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Close-up Shot of Female IT Engineer Working in Monitoring Room. She Works with Multiple Displays.
With the rise of multiple small, medium, and large scale cloud storage service providers, cloud security has become a concern among the customers of these organizations. Of course, whenever a user hands over data to these companies, they want it to be in safe hands. The popularity of cloud storage services boomed in 2005-2006, when several cloud services popped up. Initially, the services were used with the assumption that they kept the data safe. But, with several breaches reported by the media, this put a very valid concern into the minds of the people utilizing these services, especially among some of the strongest clients that these service providers have. This lead to a need for proper auditing of the operations of these vendors.

Challenges

With new clients adopt cloud storage services in the operations of their business, there are new challenges that should be addressed by IT auditors.  Below are a few examples.

Banking Sector Clients need a perfect security strategy, as any sort of data theft can lead to detrimental results for a bank’s own clients and reputation. Thus, auditing of any cloud service provider that has a bank as its client needs to look into multiple aspects of cloud security from any kind of onsite data, from theft by the employees of the service provider to cyber-attacks which intend to gather bank information such as card details, personal information, etc.

Government Institutions have a lot of personal data such as addresses, tax and income details, contact details and other information. If this data is not adequately protected it may lead to all kinds of problems for both the people and the government of a particular region.

Medical Institutions also possess data that is of private nature. Medical records and insurance details of regular and emergency patients require good security measures on the part of the service providers. There is a need for new approaches to protect customer data, especially because the security measures employed by cloud service providers are shrouded in mystery.

The Auditing Requirements

The first condition for proper auditing of cloud storage services is the independence of the audit firm. External audits are a better representation of transparency to a company’s clients compared to internal audits. Furthermore, the audit firm should specialize in dealing with cases of cloud security and should be well acquainted with the basic and complex data security measures that any cloud storage vendor has to take in order to adequately protect consumer data. The measures must meet the legal requirements of the client-vendor relationship and those measures can ensure success against any sort of threats to data.

However, there is one thing that should be kept in mind. With new innovations in the world of cloud computing, IT security firms have to adopt the emerging approaches in their audit strategy in order to ensure that sensitive corporate and personal data does not get into the hands of hackers, rogue employees or anyone else not authorized to view the data. Making sure the audit meets all current requirements is crucial if vendors want to retain or attract clients, especially corporate clients who prove to be very profitable for cloud hosting companies.

Approaches for Auditing Cloud Storage Services

Now that we know the importance of auditing cloud storage vendors, a question arises about the responsibility of who should conduct the audit. It is probable that any audit by the vendor or the client would result in a biased dishonest result. Therefore, the desirable option is a third party storage audit service which has experience, capabilities, and expertise to do the job efficiently. The following aspects and approaches to cloud security must be considered.

Transparency. This requires agreements between the cloud service provider and client such that the agreement highlights the service provider’s policy on data security. Service providers should also make audit results available to clients.

Encryption. Traditionally, the data owner has control over encryption, but there are chances that the service providers might have the ability to decrypt user data. A possible solution to this is to use a homomorphic and third-party encryption service.

Colocation. Although rare, this challenge can be addressed by standardizing and increasing oversight.

Size and Complexity. This problem arises because of the sheer number of virtual and physical hosts that need to be audited. Until and unless there is a proper oversight mechanism, the process of auditing may become rough, lengthy and time-consuming.

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About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.

Stealing personal data through a laptop concept for computer hacker, network security and electronic banking security
Cloud Computing continues to transform the way in which organizations use, store, and share data, applications, and workloads. Cloud Computing has also introduced a variety of security threats and challenges. With so much going into the cloud, public cloud servers in particular, these assets become the natural targets for violators.  

The Vice President and Cloud Security Leader at Gartner Inc, Jay Helser, states that “The volume of public cloud utilization is growing rapidly, so that inevitably leads to a greater body of sensitive stuff that is potentially at risk”.

In contrast to what many people might think, the major responsibility for protection of corporate data in the cloud does not lie within the service provider, but only with the cloud customer. According to Heiser, “We are in a cloud security transition period in which focus is shifting from the provider to the customer”. He states that “Enterprises are learning that huge amounts of time spent trying to figure out if any particular cloud service provider is ‘secure’ or not has virtually no payback.”

