Cloud computing has transformed the way that virtually all companies do business. Rather than exclusively relying on software installed on physical hardware located on-premises, cloud solutions make software, computing power, and data storage available on demand, transforming the manner by which businesses can fulfill their technology needs.

For many, the concept of the cloud is a hands-off, invisible solution: Software or data can live on practically any device on the planet and provide instantaneous access to anybody with the proper credentials. But just because cloud solutions are convenient and ubiquitous doesn’t mean that they’re perpetually secure. As with any IT solution, even the most security-focused cloud software is only as strong as its weakest link.

Here are some important questions for your small or medium-sized business to consider when adopting cloud-based technology solutions:

Who controls access to my data that’s stored in the cloud?

Popular services like Dropbox and Google Drive make it easy to create and share documents with a wide range of stakeholders. Although these tools tend to include base-level security solutions like powerful encryption, data access is a shared responsibility between your company and the cloud vendor.

Proper access control is an essential task that must be handled by your organization. From sensitive information to standard collaboration documents, it’s important that only trusted users are able to access and create information within the organization. Third-party access, such as a vendor who needs access to a company account to provide a specialized task, should also be heavily monitored and restricted.

How is my data being stored and protected, and who’s responsible for it?

For most companies that rely on third-party cloud solutions, information is stored off premises at an internet-connected data center. One of the major reasons that cloud companies are able to store and provide 24/7 access to data is an emphasis on reliability and security. From Amazon to Box, these services provide peace of mind through powerful encryption, managed data access, virtually uninterrupted uptime, and data redundancy.

But just because data can be stored in a third-party solution that’s generally considered to be safe doesn’t mean that it’s 100% secure. From widescale data breaches that have leaked passwords from millions of Dropbox accounts to phishing attacks that target Google Drive users, hackers remain determined to strike cloud providers and their end users for a wide variety of nefarious purposes.

In general, it’s wise to keep careful backups of crucial company data in the event of a breach or hacking event. Organizations that seek greater control over their data can also choose to host their own information in a private, on-premises cloud, though those solutions can require additional resources and increase complexity.

Who is backing up the data in case of a ransomware attack?

Because ransomware remains a persistent major threat, rising 62% worldwide between 2019 and 2020, data backups are an incredibly important tool that can help companies become whole again after being shut out by a cyber extortionist. Many cloud companies offer routine data backup services as a standard feature, but unfortunately, backups themselves have become powerful targets for ransomware and can be unknowingly corrupted by malware.

To protect your company’s data against the threat of ransomware, the best option is to create multiple copies of the same information — three copies on two different types of media, one of which is stored off-site and disconnected from the internet. This responsibility tends to fall on organizations, whether it’s a task carried out by your IT department or another trusted third party.

Since 1990, DWD Technology Group has helped clients throughout Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio meet their IT needs. From comprehensive network security to data backup services, DWD has helped small- and medium-sized businesses across a wide range of industries incorporate cloud solutions that are safe, secure, and supported. For a free IT security consultation, contact us today!

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