The benefits offered by the public cloud have led a deluge of organisations to adopt the technology over the last few years. With the availability of services such as SaaS, PaaS and IaaS and the ability to employ big data analysis, artificial intelligence and machine learning, it has become hugely popular, especially as it also provides the scalability and agility competitive businesses need.
The one concern that many companies have with the public cloud is over security. Being accessed over the internet and using shared architecture has been seen as a potential problem for those that store and process personal and sensitive data. However, with the right security measures in place, this need not be an issue. Here, we’ll look at seven ways organisations can strengthen the security of their public cloud systems.
1. Start with the basics – put a security policy in place
As part of the process of migrating your services to the cloud, one of the basic requirements is to create a public cloud security policy. This is essential to ensure that your organisation manages security well as it guarantees security measures are put in place, that the necessary processes and procedures are implemented and that key responsibilities are given to accountable personnel. As with all IT policies, staff who have access to your services should be given relevant training.
2. Put best practices into place
Companies which use public cloud services should always follow current best practice in data protection. Doing this will ensure that employees undertake their work in a responsible manner and that the devices and networks used to access the system are secure. To protect against problems like phishing, hacking, malware and ransomware, for example, companies should employ logical access control, SSL encrypted internet connections and use strong passwords.
3. Securing your premises and devices
The security of an organisation’s premises and the devices kept there are crucial to keeping your public cloud system and data safe. The loss or theft of a device that has access to your cloud can mean unauthorised people get hold of the data you store. Depending on your organisation’s needs, you may need to consider using security personnel, access control for the building and secure overnight storage of devices, as well as strong passwords or two-factor authentication.
This can become slightly more complex is you have a BYOD policy or where employees are able to take their devices home in order to access the system when away from the office.
4. Choose a compliant cloud provider
If you are using a public cloud, you are reliant on the fact that your service provider is compliant with the necessary security standards. You shouldn’t, however, take this for granted. To guarantee that their systems are secure always check for compliance before signing any contract. For example, if you need to take credit and debit card payments, ensure that the vendor offers PCI DSS compliant hosting.
5. Make sure your provider offers the security you require
When looking for a public cloud provider, take the time to discover whether it has the infrastructure in operation to ensure the security of your system and data. What security technology does it use? What processes does it undertake to manage its services? Where does it store its data – in the UK only, like here at eUKhost, or outside the EU where data protection laws may be less stringent?
6. Define precise roles for the organisation and provider
When security management roles are not precisely defined, confusion over which partner is responsible for what area can lead to vulnerable security gaps which no-one is accountable for. Conversely, if both parties are trying to manage the same area, unaware of the fact, it can lead to complications which put security at risk.
Ascribing roles at the outset ensures that a seamless and comprehensive management strategy is put into place.
7. Avoid vendor lock-in
Where security issues arise with a vendor and they cannot be resolved, the obvious solution is to change provider. This can be a complicated process if the organisation becomes reliant on the technology their vendor provides, sometimes preventing the organisation from moving at all – what is often referred to as vendor lock-in. To prevent this, make sure you have a strategy that will enable you to migrate to a different infrastructure quickly and without disrupting your operations. Many companies now operate a multi-cloud strategy, using a variety of different providers, precisely for this reason.
Public cloud offers a wide range of benefits and can be a highly secure form of hosting. Hopefully, this post will have given you a clearer understanding of the security concerns some organisations have and the things that can be done to protect your data and ensure you comply with current standards and regulations. If you are seeking secure public cloud hosting, check out our cloud hosting solutions.
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