9 Considerations for Protecting Data in a Cloud Computing Environment

Posted by Dustin Smith, Chief Technologist
October 25, 2017

Cloud computing is fast becoming the first consideration as data centers upgrade and modernize. But it’s important to step back and consider procedures and policies that will help you best manage its use.

Here are nine criteria to consider as cloud computing becomes mainstream:

  1. A list of approved devices. Any employee device that will access company assets like sensitive data needs to meet your security requirements. Previously hacked or modified devices can lead to data exposure, which could affect your organization.
  2. Manage data accessibility. With the mobility of devices and the increased use of applications, it’s important to restrict or encrypt all sensitive data. Not all employees need access to the same data—managing their data accessibility will help minimize data exposure.
  3. Application accessibility. With so many applications in play, it’s important to manage which ones are used and for what purpose. Most applications are gateways through which data can be accessed, and some are less secure than others. As you identify risks, take action to avoid breaches.
  4. Manage passwords carefully. Not all employees use passwords to access their mobile devices. For devices used to access company assets, make sure your employees are using unique and complex passwords. Policies regarding passwords and their usage can go a long way in protecting data.
  5. Know what you and your IT staff will support (and what you won’t). Whether or not IT will resolve technical issues with employee-owned devices depends on a number of factors, such as the number of employees at the organization. A written policy can help your IT group avoid spending countless hours as device troubleshooters.
  6. Consider your corporate legal implications when it comes to data breaches. Personal data such as social security numbers, credit or financial information, and health records carry certain legal ramifications in the event of a data breach. It’s important to understand what data you’re storing and secure it accordingly.
  7. Think long term. As the Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data unfold, the storage requirements you have today will likely be outdated in no time. Plan various scenarios that account for exponential growth to ensure you can grow as your data needs expand.
  8. Consider time and bandwidth needs. Be sure to factor in the need to handle large data sets. Moving a terabyte of data can take time. Until block storage is a thing of the past, these data management needs in the cloud with continue to exist.
  9. Be sure to look internally for opportunities. In many cases, server virtualization can provide all the capacity you need for housing data. While you still may need a backup solution (the cloud can help there) your data storage capacity can expand tremendously with virtualization, helping you get more out of your existing infrastructure.

A cloud-first approach to modernizing your data center infrastructure starts with smart management of your company data. Start with these criteria and expand as you go.

About Dustin Smith Throughout his twenty-year career, Dustin Smith has specialized in designing enterprise architectural solutions. As the Chief Technologist, Dustin is responsible for the strategic direction of aligning the company’s growing consulting services with the client challenges he finds in the field, and he works closely with his regional architects to design new programs to address these issues.

Filed Under: Cloud Computing

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