7 Cloud Security Threats

  1. Data Breaches

A breech in data could be the main objective of a targeted attack or it might just be a result of human error, application failure, or poor security practices. It can involve disclosing any type of information which was not intended for the general public. This includes personal information such as health, financial, personality identifiable information, property information or trade secrets. An organization’s cloud-based data might hold value to different parties for various reasons. The risk of the data being breached is not unique to that of cloud computing. However, it does consistently rank as number one when it comes to customers.

  1. Insecure interfaces and application programming interfaces (APIs)

Cloud providers have exposed a variety of software user interfaces (UIs) or APIs which customers can use to manage and interact with the cloud services. Provisioning, management, and monitoring are all performed using these interfaces. The security and availability of general cloud services are dependent on the security of the APIs. They should be designed to defend against accidental and malicious attempts to circumvent the policy.

  1. Insufficient identity, credential, and access management   

Violators impersonating as legitimate employers, operators, or designers can read, change, and sometimes even delete data. They will also try to issue the control plane along with management functions, sneak on data in transition, or even release malicious software which appears to initiate from a genuine source. As a consequence, inadequate identity, qualification, or key administration can enable illegal access to data and hypothetically catastrophic damage to establishments or end users.

  1. Account Hacking

Account hijacking or hacking is one of the oldest kinds of cloud corruption. However, cloud services have added a new threat to the landscape. If attackers gain access to a user’s credentials, they can easily eavesdrop on numerous activities and transactions taking place.  They can also manipulate data, return falsified information, and redirect the customers to illegitimate websites. The account and service instances may become the new base used by attackers. With these stolen credentials, hackers might also gain access to critical areas of cloud computing services which allows them to easily compromise the confidentiality, availability, and integrity of these services.

  1. System Vulnerabilities

System vulnerabilities can be defined as exploitable bugs in systems which the attackers can easily make use of in order to penetrate a system for data theft, taking entire control of the system and/or disrupting the service operations. Susceptibilities within the apparatuses of the operating system might put the security of all of these services, along with the data, at a significant risk. With the introduction of multi-tenancy in the cloud, schemes from various establishments have been placed close to each other along with being given access to the shared memory with resources which creates a new attack surface.

  1. Data Loss

The data which has been stored on the cloud might be lost for numerous reasons other than malicious attacks. Data could be lost due to accidental deletion by the provider of the cloud service or even because of a physical catastrophe such as a fire. This might lead to the permanent loss of data, unless the provider has taken measures to properly back the data up. 

 

  1. Denial of Service (DoS)

DoS attacks have been designed in order to prevent users of this service from being able to access the data and the applications. By compelling the targeted cloud service to ingest inordinate amounts of the finite system resources for instance processor power, network bandwidth, and disk space, the attackers might cause the system to slow down and leave all of the legitimate users without access to the services.


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About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.

Digital security concept
Cloud computing security generally refers to a wide range of policies, technologies, and controls deployed in order to protect cloud data, applications and the associated infrastructure of cloud computing. Emails containing financial documents in cloud hosting are at the highest risk of theft. Businesses should always avoid sharing very important information over the internet. To learn more about the major security issues that you have to consider and ways that you can avoid them, keep reading.

The security concerns associated with cloud computing are divided into two main categories:

  • Security issues faced by the cloud security providers
  • Security issues faced by their customers using the cloud security software

The responsibility of securing the data is divided among the two parties – providers and customers. The provider should always ensure that the infrastructure is secure and that their client’s data is protected. The users, on the other hand, should also ensure that they keep a keen check on their cloud security applications and inhibit safety protocols such as placing strong passwords and authentication methods so that only authorized personnel are able to access the data.

Whenever an organization decides to put their data online with a cloud security software or application, the physical accessibility is reduced. Therefore, keeping a watchful eye over the employees who have access to that information is necessary as insider attacks are a very big threat to organizations and businesses. Alongside, data centers should be under surveillance most of the time.

