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More and more organisations are entrusting their IT resources and processing to the cloud. This trend is likely to grow in the coming years. To illustrate, Gartner predicts that cloud data centers will process 92 percent of workloads by 2020. Cloud workloads are expected to increase 3.2 times in that same span of time, Cisco forecasts.

With migration on their minds, many businesses are beginning to wake up to the security challenges of hosting data in the cloud. Security has been one of the main reasons that many business leaders have been slow to adapt to the cloud. Many businesses used to think that by keeping their data on premise that it would be more secure but this simply isn’t the case anymore.

The cloud offers a number of security advantages—many of which are the same as on-premises technologies. Before you assume that the cloud isn’t safe, it’s worth taking a look at what’s available to you and evaluating the risks associated with moving to the cloud.

According to Corey Louie, the Head of Trust, Safety, and Security at Dropbox, the best solutions will serve as an extension of the network and security infrastructure that you already have in place. When deployed properly, cloud solutions can help SMEs and Enterprises achieve more agility and can help with cost savings.

Why move to the Cloud?

  • Offload equipment costs

Cloud computing cuts out the high cost of hardware. You simply pay as you go and enjoy a subscription-based model that’s kind to your cash flow. Add to that the ease of setup and management and suddenly your large IT project looks at lot friendlier.

  • Security

Lost laptops can cost businesses thousands of pounds every year. And potentially greater than the loss of an expensive piece of kit, is the loss of the sensitive data inside it. Cloud computing gives you greater security when this happens. Because your data is stored in the cloud, you can access it no matter what happens to your machine. And you can even remotely wipe data from lost laptops so it doesn’t get into the wrong hands.

  • Increased collaboration

When your teams can access, edit and share documents anytime, from anywhere, they’re able to work more efficiently together. Cloud-based file sharing applications help your employees make updates in real-time and gives them full visibility of their collaborations.

  •  Work from anywhere

With cloud computing, if you’ve got an internet connection you can be at work. Businesses can now offer more flexible working perks to employees so they can enjoy the work-life balance that suits them – without productivity taking a hit. One study reported that 42% of workers would swap a portion of their pay for the ability to work flexibly.

  • Increase Flexibility and Scalability

Cloud-based services are ideal for businesses with growing or fluctuating bandwidth demands. If your needs increase it’s easy to scale up your cloud capacity, drawing on the service’s remote servers. Likewise, if you need to scale down again, the flexibility is baked into the service.

  • Automatic software updates

 The beauty of cloud computing is that the servers are off-premise, out of sight and someone elses responsibility. Suppliers take care of them for you and roll out regular software updates – including security updates – so you don’t have to worry about wasting time maintaining the system yourself.

  • Improve disaster recovery and business continuity

Businesses of all sizes should be investing in robust disaster recovery, but for smaller businesses that lack the required cash and expertise, this is often more an ideal than the reality. Cloud is now helping more organisations buck that trend. SME’s are now twice as likely as larger companies to have implemented cloud-based backup and recovery solutions that save time, avoid large up-front investment and roll up third-party expertise as part of the deal.

There are still those who hesitate when choosing the cloud, which is why it is important to understand what the security threats are, and how to approach security for a cloud-based technology or solution.

What are the risks?

  • Data Theft/Breaches

Cloud computing and services are relatively new, yet data breaches in all forms have existed for years. Data on cloud services can be lost through a malicious attack, natural disaster, or a data wipe by the service provider. Losing vital information can be devastating to businesses that don’t have a recovery plan.

  •  Hijacking of Accounts

Attackers now have the ability to use your (or your employees’) login information to remotely access sensitive data stored on the cloud; additionally, attackers can falsify and manipulate information through hijacked credentials.

  • Insider Threats

An attack from inside your organisation may seem unlikely, but the insider threat does exist. Employees can use their authorised access to an organization’s cloud-based services to misuse or access information such as customer accounts, financial forms, and other sensitive information.

  • Prevention of Service Assaults

Unlike other kind of cyberattacks, which are typically launched to establish a long-term foothold and hijack sensitive information, the prevention of service assaults do not attempt to breach your security perimeter. Rather, they attempt to make your website and servers unavailable to legitimate users.

  • Shared Vulnerabilities

Cloud security is a shared responsibility between the provider and the client.

This partnership between client and provider requires the client to take preventative actions to protect their data. While major providers like Microsoft and Google do have standardized procedures to secure their side, cloud practices and controls is up to the client.

What now?

Most of the issues we have looked at here are technical in nature, however the security risks are easily prevented with a clear plan for goals, resources, and policies for the cloud. In other words, without a clear security strategy for your Cloud environment your business is vulnerable to attack.

Insufficient due diligence can also pose a security threat when an organisation migrates to the cloud. Many businesses make the leap too quickly without outing the necessary security steps in place to meet employee and customer expectation.

By being aware of the security concerns that can affect you cloud environment, you and your team can build a cloud security strategy to protect your business. For help and advice on building your security strategy contact Taylor Made today on or call us on 01329 239900.

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