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Cloud Security for Small to Medium Businesses

How safe is your information in the hands of someone else? In business, the question seems redundant; of course your information is safe as long as whoever you employ adopts industry best practices to protect your data. In the constantly changing world of cloud security, however, your business partner isn’t who you should be concerned about.

Malicious web-based attacks are consistently on the rise, according to a report from the Ponemon Institute that says 79% of businesses saw an increase in targeted cyber attacks last year. As a business owner, you need to be sure that the sensitive information you keep is safe. Failure to do so could cost you upwards of $15,000 if you’re attacked. Luckily, ensuring your cloud security and protecting your company’s information is easy with a little bit of due diligence.

Pro-Active Cloud Security

With every patch comes a potential vulnerability – that’s the game of cloud security. Jeff Cherrington of Prime Factors, a cloud security vendor, points out that data breach disclosure laws aren’t the same for your cloud service providers as they are for your business. Rather, “the organization that owns the data is responsible, even when the cause of the data breach lies with the cloud hosting organization” (via Tom’sIT Pro). To protect your interests, you need to be sure that your service’s security breach prevention is top notch.

The government of Canada recommends a number of things that you should look for when selecting the cloud service that’s right for you. The most significant precautions are effective anti-malware software and encryption. Operational Security Assurance, for example, one of Microsoft’s cloud security “pillars” for Office 365, and a variety of encryption policies help to ensure that your information is safe.

Devices and Cloud Security

One of the greatest benefits of the cloud is easy access from almost any device no matter where you or your employees are. While the advantages of this access are certainly helpful for any business, it’s also one of cloud security’s greatest vulnerabilities. An infographic released by Kensington demonstrates some of the risks associated with personal devices when they concern data security.

To minimize your risk from lost devices, the government of Canada recommends carefully selected cloud security protocols depending on the sensitivity of your information. Deciding which devices employees can use to access the cloud and what to do in the event that they are lost or stolen is essential to ensure effective handling of a potential breech. Apps like Google’s Device Policy can be incredibly helpful when allowing the use of personal devices with the cloud.

Evaluating the risks and benefits of your cloud service might seem daunting at first, but the tools and knowledge needed to ensure your security are simple and always at your disposal. You can stay ahead of the curb by keeping up with frequent, trusted reports like “Critical Security Controls” released by the Center for Internet Security and rest easy knowing your information is well protected.


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Category: Cloud Security

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Article by: Shawn Frey