1. Know where your data lives
Understanding where your data will be stored and the cloud providers security policies is important when deciding how to use the cloud environment because it helps keep your data physically safe. Make sure that the data center takes the issue of security seriously and get references from other clients about their experience with their data center.
Knowing how your data will be partitioned on shared servers and networks can further ensure that your information is as secure as possible. In some cases, data from all users intermingles with one another, reducing the security of your data. Determining how data transfer is handled can be a deciding factor regarding your data center choice.
Another topic of discussion that is often overlooked when securing your data is determining how your datacenter will purge your data upon termination of your contract. Many companies become focused on how their data is accessed and the conditions under which it is stored, but forget to ask how it is erased. Talking to your data center can help you gain a better understanding of how your data will be eliminated from their infrastructure when your contract has ended.
2. Always back up your data
Making a copy of your data might not seem like it will make your environment secure, but it is important because it gives you access to your data in the event of a disaster or crisis. Choosing an off-site location for your backups is the best option for your backup plan. This type of plan will keep your data safe and always accessible remotely.
3. Test, Test, Test
While you are determining how to use the cloud and looking for methods to secure it, be sure that you are also taking time to test. It's important to find a solution that looks like it will best support your environment's security needs, but it's equally important to test it to make sure it works like it should and is indeed a good fit for your environment.
4. Understand the compliance laws and regulatory standards
Defining the laws and regulatory standards that your business must comply with is the first step toward making sure that you meet those requirements. Explaining these clearly to the data center of your choice and laying out who is responsible for which portions of your compliance can help you effectively determine an approach that will work toward those requirements.
Managing all of your passwords is a critical step toward keeping your cloud environment safe. Inevitably, every system you use is password protected as a basic security feature and end users must write them down to keep them all connected to the appropriate account, reducing the effectiveness of password protection. Introducing a system that keeps track of these for you can help end users keep their passwords more secure while managing them more effectively. An alternative to passwords is a security question or series of security questions.
A more modern form of security is the use of two-factor authentication. This involves the use of both a password and an access code. Both are needed to log in to the cloud environment, helping to deter intruders from gaining unauthorized access. Encryption codes can also be used to help secure your data and applications.
6. Be Careful Where You Log In
In an increasingly mobile world, we often think of our virtually unlimited access to our resources as nothing more than a convenience. Be especially mindful of where you log in to your cloud. A friend's phone or tablet, Internet cafe, library or other public places can open your cloud environment up to potential malicious acts.
Monitor the flow of data in your cloud environment and analyze alerts. Keeping a sharp eye on your cloud can give you a warning when an unauthorized person is in your environment and keep you a step ahead in acting against them.
There are many ways to help keep your data safe in a cloud environment while you are determining how to use the cloud. These six steps: being aware of where your data lives, consistently backing up your data, testing, familiarizing yourself with compliance laws, regulating your passwords and being careful of where you are logging in can help you begin to secure your data in the cloud.