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Cloud computing is a technological trend that has taken the business world by storm. Responding to the ever-increasing demand for storage and scalability of operations, cloud environments have been embraced across a wide range of industries. However, companies also need to pay extra attention to the cyber risks that are likely to arise when using the cloud, and beef up their defenses.
The Rise and Challenges of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing has been around for some time, but only recently have providers like Microsoft and Amazon launched comprehensive cloud services packages. This has led to adoption by businesses and organizations taking off, as they seek to take advantage of the tailored options available to meet their hosting needs. In 2018, 77% of companies stated that they host at least a segment of their business computing infrastructure or at least one application on the cloud. The overall amount invested in 2018 in cloud services for businesses was estimated to be $3.5 million, reaching $2.2 million in applications and platforms. In fact, 30% of company budgets related to IT were devoted to developing cloud computing. The tech is not only perceived as a way to allocate funds more sensibly and cut back on costs, but it is also embraced as a way to provide faster IT service delivery, according to 76% of businesses. For 65% of enterprises, the added flexibility that a cloud environment brings is considered among its top benefits.
Yet, when we talk about the cloud, it is important to also talk about cloud security and the strategies that companies can employ to achieve a high level of data loss prevention. Data loss prevention (DLP) focuses on detecting and preventing data breach incidents in order to secure sensitive information and comply with regulatory requirements. Typically, data must be protected against three main threats that can lead to data loss or data leaks: insider threats by malicious users or attackers that have managed to compromise a privileged user account, external attacks like phishing scams and malware, and negligent users that inadvertently disclose sensitive data. In order to effectively combat these threats, companies must deploy an array of targeted solution in order to secure data on the move, in use, or archived – including data stored on the cloud.
How to Protect Your Data on a Cloud Environment
One of the most important decisions for businesses to make in order to protect cloud data is to choose a provider that will be able to offer a high level of security and also the option to integrate seamlessly with third-party cybersecurity solutions designed specifically for cloud environments. The leading brands on the market at the moment are undeniably Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. According to research published on Statista, in 2018 Amazon represented 32% of the rising cloud market, itself valued at $80.4 billion – significantly up from $54.9 billion in 2017. AWS attracted $25.4 billion in cloud infrastructure spending, with Microsoft Azure capturing roughly 50% of that figure at $13.5 billion and Google Cloud ranking third at $6.8 billion. There are several other smaller providers on the market. If one of them stands out to you, make sure to research their track record and read reviews before trusting them with your data.
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Choosing any of the top cloud data host companies means going for a solid security background, but businesses subscribing to such services need to make sure that the deal includes features that are tailored to their needs. Providers like AWS support security measures such as encryption for data in-transit and at rest, as well as cybersecurity accreditation and certification – which are an indispensable part of cloud security. Data encryption, along with data pseudonymization techniques like data masking, are an important line of defense against hackers who have gained unauthorized access. Look into the options available on the market and pick the combination that is right for your business across the public, private and hybrid cloud. More often than not, using public cloud for non-critical data and hosting sensitive data only on a private and strictly monitored cloud environment can be the ideal solution that strikes the perfect balance between cost-cutting and security.
Ensuring a high level of security across users with access privileges is equally crucial, as cybercriminals will try to spot and exploit potential vulnerabilities. Businesses of all types need to deploy measures like web application firewalls to protect applications hosted on the cloud, as well as make two-step authentication the default procedure. Drafting a comprehensive internal policy that outlines cybersecurity best practices lies at the core of effective prevention – but so does educating employees and external users on how to best adhere to the policy. Choosing strong passwords that are harder to crack, using VPN connections to access sensitive data on the cloud, and only using secured devices provided by the employer – and not personal USB sticks that could be potentially later used on a public computer – will contribute to a higher level of cloud security.
When used correctly, cloud computing can make a world of difference for businesses looking for affordable hosting solution that will streamline daily operations – just as long as security remains a top priority.