Posted on: 27 April 2015
Cloud computing offers a host of benefits for individuals and businesses. But, as with any technology, it comes with its risks.
As Alex Hilton from the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) explains, their UK cloud market research reveals that data security, data privacy and data sovereignty remain the key concerns for business. For smaller businesses in particular, security causes the real unease. “Smaller organisations tend to be somewhat more security conscious,” says Alex, “but I think we can attribute this more to a lack of experience than any real threat. Importantly, for the majority these concerns aren’t seen as absolute barriers to cloud adoption and are instead seen as something that can be managed.”
Ten risks to cloud computing
- You’ll need to ensure you have enough bandwidth available to operate your applications successfully - lack of fast broadband makes it difficult to sustain the system. The same goes for WiFi connectivity: if you or your sales team are often in areas with unreliable network coverage, the presence of data on the cloud becomes worthless. Your chosen cloud service provider should help you get this right.
- If your cloud service provider’s system goes down, you won’t be able to access your data until they solve the issue their end. You should have an SLA (Service Level Agreement) in place which ensures this time is minimal, but it could still affect your business even for a short period of time.
- Hosting your data on someone else’s server can cast doubt over who owns and is responsible for it. This means that any documents you save within the cloud may not belong solely to you once you have uploaded it.
- Any sensitive data you hold will need to be protected. How do you know how secure it is when it’s held on a server that isn’t in your control? You will need to ask your cloud service provider to explain the details until you are comfortable with your level of protection.
- If you’re required to disclosure information as part of legal proceedings, how will your provider help ensure you comply with those requirements? How do you know you can access the information when you want it and that you are in possession of all the data that is out there?
- If you’re in a heavily regulated industry, there will be certain data control requirements you have to meet. You will need to be satisfied that you have chosen a cloud services provider that can meet them.
- What if your cloud service provider is in breach of data privacy? Are they indemnified and what’s their liability limited to? There could be implications for you.
- If your chosen cloud service provider hosts data abroad, what international jurisdictions are relevant to you and do you know how you’d be affected?
- Your cloud service provider might subcontract the storage or processing of your data. Their subcontractor might subcontract it again. Before you know it, your data is a long way from your cloud service provider so its harder to rely on there being appropriate security measures in place.
- The chances are that you will share your cloud resources with other companies because your cloud service provider will have other clients. This is called multitenancy. These clients could potentially see your data or pretend to be you and contact your customers.
There are, however, many ways to stay safe in the cloud and add value to your business by using it.
Find out more about cloud computing
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