Keeping PCs Safe on the Internet

PC Security Journal

Subscribe to PC Security Journal: eMailAlertsEmail Alerts newslettersWeekly Newsletters
Get PC Security Journal: homepageHomepage mobileMobile rssRSS facebookFacebook twitterTwitter linkedinLinkedIn


Among small and mid-size businesses, the refrain is increasingly familiar: “We're responsible for sensitive financial data, and our customers trust us to protect it at all times. We want to move to the cloud but have concerns about the risks in handing this data off to another company. If we make the switch, how can we be certain our data will be protected?”

According to Adam Stern of Infinitely Virtual, a leading provider of virtual server cloud computing services for growing companies, the rationale for migrating to the cloud is sound, the questions are valid, and the answers are becoming ever more straightforward.

“Cloud computing offers small businesses a cost-effective means of hosting large amounts of data without having to invest in hardware that is expensive, and all too soon, obsolete,” Stern says. “And businesses need to feel comfortable they have the highest level of security when entrusting their data to a cloud computing provider.”

WHO:

Adam Stern is an entrepreneur who saw the value of virtualization and cloud computing more than five years ago. Stern’s company helps businesses move from obsolete hardware investments to an IaaS [Infrastructure as a Service] cloud platform.

WHAT:

Stern has itemized a series of tips for any company moving to the cloud, as a way to confirm that the host provider has a top-notch security system in place.

WHY:

According to Stern, following these insights will enable companies to maintain peace of mind throughout the process, confident that business-critical data is fully protected:

Firewalls are just the start. Good cloud security platforms are based on an intrusion detection and prevention system (IDPS) that is able to detect threats beyond the firewall, identifying threats to your data that even the best firewall won’t catch.

Create a baseline for “normal” traffic. Your security platform should “learn” what normal network traffic looks like for your business, and therefore be able to spot abnormal traffic that could signal malware threats.

Your data stays yours alone. To prevent contamination from any other system’s data, the servers hosting your data in the cloud need to be placed in “virtual local area networks” (VLANs). Think of a VLAN as your privately guarded data garage – only your data is allowed in and out.

Secure those backups. The most secure data restoration – in the event of data loss – is called “application-consistent backup.” This means your provider has taken point-in-time snapshots of your data, enabling fast, clean restoration – without tape. The method avoids data corruption and is the fastest means of getting you up and running, while minimizing downtime.

Know your provider. The people managing your cloud computing service are also critical to keeping your data secure. Make sure they are well trained and knowledgeable, and can give you the 24x7 technical support you need. With cloud hosting essentially being an “outsourced” service, it is important you have full confidence in your provider.

Train your team. Equally important is having your internal IT staff completely on board as you transition to cloud computing. Your staff should have the cloud host’s technical support contact information and website before moving data to the cloud. They should be familiar with the security system the cloud host uses to protect your company’s data, in the event any system issues arise.

More Stories By Liz McMillan

News Desk compiles and publishes breaking news stories, press releases and latest news articles as they happen.