Cloud Security Controls

The architecture of cloud security is effective only when you have a proper security and defense system. Without proper security measures and authentication procedures, online emails or any data that is exchanged between the customer and the client or the employee and the employer are at very high risk of being lost to foreign uninvited entities. Although there are many types of controls that management can implement and utilize to reduce the risk of data loss or online attacks, they are mostly found in one of the following categories:

Deterrent controls

Deterrent controls make attackers aware that there will be adverse consequences for them if they proceed with stealing data or perform any kind of suspicious activities.  They work more like a warning system.

Preventive controls

Preventive controls play a vital role in strengthening the system. For example, strong authentication of cloud user’s enables only authorized personnel to access the data.

Detective controls

Detective controls are intended to detect and react appropriately to any incidents that may occur on the online platform that you have put your data on. In the event of an attack, the detective controls trigger the security protocols and address the attacker and the owner of the data that something is suspicious. System and network security monitoring, intrusion detection systems, and prevention arrangements are all part of detective controls.

Corrective controls

Corrective controls normally limit the damage of attacks by coming into effect during or after the incident occurs. An example of this is when the system is backed up in case of an attack.

Now that you are aware of the ways you can protect your online data, let’s take a look at the security and privacy methods you can adapt to reduce the risk of theft.

Security and Privacy

Identity Management

Almost every industry has its own verification system to allow only authorized people into the business vicinity. Cloud providers mostly integrate the customer’s identity management system into their own system or by using a biometric verification system. No matter what procedure you use, make sure that you are aware of the people leaving and entering in addition to the people that are accessing the online date.

Physical Security

Cloud service providers ensure the security of a workplace against unauthorized access to theft. They ensure that essential supplies are provided such as electricity in order to minimize the damage for any cases of theft or loss of important financial documents.

Privacy

Providers ensure that critical data is masked and encrypted and that only the authorized users have access to the important information.

A number of security threats are closely associated with cloud data services. Therefore, whatever purpose you have for cloud data services, always ensure that you have sufficient security protocols, especially when you are sharing financial emails or any data that may be at risk.

Data security can be extremely beneficial and accessible, but, alongside, it is necessary to protect it from risks. Make certain that accuracy is maintained, data is kept confidential and that you are able to access the controls of your online services and cloud data usage.

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About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.

 

 

 

 

Male and Female IT Engineers in Data Center / Server Room, They are Talking. One of them Holds Tablet Computer.
It took us a quite a while to start trusting the cloud. Even after that, it took years to find out the best option between a private and public cloud. We have now reached a point where businesses are shifting towards a more hybrid IT infrastructure. A hybrid environment provides a more custom blend of cloud-based and on-premises solutions. While this sounds like the best of both worlds, there are certain concerns that are aggravated in the hybrid environment. Security is the most severe of the concerns it raises.

Double the Trouble in Hybrid Environment

Despite improved security solutions and technological advancements, both on-premises and cloud-based systems have their own set of vulnerabilities and weaknesses. When they are merged in a hybrid IT environment, they bring those vulnerabilities along. The worst part is that the merger can actually give rise to newer risks as well.

The issue mainly arises due to the expanding complexity of the Hybrid IT infrastructure. It is why there is a need for a more comprehensive cyber security program that involves strategies for on-premises components and the cloud-based systems.

The need for utilizing hybrid infrastructure has pushed organizations towards using more than one cloud provider. While most IT experts working for these organizations are aware of the challenges created by such complex IT infrastructures, they are not fully aware of the proper security strategies to implement.

Hybrid IT Security Considerations

Data Compliance

There are certain regulatory compliance laws that must be considered. These laws vary from industry to industry. Organizations dealing with financial data such as credit card providers or organizations handling personal data such as medical insurance companies are subject to stricter data compliance laws. Such organizations need to ensure better security and meet the most stringent standards in this regard. You can discuss your needs with the cloud service provider and make sure they are able to comply.

Policy Management 

For organizations using more than one cloud service provider, transferring policies across all the clouds is a headache. Your infrastructure should have a uniform security policy maintained across the entire infrastructure. These policies may include IPS signatures, user authentication, and firewall rules. The worst part is, there is no easy way to transfer policies across all the systems. It is a task best done manually with the help of IT experts.

