and should not be dismissed. In this post, we highlighted the key reasons why cloud security is important for all businesses.

As more businesses shift to the cloud, security will become even more important because it’ll be the only way hackers can potentially infiltrate a company’s defenses.

About the Author
Jeremy Stevens has spent over half a decade working in the tech industry. Besides learning new things about software and IT, one of his passions is writing & teaching about technology. He is working with Power Consulting and helps produce and edit content related to IT, covering topics such as hardware & software solutions for businesses, cybersecurity, cloud technology, digital transformation, and much more.