How to Evaluate Cloud Service Security
Cloud services have become part of everyday life for both personal users and organizations. They make possible many of the technologies we use today, from online file storage to photo sharing to web-based office tools. Without the cloud, accessing data across devices, wherever and whenever we need to, wouldn’t be possible.
For businesses too, cloud services are making life easier on many different levels by reducing costs, increasing scalability, simplifying deployment, and more. However, moving data into the cloud comes with potential security risks. It’s crucial to evaluate cloud service security, and to do it for each provider that you use. But what exactly should you pay attention to when evaluating cloud service security?
1. Determine What Cloud-Based Service You Need
Cloud services come in many shapes and sizes. Some pack more features than others and may create additional security risks by doing so.
You don’t want to pay for features you don’t need. And you don’t want to end up with a cloud network architecture that doesn’t reflect your business needs and security requirements.
Determine what type of cloud service you need exactly. If you are not sure, research the market for your options. You can contact providers to ask for clarification. Be specific.
2. Know Who Your Data Controller Is
If you are storing data in the cloud for a business or organization, you need to have a data controller. This data controller is legally responsible for the data in the cloud.
Having a data controller may sound like an extra worry. But it can also help you set up and coordinate correct security practices to reduce the risk of privacy problems. Think of it not as a burden but as an incentive to get cloud security right.
3. Assess the Level of Service Provided
Some data is more sensitive than other and requires extra protection. Consider worst-case scenarios. If the data you store in the cloud becomes lost, what impact will it have on your organization?
Asking yourself this question will help you understand the level of protection the data will need while it is in transit or storage. For example, whether it needs to be fully encrypted during all stages of this process.
At this point, you also want to consider data availability and how this may impact security. For example, if the data is always available, will that lower security compared to it being stored away?
4. Check the Provider’s Reputation
Has the cloud service provider been involved in any data breaches or other security scandals? If so, what was their response?
Sometimes, data breaches can affect the best cloud providers. It can also make them tighten their security to make it stronger. Looking for a spotless provider isn’t always realistic.
5. Know Where Your Data Is Stored
Data protection acts, such as the UK’s 1998 act, mentions trusted areas, countries, and companies who have taken steps to support data safety. Knowing where the cloud provider will store your data is essential to trusting them.
6. Data Destruction and Data Recovery
At the end of your contract—or if at some point you terminate it—what will happen to the data stored on the provider’s servers? Will any leftover traces be destroyed once you move it to another provider?
Knowing the exact fate of your data is important as it can create security vulnerabilities that can haunt you even after you’ve moved away to another provider.
Cloud Service Security – Summary
In the end, evaluating cloud service security is a multi-step process you don’t want to rush. Pay attention to everything and ask as many questions as you need. That way, you will gain the peace of mind that comes with knowing your data is stored and moves securely.
Cloud Service Security
- Determine What Cloud-Based Service You Need
- Know Who Your Data Controller Is
- Assess the Level of Service Provided
- Check the Provider’s Reputation
- Know Where Your Data Is Stored
- Data Destruction and Data Recovery