The importance of data protection in the cloud is not new, but it’s become more of a priority as cybercriminals continue to target companies and their information. Businesses should be careful when they store sensitive details like customer records or financial transactions on external servers that are owned by third parties because these hackers can also access them without any warning signs until after an attack has already occurred.
The transition from on-premise infrastructure to cloud services is happening faster than ever before. A 2018 survey by IDG1, a leading technology media company announced that 73% of companies had applications or data in the clouds with another 17% expected to make the transition within the next year.
The Importance of Cloud Data Protection
Today it is the norm for companies to collect massive amounts of data ranging in classification from normal everyday communication with coworkers to highly confidential financial, and customer data. More and more of this data is being moved to the cloud and storing it in more places than ever – public, private and hybrid clouds, cloud storage environments, and various third-party applications.
As companies transition their data and applications to the cloud, they are quickly discovering how complicated protecting and securing their data across multiple environments can be. For example:
- Many companies are not fully aware of where their applications and data reside.
- Many companies host their data and applications with third-party infrastructure and have no visibility into who is accessing their data and applications.
- Companies and cloud providers share the responsibility of security. Assumptions are made that because a cloud provider has state-of-the-art security, they don’t need to stay on top of it. This is wrong.
- Not all cloud providers are the same in how they offer cloud data protection. There are varying levels of security and capabilities among the major cloud providers.
Compliance is also a really big deal. Data protection and privacy laws such as the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, in the EU; the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA, in the U.S., and others can be time-consuming. It can be incredibly difficult for companies to consistently establish and enforce security policies across multiple cloud environments, let alone prove compliance to auditors.
It should not come as a shock that for the reasons highlighted above, nine out of 10 cybersecurity professionals are concerned about cloud security. Some of their biggest challenges is protecting against data loss and leakage, data privacy threats, and breaches of confidentiality.
This also explains why the data protection market is projected to surpass US$158 billion by 20242
Building Blocks Of Protecting Your Cloud Data
To successfully protect and secure their data in cloud environments, companies must first know:
- The types of data, the quantity of data, and the locations of their data.
- The exposure of their data, the mechanism of exposure, and the associated risks
- Who has access to which applications? Are there application access logs?
- How are people accessing the applications?
- What are the different levels of data classification and which data is the most sensitive?
After getting this information, companies must then put forth an automated cloud data protection solution. A solution that will help them discover, classify, monitor, protect, and secure their applications and data in an environment-agnostic way. This solution must also be able to distinguish between everyday activities and potentially suspicious ones.
Cloud Data Protection Benefits
The benefits of cloud data protection are that it enables companies to:
- Secure applications and data across multiple environments.
- Maintain complete visibility into all users and file activity.
- Ensure your cyber readiness by proactively identifying and mitigating risks, such as insider security threats, suspicious user behavior, and malware.
- Prevent and detect data loss and disruption.
Helpful Resources for Cloud Data Protection
Sometimes all you want is to be pointed in the right place so that you can do your own research. Below we list out some links we have found helpful for understanding cloud data protection for each of the major cloud service providers.
Amazon Web Services (AWS):
Google Cloud Platform:
For more information or guidance on cloud data protection and cloud security, please contact us. We’d love to help.
- “2018 Cloud Computing Survey,” IDG, August 14, 2018, www.idg.com/tools-for-marketers/2018-cloud-computing-survey.
- “Data Protection Market … Global Forecast by 2018 – 2024,” Market Research Engine, December 2018, https://www.marketresearchengine.com/data-protection-market.
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