Encrypt the Data to Improve Hybrid IT Security

Encryption is essentially the most effective answer to most security issues. Encryption becomes even more essential in a hybrid and multi-cloud environment. You should consider protecting the data as it travels between different cloud demarcation points. The data must also be encrypted while it is being processed or manipulated. However, encryption is needed throughout the data’s life cycle. You need to work with your cyber security expert to figure out the optimal encryption strategy to use, especially for the data in use.

Your IT Security Should be Scalable

No Hybrid IT Infrastructure Security guide can be complete without discussing the matter of scalability. While scalability is one of the key reasons hybrid infrastructures are preferred by most organizations, the scalability aspect of infrastructure security is often overlooked. One of the biggest risks hovering over your systems is the possibility of a major security loophole arising as your system grows. All of your security practices, procedures, and tools must be able to scale for growth.

The bottom line is that we need hybrid IT security solutions that are unified and scalable. The need for unification will only increase as the choice of tools and resources becomes more diverse. A custom security strategy must be created and implemented with the help of IT professionals who are able to analyze your current infrastructure and also predict its prospective growth.

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About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.

 

Computer network with server
Cloud computing is another name for storing data and applications remotely instead of on your own premises. Although this system of online data storage has been in use for about as long as the internet, it has gained increasingly growing popularity in recent years.

Cloud computing is easy, convenient and can potentially cut IT costs and dramatically speed up your operations. In the corporate world, it renders financial sense as it ensures businesses do not need to spend heavily on data storage or carrying out server maintenance. However, when even giant institutes and big companies are having a significantly tough enough time to keep their users’ personal information safe and secure from cyber criminals and data breaches, how could the same be safe when it is stored in ‘the cloud?’

Despite the significant rise and popularity of public cloud platforms being offered by Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services, hardly ten percent of the world’s data is presently stored in the cloud. Technology experts explore the cloud security issue as the leading reason why it is still not safe in many ways.

The Fundamentals of Cloud Computing

The key idea of cloud computing simply is that one’s data and information is stored online, easily available and accessible from any internet-ready device for you whenever you need it. It is an evident idea that immensely tempts companies seeking ways to cut their data storage costs. Eventually, an online data storage facility seems like a feasible alternative to purchasing costly servers for data storage and retaining an IT expert on hand to look after them.

Before you go for cloud computing, consider how certain disadvantages of cloud storage could affect your organization:

1. Possible Downtime

With cloud computing, your business is dependent on your internet connection’s reliability. Thus, when it is disconnected, eventually you are inactive. It is similar when your business’s bookkeeping aspects are maintained on an online software; you cannot access them when you are offline. If your company has frequent issues with its internet connectivity, then cloud computing may not be an appropriate option for your business.

2. Security Issues

Although you may find cloud platforms to be fine for your favorite music and public pictures, when a business stores the personal information of their clients on the cloud, the company could suffer a severe cyber security attack that can eventually wide out the organization as well. This is because you do not have a concrete idea where you are storing your data, thus, you do not know whether your data is secure or not. The primary level of data security is all about physically protecting the actual hardware that holds the data.

Likewise, an equally vital concern, especially for government institutes and the military, is that the employees who have access to all the data as part of their employment can also be a threat to the security of the servers themselves. As an entrepreneur, you need to determine whether the security levels that a cloud data storage company provides can offset cloud computing’s significant security disadvantages.

3. Cost

In order to assure you are saving money, you must diligently look at the details and pricing plans for each cloud application, taking into consideration future possible expansion. If your company doesn’t need the latest, updated versions of a software annually, then the desktop application can be a more affordable option in the long run. If your organization involves data migration, you must know that data transfers to the inbound cloud is free. However, outbound data transfers accompany monthly charges on a per GB basis.

4. Inflexibility

Some cloud apps’ inflexibility is another drawback of cloud computing. In fact, some cloud vendors deliberately make it difficult, expensive or even impossible for their customers to migrate from their cloud to another. Thus, do prior necessary research and ensure you are switching to the cloud that offers optimal flexibility for now and in the future.

