Keeping the Cloud Safe

Cloud computing is one of the most exciting and innovative developments in recent technological history. With this new system, computing, storage, and applications can all take place on a virtual realm. This opens up a wide variety of possibilities for individuals and businesses alike. However with such advances, new threats to your security, and that of the cloud infrastructure, are inevitable. To protect your sensitive information, security and understanding must take place on a variety of levels. Looking at how each portion of the system affects the integrity of the whole will keep you prepared to get the most out of cloud computing while also staying safe.

Security on Your End

As with using a computer for any other means, certain factors must be considered when discussing security. First, safe web browsing is essential. Exposing yourself to malicious content and programs by dubious browsing practices is an easy way for illicit individuals or programs to obtain your information. Once they have log-in credentials or other vital data, compromising the cloud is merely a few keystrokes away. To protect yourself and others from this fate, sensible browsing and anit-virus software is recommended.

A Safe Infrastructure

As for the cloud, rigid rules have been put in place by various organizations to ensure the safety of the users. Maintaining these regulations, otherwise known as cloud compliance, is necessary to continue such operations. Without these standards, few would be willing to store sensitive data on the cloud. Risk management drills, proper physical security, and extensive encryption are all covered under these compliance directives. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Council, also known as PCI DSS, has codified these standards. The regulations of the PCI DSS serve as the basis for security for parties operating a cloud system.

The Right People

Although these standards are in place, they can only protect users from outside sources. Unfortunately, malicious activity can occur within an organization just as easily. As with any other company that deals with sensitive information, choosing the right people is essential when operating a secure cloud. If credentials and access are granted to the wrong people, the entire system could face severe corruption. Often, this is initiated by a disgruntled or unstable employee. To help combat this situation, most companies have safeguards and measures which will alert them to suspicious activity within the organization.

Neighborly Threats

Although most assume that protecting themselves and having a secure infrastructure is enough, that is not exactly true. Your data and information that is located on the cloud is stored among a variety of other users. For certain organizations, this can be a major hazard when dealing with a cloud neighbor who has been compromised. If your business deals with highly secured content, engaging in a private cloud may be necessary. If you choose to stay on a public server, keep a wary eye out for changes or differences in your data. This may be a sign that another party has compromised you and the malicious activity is seeping into your content.

 

image courtesy of The online privacy blog

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