Surviving the new era: How to stay safe in the cloud
June 10th, 2014
Posted by Mihajlo Kitanoski - Founder, Owner and CEO at CENTROG Information and Communication Technologies
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You may have noticed it recently, (even if your company still hasn’t migrated) that there has been a lot of talk about cloud storage spaces. It seems that individuals and companies love these new invisible things and can’t wait to get rid of their old servers’ room and migrate to the cloud service. But how risky is keeping files on the cloud really? Should you be storing sensitive information on it? If you are thinking about moving to cloud storage space, make sure you understand the cloud concept and are aware of the potential risks out there.
Understanding the cloud
The cloud is a server (as real as the one in your current company) which allows you to store information. Just because the cloud server is not visible does not necessarily mean that it is more risky than your own servers. A cloud provider (the company that you’ll choose for the cloud service) a cloud provider uses reliable servers and a backup system. One of these systems is a failover, meaning a secondary server takes over if the initial one fails for whatever reason, providing solid uptime. Also, most of the cloud providers create backups at least once daily, again for the better convenience of you – the client.
Protecting your company
And then give it to your lawyers too. A service level agreement (SLA) should list of services you will receive from your cloud service provider. Migrating your data on the cloud may be one of the most important decisions you’ll make business wise. You need to make sure you know everything there is to know about your new partner (the cloud service provider) and ask questions for everything that is now written explicitly. The provider should have answers for all of them.
Protecting your sensitive information
Many paranoid Internet resources already suggest you should avoid keeping your sensitive files on the cloud, especially since there has been a big debate about what would happen if the authorities decide to take over the files at some point. But let’s just assume that this is an impossible scenario. Here are some activities that must be taken into account if you are to protect your sensitive information on the cloud.
1. Choose a cloud service provider with two layer authentication. This means that accessing your cloud storage space will require an authentication code as well as password.
2. Change your passwords frequently.
3. Use encryption. This is the best way to protect your data. Basically, you can use encryption in the following way: Choose the file you want to move to the cloud, use software with which you will create a password for that file, and move that password-protected file to the cloud. This way no one can access the file without knowing the password first.
To quickly summarize, no one is really sure if cloud storage is the next best thing. However, if you take certain precautions it can be as safe as keeping the files on your company’s server.