Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Zakia Bouachraoui, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Cloud Security, @DXWorldExpo, SDN Journal, @DevOpsSummit

@CloudExpo: Article

Cloud Security Checklist: Make Sure Your Data Is Safe

Cloud resources are becoming a must-have service for businesses since they offer scalability

Recent reports of a massive data breach affecting popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google and Yahoo have many companies rethinking security practices and wondering how to protect vital data. If your company uses cloud services to conduct business and manage data or is contemplating a hosting partnership, it's natural to wonder if your service provider is taking all the steps necessary to keep your confidential information secure.

It's an important issue: Cloud resources are becoming a must-have service for businesses since they offer scalability without requiring a massive investment in hardware. But before choosing a cloud service provider, it's crucial to make sure the company can deliver the security your business needs. Here are some questions to keep in mind when making an evaluation:

What kind of physical security does my cloud hosting partner maintain?
Assess your cloud service provider's physical security safeguards, including controls on facility entry, login access restrictions, CCTV monitoring capabilities, limits on who can access internal systems and administrative functions.

What assurances does the provider offer around confidentiality?
A reputable hosting partner will conduct background checks on employees who handle confidential data and require staff to sign confidentiality agreements. They will also restrict credentials so that only employees who need access can handle your data.

How are firewalls structured, and what other network security measures are in place?
Virtually all hosting providers have a firewall infrastructure in place, but it's a good idea to ask about how it's configured and whether there's an additional charge for the service. Also ask how frequently audits are conducted and what additional network security is in place.

How does the cloud service provider keep software secure?
Many security breaches occur due to software issues, so ask your hosting partner about auditing and find out how often they update security patches. Inquire about automatic update installation and reboots as well to see if these are permitted.

Does the cloud hosting company submit to audits from independent agencies?
One way companies can demonstrate compliance is by submitting to independent audits. SSAE 16 standards verify that an independent auditor assessed the company to make sure their service description matches their organization system.

What backup and redundancy capabilities are available?
Another good question for cloud service providers is what volume of backup space they maintain and how long they keep stored data. Also ask about the cloud infrastructure - specifically inquire about performance levels and system availability as well as failover capabilities and use of redundant clusters.

What kind of protection is available for data during transmission?
It's crucial to make sure confidential information like passwords and client information remain secure during transmission. Ask the company about how firewalls protect this information and if data is protected by VPN encryption. Also inquire about remote access and the use of SSL for logins.

Is it possible to connect physical and virtual resources?
To maintain tight security, potential hosting partners may require safeguards for physical servers that interact with cloud assets. Ask if this can be configured so that you can use both solutions in a single environment for greater efficiency.

What kind of Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are offered?
It's important to pay close attention to the SLAs a cloud service provider offers since this is how providers define their services and describe the performance levels you can expect. Make sure your hosting partner backs promises up with SLAs.

Companies are increasingly using hosted cloud services because it enables them to do more with less and expand capabilities without huge investments in infrastructure. But hacking is on the rise, so it's crucial to make sure a prospective cloud provider offers robust security.

If you're currently using cloud services or thinking about partnering with a hosting provider, take the time to investigate the security measures the company uses to keep client data safe. It takes a bit of time and effort, but it's well worth it to avoid a costly data breach.

More Stories By Jim Potter

Jim Potter is Vice President of Product Management at Hostway. He leads the product management and product marketing activities for the cloud hosting service provider.

Comments (2)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true ...
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
We are seeing a major migration of enterprises applications to the cloud. As cloud and business use of real time applications accelerate, legacy networks are no longer able to architecturally support cloud adoption and deliver the performance and security required by highly distributed enterprises. These outdated solutions have become more costly and complicated to implement, install, manage, and maintain.SD-WAN offers unlimited capabilities for accessing the benefits of the cloud and Internet. ...
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and G...
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that "IoT Now" was named media sponsor of CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO 2018 New York, which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City, NY. IoT Now explores the evolving opportunities and challenges facing CSPs, and it passes on some lessons learned from those who have taken the first steps in next-gen IoT services.
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
Founded in 2000, Chetu Inc. is a global provider of customized software development solutions and IT staff augmentation services for software technology providers. By providing clients with unparalleled niche technology expertise and industry experience, Chetu has become the premiere long-term, back-end software development partner for start-ups, SMBs, and Fortune 500 companies. Chetu is headquartered in Plantation, Florida, with thirteen offices throughout the U.S. and abroad.
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...