5.   Customer Support

Although earlier cloud computing’s customer service was terrible, many vendors have improved it now. However, better customer service comes at a price. Even Google’s basic viz. silver, a support package for its cloud platforms, presently costs $150/month. If your company requires an instant response to client support concerns, then you must make sure that the cloud services vendor under consideration has several options available for necessary technical support such as email, live chat, phone, user forums, and knowledge bases.

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About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.

Blue circuit board with cloud symbol and connection links
No matter how much one may argue about who is solely responsible for cloud data protection, experts from all across the globe are unanimous on the resolution that the ultimate responsibility of data compliance lies with the organization who owns the sensitive information, not the service provider.

What Is Cloud Data Protection?

Looking at the big picture, cloud data protection (CDP) is all about infrastructure security, storage management, and data integrity. Since it provides optimal data storage, protection, and network security, businesses around the globe are trusting it to be more safe, secure and stable than ever. It protects the cloud and prevents the leakage or theft of sensitive information from the cloud. Since the ultimate objective of CDP is to protect static and moving data in the cloud and ensure various services and processes, it is critically important for you and your cloud provider to ensure its optimal functioning at all levels.

Data integrity: Data remains the same as it is stored as strong encryption layers protect the sensitive data from illegal editing or corruption. This indicates that your sensitive data is secured against all threats or illegal access.

Storage Management: The cloud infrastructure needs to ensure the safety and security of data and provide a continuously available interface as desired or required. Primarily, it depends on the capacity of your cloud service provider in how agile or response they are in managing the account. However, you also need to make sure that the data is maintained properly.

Infrastructure security: These are collective efforts, processes, measures, and policies that ensure cloud infrastructure and network security. However, most businesses that are usually of small-scale do not pay much heed to cloud data protection protocols and that’s where most problems related to safety and security of sensitive data commence arising.

Why Are Most Businesses Misguided?

It’s human tendency to shift responsibilities or critical tasks entirely onto someone else’s shoulders. Most of us do not want to take complete ownership of complicated things which have intense and severe repercussions (if not executed properly). Then, there are those people who are misguided about their responsibilities and completely rely on others. Having said that, no matter how much money you can afford to spend on acquiring the services of any pro cloud provider, you have to make efforts to secure your data yourself and not solely rely on your service provider.

Although people have different perspectives about data safety and security and whether or not to trust the cloud completely, cloud data protection is inevitably the most critical aspect of the cloud. Without which, you can never expect to secure your sensitive data at all. According to a study, 80% of businesses wrongly believe that data protection and management is solely the responsibility of their cloud service provider. This indicates that cloud service providers are responsible for providing certain layers of security protocols or encryption. However, the information-protection or safety and security of sensitive information actually lies in the hands of businesses.

The study further revealed that businesses prefer to transfer their responsibilities of data protection, data privacy or data compliance to third-party cloud vendors or service providers so that they focus more on the core side of business and less on its security, storage or management affairs. Moreover, the total spending on cloud technologies is predicted to increase at a massive 20% from 2018 to 2020 which bears testimony to the fact that most businesses are intending to transfer their cloud data protection related responsibilities to cloud service providers.

Core Reasons Why Most Businesses Choice To Hire Pro-Level Cloud Services

The reason why businesses prefer to embrace an easy approach to protect their sensitive pieces of data is that they lack in-house skills, knowledge, experience, and expertise in handling cloud data protection optimally. However, you need to make sure that the cloud service provider you are acquiring for utilization has relevant skills and provides 24/7 assistance in managing cloud-related discrepancies effectively.

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About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.

 

 

 

Conceptual graphic wallpaper cloud computing online storage and computer network connectivity for devices over the internet
Cloud Storage is the new hot trend in the tech world and every tech company has taken it up to some extent. From Samsung storing contacts, messages and call logs in your Samsung Account to the crazily innovative smartphone company Nextbit Robin eliminating most of the storage on the smartphone, leaving the only option for storage being the cloud.

