Security for Cloud Computing: Essential Tips for Small Businesses

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cloud computing small businessesCloud computing is a service delivery paradigm where virtualized resources offer the security of data as compared to local servers or personal computers. A breach of security in an organization can result to alteration, loss or access to unauthorized information, consequently becoming the fine line between success and failure of the business. Let’s identify essential tips for cloud computing security for small business. Small businesses should take a comprehensive approach to implement and include cloud security as a security strategy.

Encryption and Tokenization

According to Charles Shaver, Chief Technical Officer at SolidEssay, data is most vulnerable during the transaction process. It is for this reason that encrypting data by incorporating a Point-Of-Sale or EMV (Europay, MasterCard, Visa) enabled system that is, implementation of chip-based terminals is one way of ensuring data is unimpeded from breaches. The cryptographic process ensures that data is authenticated and validated in the entire transaction process, making it resistant to fraud. Addressing authorization liabilities in small businesses is one way of ensuring a streamlined process against hacking attempts that passwords fail to inhibit.

Tokenization replaces sensitive data like the PAN (primary account number) with symbols and values while ensuring the value of the business is preserved. Tokenization systems ensure that PAN is not retrievable from external hosts since it is hosted securely in a PCI-compliant environment. The token value that is assigned to a merchant requires authorization from the business in order to be used. This ensures that data systems within the business are impenetrable to unauthorized access.

User-level Security

This involves controlling and restricting user access to hardware and software systems in the organization. Permission should only be granted to employees when necessary systems and software require installation or updates, thereby  limiting the number of employees who have access to the business data. An organization can limit access permissions to users, especially websites, by granting them roles, that is, a collection of operations that allow users to access a resource. For example, Google Cloud Platform has a Cloud IAM resource that manages access of users in terms of who can access what. There are two methods identified to ensure that data is not misused by users: limiting user access and employing certification. User access and IP specific applications are only some of the security measures that should be implemented. Utilizing certificate-based authentication to identify a user before granting them access to the network is another way of limiting user access.

2FA (Two-factor Authentication)

The proliferation of un-authenticated logins from hackers has necessitated the need to fabricate techniques, resources, and applications that surpass the conventional login requirements: username and password. 2FA is an extra layer of security that generates a code to the user in the form of a text message or an authenticator app to communicate any attempts to sign in on unrecognized devices. The resource uses barcodes and encryption keys before authenticating a user to access any form of data. Cloud-based security providers such as Duo and SAASPASS embrace the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device policy), ensuring that hackers can only gain access to the business’ cloud information if given direct access.

Backing up data

A business needs to assess any potential risks that may arise as a result of “acts of God,” overwritten or corrupted data, fire or an act of malicious persons. Cloud computing often offers backup services like data center resiliency, compliance, disaster recovery and availability of remote data. The backup process involves copying archival data or retention compliance data to cloud backup or third party service provider. Small businesses should have a disaster recovery plan, detailing the disaster insurance coverage procedure in terms of backup data and recovery options to get the organization back online. Morgan Woods, Head of Security department at ConfidentWriters, says, “For an even higher level of security than a scheduled backup, [consider implementing] continuous data protection (CDP)…a system that backs up data in real time as it changes so that data can be recovered from any point in time with no data loss.”

The role of cloud computing in the overall security measures in small businesses, as demonstrated above, constitutes incorporating principles and tips that give the merchants an edge in the market. This article exhaustively outlined how small businesses and website owners can be better and smarter in terms of protecting the organization’s data and information.

Author bio

Paul Bates is a tech geek interested in cloud computing and computer security. He currently works as an IT consultant at BeeStudent and is planning to launch his own startup.

The opinions expressed in this guest contributor article are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of Cloudbric.

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