Data Security In The Cloud: Solutions For Consumers And SMBs

Data Security In The Cloud: Solutions For Consumers And SMBs

Data Security in the Cloud

A recent small business cloud computing survey from Microsoft found that a chief concern of potential SMB cloud customers is the security and privacy of their data. A full 70% of small businesses are concerned about where their data is stored. Just over half of all SMBs cite data privacy as a potential deal breaker for adopting cloud services. And only 36% of businesses think their data is as or more secure in the cloud than their current on premises solution.

Most data security and privacy concerns revolve around four general scenarios:

  1. Hackers compromising data center servers that contain customer or proprietary information.
  2. Hackers “sniffing” improperly secured network traffic.
  3. Data center employees accessing (and possibly sharing) confidential information, especially within a corporate espionage or financial cyber crime context.
  4. Employees losing improperly secured laptops or mobile devices with saved credentials for accessing cloud services.

Thankfully, simple and relatively inexpensive solutions exist for all of these concerns.

Local Data Encryption: Most cloud storage services offer end-to-end data encryption as a standard feature. Unfortunately, relying on a storage provider’s encryption could still leaves data vulnerable to data center employees or hackers who directly compromise the data center’s servers. The simplest method for cloud storage customers to ensure data security is locally encrypting files before uploading them to the cloud. Programs like BoxCryptor allow one-click encryption of individual files or folders.

Encrypted Backup Services: For customers who rely on the cloud for automated backup (without the hassle of individually encrypting files) a third party backup tool can provide an additional layer of security. For example, Duplicati will locally pre-encrypt all designated files using a single user-provided encryption key before automatically archiving and uploading data to a cloud storage provider of the customer’s choice.

Email Encryption: Companies that share confidential information via email should seriously consider PGP for Outlook or GnuPG for Thunderbird. These products encrypt individual email messages using 256-bit AES encryption. Users who prefer webmail can also use FireGPG for Mozilla Firefox to encrypt their email. Email messages encrypted with PGP or GnuPG require that message recipients know the sender’s unique encryption key to decrypt and read the contents of a message.

Third Party Services and Appliances: An entire industry has sprung up around data security in the cloud. Porticor is an example of one such company. The Israeli startup combines a virtual cloud appliance and key management service to securely encrypt data stored in the cloud for Microsoft and VMware cloud applications. Porticor enables companies to run applications in the cloud while keeping their data encrypted.

A number of third party apps, such as Lookout Mobile Security, also exist for locking or wiping mobile devices that may contain saved credentials for cloud services.

HTTPS vs. HTTP Web Services: Many websites offer both HTTP and HTTPS versions of their apps. HTTPS combines the standard HTTP web protocol with the SSL/TLS encryption protocol to provide secure end-to-end data transfer over the Internet. Users concerned with data security should select services which offer the much more secure HTTPS protocol.

When properly deployed, most of these solutions are all but foolproof, but they do require both employee training and commitment. For such security measures to be effective, businesses must invest time and effort into communicating the importance of data security and reinforcing standard security routines.

By Joseph Walker

About CloudTweaks

Established in 2009, CloudTweaks is recognized as one of the leading authorities in connected technology information and services.

We embrace and instill thought leadership insights, relevant and timely news related stories, unbiased benchmark reporting as well as offer green/cleantech learning and consultive services around the world.

Our vision is to create awareness and to help find innovative ways to connect our planet in a positive eco-friendly manner.

In the meantime, you may connect with CloudTweaks by following and sharing our resources.

View All Articles

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Are Cloud Solutions Secure Enough Out-of-the-box?

Are Cloud Solutions Secure Enough Out-of-the-box?

Out-of-the-box Cloud Solutions Although people may argue that data is not safe in the Cloud because using cloud infrastructure requires trusting another party to look after mission critical data, cloud services actually are more secure than legacy systems. In fact, a recent study on the state of cloud security in the enterprise market revealed that…

Carve Outs And The Cloud: A Synergistic Coupling

Carve Outs And The Cloud: A Synergistic Coupling

Carve Outs and the Cloud The mergers and acquisitions market is a complex and challenging industry and the last two years has seen a rise in the number of transactions. Working with companies in this space over the last 10 years, we at RKON have seen and hopefully helped change the mindset of private equity…

Hoarders And Data Collectors:  On The Brink Of Unmanageability

Hoarders And Data Collectors: On The Brink Of Unmanageability

Hoarders and Data Collectors In our physical world, hoarders are deemed “out of control” when they collect too much.  Surely the same analogy applies in our online world.  When providers collect realms of data from us, it seems they lose control of that too?  In the last months it’s not just the frequency of data…

Are You Sure You’re Ready For The Cloud?: Connectivity

Are You Sure You’re Ready For The Cloud?: Connectivity

Cloud Connectivity Many times when we think of “cloud” we think of the elastic compute and storage, but we forget one very important thing, connectivity. Even though connectivity is no part of the cloud itself, it does have a direct bearing on how we access it, use it, and play around with it. If our…

Three Factors for Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

Three Factors for Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy A few weeks ago I visited the global headquarters of a large multi-national company to discuss cloud strategy with the CIO. I arrived 30 minutes early and took a tour of the area where the marketing team showcased their award winning brands. I was impressed by the digital marketing strategy…

What The FITARA Scorecard Tells Us About Government Cyber Security Preparedness

What The FITARA Scorecard Tells Us About Government Cyber Security Preparedness

Government Cyber Security Preparedness Last year’s massive data breach of Office of Personnel Management, as well as other recent cyber security incidents affecting federal agencies, underscored the urgency of bringing the federal government’s security infrastructure up to date. Although many agencies have made strides toward hardening their cyber security, outdated IT infrastructure and architecture is…

5 Companies That Took On The Small Business Cloud – And Lost

5 Companies That Took On The Small Business Cloud – And Lost

5 Companies That Took On The Small Business Cloud The growth of cloud based business support systems has been staggering, and while some major software houses have quickly positioned themselves as forerunners in the move to the Cloud, there are several high-flying companies that have so far failed to provide small businesses with the level…

CloudTweaks is recognized as one of the leading influencers in cloud computing, infosec, big data and the internet of things (IoT) information. Our goal is to continue to build our growing information portal by providing the best in-depth articles, interviews, event listings, whitepapers, infographics and much more.

Advertising