Cloud Storage Services and Service Providers

The cloud is basically a computer owned by a service provider, also called a ‘hosting company’, which is constantly connected to high speed internet and stores a user’s personal data in a portion of storage allocated to that particular user. The storage disks that are used by the vendors to provide cloud storage can be spread over multiple physical locations. The storage space is bought or leased by organizations and individuals. A computer scientist, Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider, brought the innovation forward in the 1960’s when he was working on ARPANET. Many different companies later began the idea of providing cloud services, but the scale was pretty small. The real boom came in 2005-2006 when several services such as Dropbox, Smugmug, and Pinterest started to provide cloud storage services to individuals and businesses. Cloud services became very popular as they made digital storage an operating expense relatively cheaper than the capital one it was. They also ensured that the data was backed up if anything went wrong. However, with the rise of the popularity of Cloud storage services came security concerns. Indeed, companies did not want to handover private and confidential data if there was a risk that the safety of the data would be compromised. This led to the phenomenon that a lot of people in the world discuss today as Cloud Security.

The Concept of Cloud Security

With more and more people utilizing the services of cloud storage, a rising concern among users is the safety and security of their private data. Service providers claim to provide fool-proof security for user data stored on the cloud. However, there are many critics of cloud storage who have demanded that cloud vendors provide an insight into the methods of security used, often accusing the vendors of not taking adequate measures for cloud security. Data on clouds may be susceptible to theft and misuse as hackers use a variety of methods to break into cloud accounts. They are even able to break into the cloud computer, compromising the security of all data in the cloud. In recent times, there have been a high number of reports of data breaches on cloud servers. This makes companies cautious when trusting cloud vendors with sensitive company data. It also makes it necessary for vendors to take a number of security measures to protect the data present on cloud servers. However, a study about cloud storage by IDG enterprises indicates that a lot of organizations have started to trust cloud vendors with their data.

The Cloud Storage Industry Needs Transparency

The study, however, also supports the fact that organizations have concerns about transparency with their service providers. The reason being is that, although vendors say that they have state of the art cyber security measures, they don’t reveal anything about those measures. The study also suggests that IT managers would be better able to trust vendors if the vendors are able to show that they are in full compliance with corporate requirements. The survey goes on to further emphasize the importance of cloud vendors being transparent about their security practices. It is seen that many enterprises support the idea of integrating security into the system development life cycle and that cloud security patches should be updated regularly. There can be multiple ways that vendors can gain the trust of organizations and show that cloud security is indeed a concern for them. Measures could range from conducting onsite audits to verifying the background information of the employees that they hire. However, demanding such a transparent system is pretty difficult for small and medium sized businesses, while it is easier for larger organizations to demand transparency from cloud storage vendors.

Despite that, the study also claims that IT managers are not ready to fully accept cloud storage facilities until and unless vendors agree to meet the compliance requirements of the corporate world. The fact that there have been a high number of data breaches in recent times means that it is expected of IT managers to be cautious when trusting cloud vendors with sensitive company data. It is necessary for cloud vendors to increase the number of security measures they take to protect data on clouds.

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers
About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.

 

3D illustration of server room in data center full of telecommunication equipment,concept of big data storage and  cloud
Is it true that you are reluctant about receiving distributed computing administrations into your IT framework? You are not the only one. Information security is the main concern for IT experts in regards to distributed computing. Administrations, like Amazons EC2, are basically not prepared to address the security and protection needs of information touchy associations.

Since open cloud administrations offer server occasions for some customers on a similar equipment, your information can get truly “lost in the mist” when you have next to no influence over where your information lives.

Private distributed computing takes the control that most PCI and HIPAA-touchy associations require over their information into consideration. In regards to security, the significance of control over your condition can’t be exaggerated and leads most IT professionals to receive private cloud facilitating over people in a general cloud.

5 Security Tips to Consider when Contrasting Cloud Alternatives

 

Tip 1 – Know Where Your Information Lives

How might you secure your information on an occasion when you don’t know where it is? Certainly, firewalls and interruption location and aversion can keep most interlopers out and information encryption keeps the information more secure. Yet, how would you know where your information goes when you end your administration or when the cloud supplier leaves the business? Having the capacity to point to a machine and say that your information, and just your information, is on that machine goes far in the security of the cloud. Committed equipment is the key for distributed computing administrations to pass the most stringent security rules.

