How to stay secure in the cloud

Posted on October 31, 2017

How To Stay Secure In The Cloud

Hard drive failures, server meltdowns and misplaced external devices have been a constant scourge for businesses over the past few decades.

Lost data associated with these hardware failures carry the potential for enormous losses in productivity.

Thanks to cloud computing—and the ever-growing number of businesses storing their data using this method—those problems are rapidly becoming a thing of the past.

By storing your data on a network of remote servers on the internet dubbed the 'cloud', the potential for lost data has become drastically reduced.

In July 2017, Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed that the number of domestic businesses taking up cloud computing services had soared from 19 per cent to over 30 per cent in just 12 months.

Business is booming on the cloud, but before you take this option up, there are security measures that need to be implemented.

With data stored remotely and not on solid drives that can only be accessed internally, hackers have an increased ability to get their fingers on this information.

A local example of migration to the cloud

Business has been good in recent years for Sydney-based commercial and industrial property group Goodman.

So much so that it has expanded to 33 offices spread across 16 countries. This led to an obvious challenge, with its SharePoint environment stored on an ageing storage area network (SAN).

Instead of taking the costly route of upgrading the SAN, Goodman approached Vocus to migrate their business-critical application to the cloud.

Goodman decided to house this application on Amazon Web Services (AWS), using Vocus Cloud Connect to provide the stability and security they needed to port the data to AWS.

"With Vocus, the stability of our connection to AWS has been very consistent," Goodman head of infrastructure Bart Tuteleers said.

Here is how you can protect your business data in the cloud

  • Be selective with information stored in the cloud: If your business has ultra-sensitive data or information that you suspect could be a target for hackers, prevention is always better than the cure. In these instances, multi-layer security and private cloud services are your best option. Also look at dedicated connections, rather than Internet based connectivity, and encrypt all data in-flight.
  • Don't take shortcuts with passwords: There is no point in building a massive safe if the lock and key are easily picked. When it comes to storing data on the cloud, this principle is the same. Using the tried and tested eight character password with a mixture of numerals, mixed cases and non-alphanumeric symbols is no longer considered safe. Software freely available on the internet is able to crack these passwords in under five hours.
  • Ensure your data is encrypted: This is by far the most effective method for protecting your data, as any intruder who gains access to it won't be able to read or use it. There are many commercial encryption methods available, as well as encryption built into cloud services themselves.
  • Use a trusted host, and method to get the data into the cloud: There are so many cloud options available, it is important to ensure that the service you use is secure. Vocus uses its own Cloud Connect method to ensure safe passage of your data to the cloud, and links to respected and trustworthy platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.
  • Always ensure your information is backed up on multiple platforms. A strong back-up system will drastically reduce down time periods in the advent of a data disaster.

At the current rate of take up, it won't be long before almost all business is done using cloud hosted services.  There are a range of factors businesses need to consider when making the transition, including access to data during the switch, security measures and safer password solutions, including multifactor authentication. To find out the best options for your business, contact Vocus.

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