More and more companies are turning to the cloud for at least part of their IT infrastructure. However, despite all the advantages, companies should also pay urgent attention to the risks and plan ahead accordingly.
Data security, data protection, the wrong service provider and other risks: Cloud service providers in particular tout the advantages of the cloud without addressing the dangers. Those responsible in the company should therefore inform themselves in advance and plan well.
Companies that rely on cloud solutions must have a great deal of trust in the corresponding service provider. When using cloud solutions, companies place the responsibility for hardware and software in the hands of the service provider.
Customers, on the other hand, have virtually no influence when it comes to the specifications of the data centers. Since all user access to the cloud also takes place via the Internet, the stability of the connection and the security of the connection play another important role that needs to be taken into account.
Even if servers and applications have been outsourced to the cloud, companies and responsible employees must make sure that data protection and data security are guaranteed. Due to web-based management, there is no well thought-out authorization concept in most cases. In addition, in order to process the data in the cloud, documents, log files and database information often have to be integrated into the cloud solution via the Internet.
In the process, there is a risk that the data will fall into the wrong hands, remain stored on insecure computers such as notebooks, or be forgotten in various places in the cloud, for example in online storage. If this affects the company's current payroll, for example, it can quickly spell trouble.
Especially when using hybrid and private cloud infrastructures, administrators must be careful that sensitive company data is constantly in motion and replicated between different systems, over the Internet. Special care must be taken here.
There are very strict laws in Germany and the EU for handling customer data, but also employee data. Not all cloud providers and not all solutions comply with these regulations, but are mostly designed for the legal situation in the USA. Here, companies should document exactly and check whether common laws and guidelines for data protection are adhered to.
This applies not only to the service provider, but also to the work processes of the users who use data in the cloud. Even in the area of Big Data, care must be taken here to ensure that the strict data protection guidelines of the EU are adhered to. The location of the servers on which the data is stored also plays a role here. In this area, it is often forgotten that companies are obliged to delete certain customer data at regular intervals. This is often not done completely in the cloud and according to the guidelines required in the EU.
Companies rely heavily on the cloud provider to back up the data. However, this is not always the case. There is also the problem that often little is known about how often the data is backed up, so that even accidentally deleted data can be quickly restored. If a recovery is necessary, those responsible are often unaware of the situation and do not know how the data can be restored. If the contract is terminated or the provider becomes insolvent, it must be ensured that access to the backed-up data continues to exist.
Not all cloud providers ensure high availability in the data center. If a data center or cloud service fails, it must be ensured that all important applications in the company are still available. Maintenance work must also be planned in this area, especially if the data centers are positioned in other time zones. It should also be checked what availability the provider guarantees its customers.
In local networks, authorizations are often set in directories such as Active Directory. This is different in the cloud. Here there are cloud services, such as Microsoft Azure Active Directory, but these are often associated with further costs and can rarely be controlled as efficiently as local directories. In addition, the authorization models of many cloud providers do not suit all companies. Here, before a cloud solution is used productively, it is important to plan exactly which users are given rights, which administrators are allowed to manage, and which permissions the individual users or groups should receive.
Hacker at work - pexels.com
Cloud services are often the targeted focus of hacker attacks. Since companies cannot seal themselves off within the cloud, they are dependent on the cloud provider's security solutions. If the provider is hacked, there is a risk that all of the company's own data will also be lost. For this reason, when signing a contract, it should also be carefully checked which security settings the provider has made against hackers.
Companies should not fall for false promises made by the cloud provider. If important functions are not available after signing the contract or if internal systems of the company cannot be used in the cloud, good advice is quickly expensive. Because until all the necessary data and services have been switched to another provider, numerous costs can arise. Companies should therefore plan exactly whether all internal workflows of a cloud application function exactly as required. The provider's support should also be tested, as well as the general manageability of the environment. Once the change has been made, it is difficult to reverse such mistakes.
Often cloud providers, especially small companies, do not operate their own data center, but in turn commission another provider. Many cloud providers rely on Amazon Web Services, Google or Microsoft Azure for this purpose. In addition, it is often not clear where the cloud provider's data centers are positioned. Before companies conclude a contract, they should therefore check in advance exactly which subcontractors the cloud provider uses, especially when it comes to touch points of your data.
Here, potential insolvency of the operator, theft of hardware or other unforeseen dangers that could lead to the loss of your own data must also be taken into account.
Most companies do not rely entirely on cloud solutions, but also operate local servers that need to exchange data with the cloud. Client applications also frequently need to access data from servers. Here, it must be ensured that the interfaces of the cloud solution are compatible with the requirements of the other servers and the necessary cloud applications.
If companies work with the cloud, large amounts of data are transferred to the Internet. Here, on the one hand, the bandwidth of the Internet line must be positioned accordingly, and on the other hand, the hardware devices that connect to the Internet must be able to handle the bandwidth and numerous connections. If the line fails, all cloud services can no longer be used. This means that companies should also ensure that the Internet line is fail-safe.