Is the Cloud Safe? Sure, But Don't Get Complacent
As use of the cloud in business continues to expand, so too, does its acceptance. Naturally, with that acceptance comes a form of comfort and familiarity, which is a close cousin to complacency. You’d be wise not to fall into that trap.
According to Tech Writer Tilly Kidman at AccountingWeb.com, “Cloud computing is altering the way virtually every business stores and manages data.” But, she adds, “Security issues are among their biggest challenge that every business needs to be prepared to deal with” when moving to the cloud.
But she notes that while cloud security breaches seem to be on the rise, that’s not always the case.
“New regulations require brands to report security breaches if any customer data is affected, so the rise in reports is probably more indicative of these new requirements rather than an increase in security breaches.”
Still, it makes sense to take some simple steps to assure that whatever you put in the cloud stays there, until you want to access it. Some suggestions that appeared on CIO.com when the cloud was first gaining prominence still carry a lot of weight, and are worth a re-visit:
Don’t Get Lazy With Passwords: A recent story in The Guardian noted that a majority of passwords out there today are deceptively easy to hack, with favorites being “password” and “123456”. Noted Duncan Stewart, director of research for a Canadian Technology, Media & Telecommunications Predictions report, "Passwords containing at least eight characters, one number, mixed-case letters and non-alphanumeric symbols were once believed to be robust, but these can be easily cracked with the emergence of advance hardware and software.” So what’s your best bet? Passwords that are at least twelve characters long, and include numbers and special characters.
Encrypt. Then Encrypt Again: “Encryption is the best line of defense against hackers,” AccountingWeb’s Kidman says. “You must always look for a cloud provider that has strong encryption algorithms. You should also add your own layers of encryption to make it even more difficult for hackers to penetrate.”
Fire Up the Firewalls: While encryption helps, using firewalls to block unauthorized access is also key.
Be Careful What You ‘Cloud’: The cloud is an obvious target for would-be hackers. “You should always be cautious about storing any sensitive data, such as obvious trade secrets or customer social security numbers,” Kidman notes.
As noted, the cloud is growing, and so are the chances for a hack. Taking steps today can help minimize any damage tomorrow.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson