With companies across all industries increasingly taking advantage of the so-called digital revolution to improve their workflow and efficiency, many are turning to cloud-based solutions rather than taking on the task of hosting their own storage and services. The convenience and flexibility of the cloud cannot be denied, but it comes with a host of hidden security concerns that are only now, years after the popularisation of cloud-based services, becoming apparent. So what are some of the pitfalls of cloud-based solutions, and how can you protect your business?
What is Cloud Creep, and Why Does it Matter?
There are two related issues here. First, cloud creep, which refers to a business intentionally or unintentionally taking on an increasing number of cloud services, means data which should be kept private or secure ends up in a nearly uncontrollable number of places. This generally occurs not because of business-wide adoption, but because of workers using cloud storage solutions privately to facilitate flexible working solutions, which are in themselves becoming more popular.
While cloud storage solutions are mostly secure, the issue appears because the business is still responsible for the data, so a breach on any number of services could cause a breach for the business, which the business would be held accountable for under new EU and UK data security regulation. Under these regulations, companies could be fined up to 4% of their global turnover or £17 million for data breaches – any fragmented cloud services leave businesses without control of their own data security.
Protecting Your Business
The first step to protecting your business is ensuring general IT security best practices, such as maintaining up to date software and software security solutions, including firewalls, virus scanning software, and file integrity monitoring such as https://www.promisec.com/file-integrity-monitoring-software/. The majority of data breaches come from simple opportunistic attacks, so maintaining best practices is mandatory.
Protecting your business from cloud-related issues is more difficult. Using a minimum of services and also providing an easily integrated solution to employees is probably the best first step, but it may be impossible to amalgamate all services on a single cloud provider.
The cloud is certainly convenient and generally cost effective, but with potential security issues as well as problems surrounding the location of data, the risks and potential associated costs are only just beginning to appear.