cloud computing risks

How to Prepare for Cloud Computing Risks

Here are tips on how you can prepare for cloud computing risks:

1. Choose a solid cloud provider.

2. Know which data is sensitive and at risk.

3. Understand the risks of data loss, security breaches, and privacy issues.

4. Decide whether to use cloud computing for mission-critical functions or not.

5. Use a cloud service that has been audited and reviewed by reputable third parties.

6. Provide proper training to users on how to handle sensitive information in cloud computing environments.

Let us discuss each in detail below:

Preparing for Cloud Computing Risks

1. Choose a solid cloud provider.

There have been many cases of cloud data breaches and cloud computing failures in the last few years. It is therefore important to choose a solid cloud provider. You should check for the following:

  • Background of the cloud provider: Is the provider a well-known company or a new startup?
  • Cloud service offerings: Does it offer the right combination of services required by your organization?
  • Track record: Has it reported any security breaches or outages in the past?
  • SLAs: Does it offer good service level agreements? What are they? Have they been tested by third parties?
  • Guarantee of data privacy and security: Does it offer a company guarantee on data privacy and security?
  • Customer support: Is there 24x7x365 technical support available? Are you able to reach this support team in your language and time zone?
  • Security features offered by the provider and its third-party partners like IaaS providers, storage providers, and database vendors: What security features does it offer for your data at rest, in transit as well as in use? Are these features audited by an independent third party like Veracode or SysTrust?

2. Know which data is sensitive and at risk.

All data is not created equal. Some data is more sensitive than others. Some data is more susceptible to lose or theft than other data. This means that some data requires extra protection than other data. 

Most organizations have a confidential information policy that tells employees which kinds of information are considered confidential. You will need to find out whether your cloud service provider has a similar confidentiality policy and whether it has defined some of the following as sensitive:

  • mission-critical information like trade secrets
  • financial data
  • personal information (e.g., medical records)
  • Sensitive information like credit card numbers, social security numbers, etc.

3. Understand the risks of data loss, security breaches, and privacy issues.

Data loss and security breaches are the biggest risks we face today in using cloud computing services. Here is a list of things you should know about them:

Storage SaaS providers often use an object storage model where individual files are encrypted before being stored in cloud storage repositories like Amazon S3 or Microsoft Azure Blob Storage Service. 

However, if the key is stolen or compromised, then anyone who gets hold of it can decrypt your files and access your data. Similarly, if you lose or forget your password and do not have a backup copy saved locally, then you will lose access to your files forever.

Sever IaaS providers often use a virtual machine image as the unit of storage and support snapshots for rollback purposes in case of problems with your VMs. However, if someone hacks into the server nodes on which these images reside, then he/she can steal these snapshots and compromise your data!

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