Cloud computing security: what you need to know

Posted by: Schepisi - Thursday, November 27, 2014

One of the biggest pain points businesses of all sizes have when it comes to a cloud computing solution is the fear of the unknown: the illusion that the cloud is a mysterious and cryptic technology, a passing fad that will soon fade, and used by a minority of other businesses.

Cloud computing security of often one of the branches deviating from this fear. The cloud needn’t be scary. You just need to be well-educated. You also need to take an active stance when it comes to researching cloud vendors, talking over options, asking the right questions, and beyond. (That is, don't be passive!) 

Here’s what you need to know about secure cloud storage.

secure cloud storage

Cloud security is not an unknown

Cloud computing has been around long enough to have developed into a trusted means of data storage and accessibility, but short enough that many companies are ingrained in their old ways and resistant to  change. Those who fear and reject technology for as long as they can will find themselves resenting the cloud even before they have the opportunity to learn about it. 

Get with the times, CEOs. Just as the cloud is mainstream, so is cloud security (why on earth wouldn't it be?) Continuous maintenance and updates ensures cloud security is robust, everlasting, and strong.

The most reputable providers will offer the most robust cloud security

Why? Because the have the greatest experience, the best infrastructure, and the most resources to ensure your data — whether it’s in a local server or an overseas one —is protected to the nth degree.

Regardless of the size of your business, or your business goals and what you want to achieve from a cloud strategy, security will always be a necessity. 

Vigorous cloud security also means recovery solutions in the case of any type of disaster, wherever your data is located.

If you’re in the early stages of investigating cloud vendors, ensure you’re researching reputable ones who will not only apply steadfast security to your data, but can reactively respond when something goes awry.

Passwords are easily cracked

Yes, just like in the movies. In fact, 90% of passwords can be cracked within seconds. The reasons?

— People are just too lazy

— They use obvious codes 

— They use the same password for everything... 

— eBay, Facebook, Gmail, Twitter and LinkedIn. Get the picture?

— They use shorts words or phrases with no numbers, symbols or capital letters 

DID YOU KNOW: 8-character passwords can be cracked in five hours!

Your cloud is secure, but this is the part where you need to step up. You need to ensure your passwords are strong enough to block any loopholes that allow hackers to seep through and access confidential data.

Secure cloud storage can be enhanced with data encryption

Does your vendor provide encryption tools or apps for you to take an extra step towards data protection? Encryption is a truly effective way to contribute towards a secure cloud storage solution, and works when data is encoded or manipulated in a way that it is incomprehensible to someone who does not have special knowledge to decrypt - or access - the information. 

A famous and simple kind of encryption is ROT13, where each letter of a word, phrase or document is rotated 13 times (so A = N, B = O, C = P and so on). The invention of ROT13 is attributed to Julius Caesar.

Obviously, computer data encryption is much more complex and, as a result, much more unbreakable. Cloud computing vendors should be able to provide you with encryption tools to further enhance security and ensure data is kept safe and unbreakable to the outsider’s eye, whenever you are moving files in or out of the cloud, or if you ever need to transfer data from one server to another. 

Not all data needn't be encrypted in the cloud (by the way, your cloud vendor should be able to explain WHY this is the case, and WHAT data absolutely does), and nor should all your data be encrypted in the same way

Check the details – especially cloud backup

Check policies, allowances, inclusion and extra costs. Make sure contracts are transparent and you understand every part of your data and its security before committing to a vendor. Do you know how often your data will be backed up? And does their cloud backup process continue to protect data the whole way through? Do you have options when it comes to backup, or is it a one-solution-fits-all model?

These are just some more questions and guidelines designed to help you become more familiar (and perhaps less afraid?) of the cloud.

Thought of something else to ask? Get in touch with a Telstra cloud expert today

You can also organise your cloud consultation here.

cloud computing security