Tip 2 – Ensure Your Server Farm Considers Security Important

By knowing which server and server farm that your information is being put away in, you can test them for all material safety efforts that are set up. You can check whether they are SSAE 16, SAS 70 and SOC 2 evaluated, on the off chance that they have customers who are HIPAA or PCI ensured. Overseen administrations can, likewise, include the ability to make your applications, information, and business stronger. Administrations such as oversaw firewalls, antivirus, and interruption recognition are offered by legitimate server farms or cloud suppliers and take into consideration expanded safety efforts for oversaw servers.

Tip 3 – Test, Test, Test

Accept nothing. The best way to ensure something is secure is to test it. It is not unheard of for profoundly information touchy associations to contract a gifted moral programmer to test their security arrangements. Defenselessness checking and appraisals are similarly as vital inside the cloud as they are outside of the cloud. Odds are that, on the off chance that you can figure out how to get unapproved access to your information, another person can too.

Tip 4 – Get References From Others

Get references from different customers. If all else fails, approach your cloud supplier for customer references that require stringent safety efforts. Budgetary, medicinal services, protection, or government associations are a decent starting point. While references don’t ensure anything, odds are, if different organizations that have comparative security objectives are utilizing the supplier, you might be a solid match too. Make sure to contact these references straightforwardly when conceivable to perceive what these organizations are utilizing the cloud administrations for and the means they have taken to secure their information.

Tip 5 – Continuously Reinforce Your Information

A standout among the most disregarded parts of distributed computing and one of the least demanding approaches to building the control of your information is to ensure that, whatever happens, you have a safe reinforcement of that information. This is more about securing your business than your real information. However, it gives a similar sort of genuine feelings of serenity. We have seen huge organizations, like T-Mobile, lose their clients information by not having a reinforcement, abandoning them with nothing.

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About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.

 

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In a survey conducted by Forrester Consulting, nearly 250 IT leaders and experts shared their concern regarding cloud computing transparency. It is an issue that largely remains unanswered despite the prevalence of cloud technologies and improvement in cloud security and performance over the past decade. According to the survey, a lack of cloud transparency can have a dire impact on financial and operational aspects of any organization.

What Does Cloud Transparency Actually Mean?

There is no doubt about the growth and potential of cloud computing and the way it is dominating enterprise technology. While cloud vendors are throwing humongous claims regarding their venue, they share little to no information about strategy, service, or performance. Without proper figures or metadata, it is impossible for customers to objectively evaluate the service. Lack of cloud computing transparency is one of the reasons businesses are still unable to trust cloud services, despite the improved security.

Typically, cloud computing transparency is all about declaring clear service thresholds. Uptime, system availability, response time, and problem resolution are just a few factors that require an open and honest declaration of the threshold. From policies to pricing, everything needs to be transparent and clearly conveyed without any fine print or subtext. That is what transparency means, but we are still far from achieving a level that can improve adaptability.

How to Ensure Transparency in the Cloud

Transparency is required for bot, the customer facing and public facing end. Speaking of the latter, most vendors including Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM offer a breakdown of earnings, revenues, run rates, etc. Oracle even shares a breakdown of the platform, infrastructure and software, etc. However, that is not all to cloud computing transparency.

Many experts believe that this type of information doesn’t exactly improve transparency. It is akin to revealing information while hiding the hardware. Specifically, in the case of cloud vendors using both the traditional infrastructure and different flavors of cloud. The breakdown needs to be detailed and insightful based on different groups and flavors as offered by that vendor. In simpler words, a more customized approach must be adopted to clearly define the revenues while ensuring better cloud computing transparency.

Customer-Facing Cloud Transparency

SAAS providers, such as Salesforce or Workday, need to define their infrastructure efficiency benchmarks. Sadly, most vendors do not share a breakdown of the charges related to the backend infrastructure. This keeps the customers from adequately comparing different vendors. Not to mention, it is where cloud computing transparency really suffers a blow.

Experts believe that customers should ask for a breakdown of the cost and demand to know the infrastructure cost. That will pressurize vendors who are offering IAAS as a part of SAAS to decouple both offerings. This will considerably lower the prices of Software as a Service products by removing the middleman from the whole equation. In case a customer needs to mark up the infrastructure, they will be dealing directly with the vendor.   

