Let’s put one thing to rest right away – the cloud is not any more or less secure than more traditional methods of data storage and transfer. There are security risks associated with using the cloud, of course; that’s true of virtually any platform or service.
In the case of the cloud, it simply has its own unique crop of security problems that some businesses haven’t yet adapted to. Right, now that we’ve got that out of the way…
As I’ve said, cloud storage isn’t less secure than a traditional server. With that in mind, there’s still certain information that you should generally avoid storing online. The data we’re about to go over is stuff that could easily land you in legal hot water – or even destroy your business – if its compromised.
“Not all information belongs in the cloud,” writes Kate Rogers of Fox Business.“Putting sensitive information on the cloud can be risky, and can be a major blow to a small business if breached.”
Suffice it to say, the level of security this sort of information requires isn’t always possible with a public cloud (or even a private one, for that matter).
Medical data is subject to some fairly extensive security requirements – outlined under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Here’s the thing – most cloud providers aren’t actually required by law to follow it. What that means is that it falls on you to determine whether or not your service provider uses HIPAA-compliant encryption and security.
If they don’t, then you’re the one who gets in trouble if and when your information winds up compromised.
Legal Or Financial Files
Anything pertaining to legal proceedings or finance falls under a similar purview to medical data – to say nothing of the trouble it could cause for your business if someone gets hold of your banking information. Generally, this sort of stuff should be stored on a dedicated server or a local network – not a cloud platform. If you’re still insistent on putting your data online, best be sure your provider complies with SOX or FIPS (depending on whether you’re storing legal data or tax information).
If they don’t, then either find a new provider or find somewhere else to store your files.
Last, but certainly not least, can you call to mind any data which, if it were made public, could completely decimate your organization’s edge on its competitors? Are you aware of any files which contain trade secrets, copyrights, or private information about your business? Keep all of that off the cloud – trust me.
Keep Your Head In The Cloud
The cloud is an incredibly powerful tool in the right hands. When used properly, it can enable a business to be more agile, effective, and efficient than ever before. That said, there are certain organizations that simply shouldn’t be using the cloud – or at the very least, should stick to a private cloud.
Image credit: Rob Pongsajapan
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