If you’re considering a digital transformation strategy, data security in the cloud is likely to be one of your major areas of concern. While cloud providers take extensive steps to protect your data both in storage and in transit, that doesn’t lessen your responsibility to protect your data assets. There are eight areas you’ll want to be familiar with and include in any plan for data security.
Privacy Protection: Regardless of what type of cloud environment you choose, whether it’s private, public, or hybrid, you’ll need to control access to data. There will be data that only some personnel can access and certain data that only certain personnel can access under particular circumstances. You’ll also have situations where you’ll have developers testing elements using data they don’t have the authorization to access, so you’ll need a redaction solution.
You’ll need to identify and define sensitive data types then create policies about where the data can go and who can access it. There are automated tools that can help you with this step of the process.
Data Integrity: Another important element of data security in the cloud is the management of how data can be modified. While this is easy with a single database hosted on-site, it gets tricky when it’s stored in a public cloud and there are multiple ways in and out of the database.
Data Availability: Learn the difference between 99.9% uptime and 99.99% uptime and what it means in terms of interruption to business processes. There’s a big difference. While downtime is a fact of life in the cloud era, there should be clear expectations listed in the service level agreement (SLA) along with how failures will be addressed.
Data Privacy: From the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), you need to address compliance with regulations that will not only protect your customers and your proprietary data assets but also prevent a penalty. Find out how well your cloud provider adheres to the regulations and what the impact is if they fail to comply.
Encrypting Data: You’ll find that, generally, all cloud providers offer encryption for data in transit as well as data in storage. What you’ll need to address is who holds the keys for encryption. You may appreciate the control that comes with holding the keys, but be sure to understand the responsibility as well.
Threats: You’ll need tools and strategies in place to monitor your system for anomalies plus some automation in place for addressing those threats. Cyber security threats come in a lot of forms, from a lost or forgotten mobile device to a phishing email. In addition to having the right tools in place, you’ll also need to train employees about the impact of a breach, the importance of password protection and authentication practices, as well as how to recognize the sign that a breach has been attempted.
Staff Influences: In addition to recognizing a potential breach from an outside source, you’ll also want to address the risk of a breach or data erasure by an employee. Many in-house data security problems are not caused by a malicious employee, but rather by one who simply loans out a password or has access to a database that they don’t need for their job.
Your SLA Review: Don’t just read your SLA. Have your in-house attorneys read it, then have an attorney specializing in SLAs read it. Find out what happens if your provider doesn’t maintain their side of the equation and what areas of security you’re responsible for in the agreement.
Maintaining data security in the cloud never happens by accident. Contact us at eXemplify to create a strategy with the right provider and the right policies to protect both your enterprise and your customers.