One of the most common concerns businesses have when they consider adopting a cloud computing solution is that they will have less control over their IT system. Thus, they worry that their data will not be secure enough, and their concern is understandable. Data breaches are expensive, both financial-wise and reputation-wise, and with attacks becoming more and more sophisticated, security has become a top priority. Luckily, adopting cloud computing does not mean that you have to give up security, but you will want to do your research when comparing options.
1. Dedicated Hardware
One important component to look at when evaluating a cloud database provider is where your data will actually be stored. Will there be a single machine that is dedicated to your data only? Knowing where your data resides is important to ensuring its safety. It is also important to find out what happens to your data should you decide to leave a particular provide or if the provider should go out of business. Be sure your contract addresses all of the possibilities so that you know for sure where your data will be at all times, and that you will have access to it.
2. Data Backups
Backing up your data is such a basic security precaution, much like an e signature, that it may seem silly to even mention. However, forgetting to have backups can have serious consequences for any size business. A good cloud provider should provide automatic backups for you, but when it comes to your sensitive data, it would be wise to have an additional set in an entirely separate location.
3. Ask about Security Measures
While you can certainly install firewalls and antivirus software on your end, that only does any good when your computers are connected to the cloud. To ensure that your data is protected the entire time, ask a potential cloud provider about its own security measures. A reliable service should have its own firewalls, antivirus software and other sensors that detect potential problems. Also ask them if they specialize in being compliant with certain types of laws, such as HIPAA, and if they currently have any clients that have specific compliance requirements.
4. Ask for References
Just like with any other kind of service, you don’t have to take the provider’s word for it when it comes to security. Instead, ask for some client references you can contact. Specifically ask for those clients that would need stringent security, such as a governmental organization or health care. Actually contact these groups yourself or check out reviews online, so you can find out how they use the cloud service and perhaps gain some ideas on how to buff up your own security.
5. Test and Compare
Some cloud database providers such as Qubole will allow you to test their service for free, so take advantage of the offer and test and compare several different providers. You will also want to test your own security measures by asking an ethical-hacker to try and break in or even having some of your own IT guys try it. You may be surprised at how many weak spots your security system has, but unless you put in the effort to find, you won’t know which areas need to be strengthened in the first place.