While cloud security concerns are top of mind with many business owners, the benefits of the cloud far outweigh the risks. Nevertheless, as companies deploy cloud computing, taking cloud security seriously will ensure a smooth transition to the cloud.
Top Cloud Security Concerns
If you are moving your business to the cloud it is important to understand and address your security needs. For many companies, the top concerns of cloud security are cloud service provider’s encryption policies, business continuity and disaster recovery capability, data protection and data integrity. There are a number of other critical concerns, such as the physical security, identity and access management, and regulatory compliance.
How to Protect your Data in the Cloud
Create Strong Passwords
An important step you can take to protect your data in the cloud is to create a policy for passwords within your organization. By requiring a string of text combining numbers, letters (both uppercase and lowercase), and special characters your employees will avoid common passwords that are easily hacked. Also, ensure that your company policy requires changes to passwords regularly and asks employees to use unique passwords when accessing the cloud from their desktops.
In addition to creating strong passwords, it’s important for your company to keep your network in compliance. Your network is secure as its/ weakest point of access. Ensure desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones are maintained with the latest operating system patches and are protected by up to date antivirus and antimalware definition updates.
End User Training on Security
Employees with a clear understanding of security policy and related risks will help keep your data protected in the cloud. Employees educated in the importance of password protection and network compliance may help allay cloud security concerns. According to CompTIA’s 9th Annual Information Security Trends study, only 3 in 10 customers report engaging in heavy and comprehensive review of their company’s security policies.
Has your company reviewed how you want to handle security, reliability, compliance, and legal issues related to your cloud service? If not, consider contacting a cloud computing professional to review your cloud security policies today.
Managing A Mobile Workforce
The transition to the pervasive use of mobile devices in and outside of the workplace has been both an advantage and disadvantage for small to medium sized businesses. On the one hand, when employees use their own mobile devices for work, businesses cut drastically on month-to-month device and carrier plan costs. Yet, personal mobile devices pose as a potential security threat to your business. Therefore, it is imperative that your organization devises a mobile device management solution before a security attack.
Keep in mind that security attacks are not limited to external hackers – several studies have shown that data breaches more commonly come from internal sources. Your own employees, whether knowingly or inadvertently, can be a source of a data breach to your organization. Here are three important tips on mobile security:
1. Make a Company-Wide Policy and Educate Your Employees
It is important that you educate your employees using mobile devices for work on the threats and risks of mobile computing. Encourage your employees to keep devices up to date with O/S security updates, anti-virus, and anti-malware. Even better, automate the process so you don’t have to count on busy employees remembering to update software. Write an official company policy that explains what they shall and shall not do on their mobile devices. Employees should store personal data in a separate area from company data on their mobile devices. And, when an employee leaves the company, do not forget to wipe company data from personal mobile devices before they leave.
2. Use a Mobile Device Management Solution
Choose a mobile device management system that supports multiple platforms – Android, Blackberry, iOS, and Windows and that uses one management console so that you can manage all mobile devices from one point. Many MDM solutions also offer application management and content management, which helps protect your organization’s data tremendously.
3. Use a VPN
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a group of networks grouped together over a public network, i.e. the Internet. VPNs allow your employees to get access to network resources when they are not physically in the office. Most importantly, it guarantees that all of the data your employees are sending and receiving is encrypted and secured.
Does your organization have a mobile device management solution set in place?