‘Is the cloud safe?’ is a common question circulating around cloud computing. It is safer than older technology, but exactly how safe is the cloud? Risks associated with cloud computing exist. Storing sensitive information in the cloud is vulnerable to hackers and viruses, such as malware and ransomware. However, while security threats subsist, precautions and security measures reduce the chances of victimhood.
How Safe is the Cloud?
First, let’s draw attention to how safe the cloud already is before looking at additional steps to reinforce security in the cloud. There are three types of cloud offerings: public, private, and hybrid. The public cloud, offered by cloud service providers that rent out its cloud to users, deploys quickly and is easily accessible. The private cloud is established through an enterprise’s onsite servers and data centers. Enterprises opt for the private cloud due to enhanced security compared with the public cloud and for the autonomy to monitor performance and detect issues. The hybrid cloud combines the benefits of the public and private. It delivers the benefits of the public cloud’s quick deployment and the private cloud’s security enhancements.
A critical step to ensuring cloud security is to review the cloud service provider and how its security protocols protect data from hackers. SANS, in its OUCH! Newsletter, lists these four considerations when choosing a cloud service provider:
- Provides support that is readily available
- User friendliness of the cloud service.
- Encrypts data. Also, review its data collection policies when a user accesses the cloud.
- A user’s legal rights and the terms of service that verify who can access data.
Is the Cloud Safe? More Steps to Protect Data
According to Red Hat, “preventing unauthorized access in the cloud requires shifting to a data-centric approach.” These are additional steps users can take to protect sensitive data.
- Use a service that encrypts data.
- Use two-step authentication for accessing accounts, such as email and banking.
- Verify that the files are not shared with the public by default when setting up files on the cloud.
- Continuously monitor the network through network performance management (NPM) tools.
- Understand compliance.
- Use a cloud-hosted key management service to create, use, rotate, and destroy encryption keys. Or use application programming interfaces (API) to encrypt and decrypt data.
- “Segment business applications using Zero Trust principles,” according to Palo Alto Networks.