For a while now, there’s been an unmistakable trend emerging in the digital world, that places cloud computing at the top of everyone’s minds. The cloud has become a powerful and versatile solution for companies who want to embrace new technology, and scale their business according to the needs of an ever-changing market.
Unfortunately, as with any new technology, the cloud has brought with it a number of concerns about security and safety. For brands to feel safe about the data that they’re keeping on the cloud, and also put the minds of their customers at rest, they need to know how to make the transformation as seamlessly as possible. Here, we’ll cover just some of the suggestions that could help you make the journey to the cloud as painless as possible.
1. Understand your Data
Before you start moving your data, you need to understand it. In other words, think of it like moving to a new house – you don’t move all your trash with you. Go through the data that you already have, and decide what you need to keep and move with you. Think about how you can organise your information more effectively too so that you know where to access it when you need it most.
Consider which of your data is the most sensitive, and whether you have any standards in place that will help you to protect that information.
2. Have a Defined Data Life-Cycle Policy
You should know exactly which data is being collected by your business processes, and where that information goes. Think about who is responsible for the data you’re collecting, and whether you have any training in place to prepare your IT staff for the move into the cloud. What policies are in place to govern the movement of your data, and who’s responsible for making sure that those policies are considered properly?
3. Know your Cloud Options
Are you moving into the private cloud, the public cloud, the community or hybrid cloud? Understanding exactly where your information is going is a key element that’s frequently overlooked by many businesses. Here are the basic cloud definitions to consider:
- The public cloud is when different tenants pool resources across the same infrastructure
- The private cloud is when an organisation has its own cloud, not shared with other companies
- The hybrid cloud is a mixture of both public and private cloud functions
4. Understand Identity and Access Management Roles
Who owns the data in your company, who has access to it, and who’s responsible for keeping it safe? Think about who in your business can add, modify, or delete data in your system, and how this process might change when you move to the cloud. You should be focused on building a system administration list. Insist on incorporating the appropriate IAM from the outset, based on roles throughout your business.
5. Apply End-to-End Encryption
The proper encryption of your business data is crucial to cloud security. A recent report suggests that there’s no encryption within 82% of public cloud databases. Encryption ensures that if someone else gets their hands on your data, they won’t be able to read it. When choosing your encryption solutions, make sure that you know who controls and has access to your encryption keys, what data is really being encrypted, and when.
6. Test Your Controls
After you’ve moved your data to the cloud, you should constantly be testing your network for gaps and problems. Ask yourself how you know that your data is truly safe. The cloud service provider you’re working with should provide vulnerability and industry response tools for you to use. It’s up to your company to decide how often an assessment may be required, and scans can be performed on demand, or according to schedules.
7. Back Up Crucial Information
Finally, to spread your risk more effectively, make sure that you back up all of your data within a fault domain distinct from where the initial copies reside. Some cloud providers will offer backup capabilities for an extra cost, but you should consider building your own backups anyway. Customers, not cloud providers, are always responsible for coming up with their own disaster and loss strategies.
Rob is Founder & Publisher of UC Today, a leading news publication specialising in Unified Communications & Collaboration technologies.