Maintaining Data Security During Cloud Adoption: 5 Questions CIO’s Need to Ask

Cloud, Cloud Security

Written by Lara White

These days, it’s hard to make an argument against cloud adoption. Cloud computing offers flexibility, agility, ease of access, and economies of scale that few (if any) on-premises solutions can match, and typically at a much lower cost. cloud securityHowever, cloud data security concerns can cause hesitation when it comes to cloud adoption. As a result, CIOs must balance their organization’s business and budget goals with their security, privacy, and compliance requirements.

There are five key concerns that CIOs must address before giving the green light to a cloud initiative:

  1. Security: Will data managed and stored by the proposed cloud solution protect against outside threats like viruses, malware, interception, and theft?
  2. Privacy: Will data handled by the proposed cloud solution be protected against intrusions on privacy, such as a 3rd party or government request for the cloud provider to hand over customer information?
  3. Efficiency: Will the protections placed on data in the cloud enable the cloud application to function as intended and without added latency or disruption?
  4. Data loss: Will data used by the proposed cloud solution be backed up and recoverable in the event of a natural disaster or other service interruption or disruption?
  5. Compliance: Will the organization’s use of the proposed cloud solution be in compliance with relevant data privacy laws and regulations?

A CIO’s first step when considering a proposed cloud solution is to consider these five questions, since the wrong answer to any one of these can severely compromise the data security  and success of cloud adoption.

Of the five questions listed above, security and privacy will most likely be the most pressing. If 2014’s string of high-profile data breaches has taught the enterprise anything, it is that data security is of critical importance: data security must be ensured in order to avoid breaches that can lead to disastrous brand damage, heavy fines, and severe impact to the company’s bottom line. Closely related to security and privacy is compliance, another key issue for any organization that handles protected data such as personally identifying or financial information or patient healthcare data. And efficiency and data loss can mean the difference between a successful cloud adoption and one that fails to live up to its promise.

Further complicating these concerns is the diversity of the cloud computing landscape. In any given organization, CIOs will most likely have to deal with several different types of cloud adoption. Shadow IT and the increasing adoption by employees across the company, enterprise-sanctioned collaboration applications, and business-critical applications in the cloud all generate their own set  of challenges.

Is secure cloud adoption starting to sound too overwhelming? It doesn’t have to be. To get a handle on data security in the context of cloud adoption, start with our whitepaper, “CIO’s Guide to Enterprise Cloud Adoption: 9 Steps to Enable the Cloud While Maintaining Visibility & Control.” We break down the different types of cloud adoption and the security concerns of each in a clear framework for protection and optimal utilization, demystifying the cloud for the security-conscious enterprise.

The cloud genie is out of the bottle, and it’s impossible to force it back in. Instead, take control of your enterprise’s cloud use in order to reap the benefits of the cloud while mitigating its risks.