Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Cloud Security, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal, @DevOpsSummit

@CloudExpo: Article

Cloud Security Checklist: Make Sure Your Data Is Safe

Cloud resources are becoming a must-have service for businesses since they offer scalability

Recent reports of a massive data breach affecting popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google and Yahoo have many companies rethinking security practices and wondering how to protect vital data. If your company uses cloud services to conduct business and manage data or is contemplating a hosting partnership, it's natural to wonder if your service provider is taking all the steps necessary to keep your confidential information secure.

It's an important issue: Cloud resources are becoming a must-have service for businesses since they offer scalability without requiring a massive investment in hardware. But before choosing a cloud service provider, it's crucial to make sure the company can deliver the security your business needs. Here are some questions to keep in mind when making an evaluation:

What kind of physical security does my cloud hosting partner maintain?
Assess your cloud service provider's physical security safeguards, including controls on facility entry, login access restrictions, CCTV monitoring capabilities, limits on who can access internal systems and administrative functions.

What assurances does the provider offer around confidentiality?
A reputable hosting partner will conduct background checks on employees who handle confidential data and require staff to sign confidentiality agreements. They will also restrict credentials so that only employees who need access can handle your data.

How are firewalls structured, and what other network security measures are in place?
Virtually all hosting providers have a firewall infrastructure in place, but it's a good idea to ask about how it's configured and whether there's an additional charge for the service. Also ask how frequently audits are conducted and what additional network security is in place.

How does the cloud service provider keep software secure?
Many security breaches occur due to software issues, so ask your hosting partner about auditing and find out how often they update security patches. Inquire about automatic update installation and reboots as well to see if these are permitted.

Does the cloud hosting company submit to audits from independent agencies?
One way companies can demonstrate compliance is by submitting to independent audits. SSAE 16 standards verify that an independent auditor assessed the company to make sure their service description matches their organization system.

What backup and redundancy capabilities are available?
Another good question for cloud service providers is what volume of backup space they maintain and how long they keep stored data. Also ask about the cloud infrastructure - specifically inquire about performance levels and system availability as well as failover capabilities and use of redundant clusters.

What kind of protection is available for data during transmission?
It's crucial to make sure confidential information like passwords and client information remain secure during transmission. Ask the company about how firewalls protect this information and if data is protected by VPN encryption. Also inquire about remote access and the use of SSL for logins.

Is it possible to connect physical and virtual resources?
To maintain tight security, potential hosting partners may require safeguards for physical servers that interact with cloud assets. Ask if this can be configured so that you can use both solutions in a single environment for greater efficiency.

What kind of Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are offered?
It's important to pay close attention to the SLAs a cloud service provider offers since this is how providers define their services and describe the performance levels you can expect. Make sure your hosting partner backs promises up with SLAs.

Companies are increasingly using hosted cloud services because it enables them to do more with less and expand capabilities without huge investments in infrastructure. But hacking is on the rise, so it's crucial to make sure a prospective cloud provider offers robust security.

If you're currently using cloud services or thinking about partnering with a hosting provider, take the time to investigate the security measures the company uses to keep client data safe. It takes a bit of time and effort, but it's well worth it to avoid a costly data breach.

More Stories By Jim Potter

Jim Potter is Vice President of Product Management at Hostway. He leads the product management and product marketing activities for the cloud hosting service provider.

Comments (2)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

Latest Stories
Join Impiger for their featured webinar: ‘Cloud Computing: A Roadmap to Modern Software Delivery’ on November 10, 2016, at 12:00 pm CST. Very few companies have not experienced some impact to their IT delivery due to the evolution of cloud computing. This webinar is not about deciding whether you should entertain moving some or all of your IT to the cloud, but rather, a detailed look under the hood to help IT professionals understand how cloud adoption has evolved and what trends will impact th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Transparent Cloud Computing (T-Cloud) Consortium will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Transparent Cloud Computing Consortium (T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data proces...
In the next five to ten years, millions, if not billions of things will become smarter. This smartness goes beyond connected things in our homes like the fridge, thermostat and fancy lighting, and into heavily regulated industries including aerospace, pharmaceutical/medical devices and energy. “Smartness” will embed itself within individual products that are part of our daily lives. We will engage with smart products - learning from them, informing them, and communicating with them. Smart produc...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their online busine...
Qosmos, the market leader for IP traffic classification and network intelligence technology, has announced that it will launch the Launch L7 Viewer at CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley, being held November 1 – 3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The L7 Viewer is a traffic analysis tool that provides complete visibility of all network traffic that crosses a virtualized infrastructure, up to Layer 7. It facilitates and accelerates common IT tasks such as VM migra...
WebRTC adoption has generated a wave of creative uses of communications and collaboration through websites, sales apps, customer care and business applications. As WebRTC has become more mainstream it has evolved to use cases beyond the original peer-to-peer case, which has led to a repeating requirement for interoperability with existing infrastructures. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Graham Holt, Executive Vice President of Daitan Group, will cover implementation examples that have enabled ea...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Coalfire will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Coalfire is the trusted leader in cybersecurity risk management and compliance services. Coalfire integrates advisory and technical assessments and recommendations to the corporate directors, executives, boards, and IT organizations for global brands and organizations in the technology, cloud, health...
In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, will be adding the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor...
November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Penta Security is a leading vendor for data security solutions, including its encryption solution, D’Amo. By using FPE technology, D’Amo allows for the implementation of encryption technology to sensitive data fields without modification to schema in the database environment. With businesses having their data become increasingly more complicated in their mission-critical applications (such as ERP, CRM, HRM), continued ...
In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Claude Remillard, Principal Program Manager in Developer Division at Microsoft, will contrast how his team used config as code and immutable patterns for continuous delivery of microservices and apps to the cloud. He will show the immutable patterns helps developers do away with most of the complexity of config as code-enabling scenarios such as rollback, zero downtime upgrades with far greater simplicity. He will also have live demos of building immutable pipe...
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudbric, a leading website security provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudbric is an elite full service website protection solution specifically designed for IT novices, entrepreneurs, and small and medium businesses. First launched in 2015, Cloudbric is based on the enterprise level Web Application Firewall by Penta Security Sys...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
WebRTC sits at the intersection between VoIP and the Web. As such, it poses some interesting challenges for those developing services on top of it, but also for those who need to test and monitor these services. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Tsahi Levent-Levi, co-founder of testRTC, reviewed the various challenges posed by WebRTC when it comes to testing and monitoring and on ways to overcome them.
Rapid innovation, changing business landscapes, and new IT demands force businesses to make changes quickly. In the eyes of many, containers are at the brink of becoming a pervasive technology in enterprise IT to accelerate application delivery. In this presentation, you'll learn about the: The transformation of IT to a DevOps, microservices, and container-based architecture What are containers and how DevOps practices can operate in a container-based environment A demonstration of how Docke...