How Cloud Transparency Will Help Vendors

So far, it seems like transparency is all about benefits for the buyers and users, but that’s not true. Looking at the bigger picture, cloud computing transparency has a very important role to play in the future of cloud computing. In addition to security, transparency is the most crucial aspect of adaptability. The more transparent the cloud vendors are, the more comfortable enterprises will be in putting their trust in the cloud. With an increasing number of cloud customers, cloud vendors will find more opportunities to optimize their service as well as their spending. 

While there is a lot to be done on the vendor’s end, customers should also be more prudent about choosing a vendor that promises cloud computing transparency and delivers it. Pay a visit to the data center, if possible, and don’t shy away from asking for compliance audit reports or breach notification policies. Higher transparency will improve the level of trust between vendor and buyers, and eventually shape the future of the cloud.

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About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.

 

 

 

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A breach in an organization’s database causes considerable damage. A data breach can cost a company millions of dollars. According to a recent survey by ServiceNow, around 20% of businesses in Australia and Singapore are at risk of a data breach. Most of the risks come from unsanctioned cloud applications.

Survey Highlights Cloud Security Issues

A mere 20% of company executives in Australia and Singapore successfully ward off security breaches. These statistics are alarming, indicating that a majority of the companies in both counties are not able to protect their data from getting into the wrong hands.

These astonishing results are provided by the corporate service supplier, ServiceNow. Oxford Economics commissioned the survey and collected data from 300 CISOs (Chief Information Security Officers) around the world. Among them, 50 CISOs were from Australia and another 50 from Singapore.

How to Deal with a Data Breach in the Cloud

Experts discussed strategies that help them face challenges posed by severe threats of a data breach in the cloud in the current cyber landscape. The various data breach issues faced by CISOs in both Australia and Singapore are blamed for a severe lack of secure resources. The lack of resources related to security have caused companies in both countries to suffer heavy losses. Many companies in both countries today are troubled with cloud security.  

Approximately 66% of corporate security officers in Singapore and 72% in Australia are not able to prioritize their alerts to highlight which data is critical. To highlight this particular concern, ServiceNow CISOs in Australia and Singapore turn to security automation experts.

One-third of the total respondents from Australia and Singapore recently used automation for improving cloud security. About 40% of the overall security processes and 66% companies in both countries plan to have automation within the next three years.

Growth in Threat Intelligence

Tech companies in Australia and Singapore are trying to improve their threat intelligence. Today, more and more companies around the world, including Australia and Singapore, are working on improving their growth in threat intelligence. Companies are collecting alerts from different security tools. They are able to contextualize the warnings by focusing on the critical components of their business.

Despite the automation, companies in Australia and Singapore have decided not to scale back on improving their security to reduce issues in their troubled cloud security. A large number of skilled CISOs said that having highly qualified experts and talent retention are the essential segments for resolving issues of a data breach.

Singapore More Focused than Australia

Singapore has proven more focused than Australia when it comes to talent-based goals. According to the study by ServiceNow, 90% of companies in Singapore depend upon giving their employees’ skills. In Australia, 80% of CISOs believe in talent upskilling for improvement in cloud security.

When it comes to retention of talent, 92% of Singaporean respondents cited the importance of talent retention. Similarly, around 76% of the CISOs in Australia believe in talent retention. Having skilled employees with considerable knowledge for companies troubled with cloud security is an important factor.

Prioritizing Cloud Security Tasks

The most essential part of improving security in companies is prioritizing their cloud security tasks. The tasks must be prioritized by criticality of the business related information. The critical business information must have the highest priority. With sufficient threat intelligence, gathering security experts will be able to save important business data before another serious cyber-attack.

Cyber security experts have appreciated the efforts and benefits of security automation. They have warned that it needs careful management. It requires monitoring and proper governance to manage business risks effectively. For hackers, the cloud is like a goldmine. The cloud is the first thing black hat hackers attack when targeting an IT firm. A large number of hackers steal user data and corporate data, causing maximum damage. Significant steps must be taken to resolve data breaches in cloud security.

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About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.