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How Secure is Cloud Storage?

Cloud storage is great. The ability to store your data online, with the ability to access it wherever you are, is very useful for both home and business users. The amount of companies that are using cloud storage solutions is on the rise. The question is, do you actually know how secure your data is? As soon as you put any data online you take a risk. There is always a chance that security could be compromised. When it comes to business especially, holding things such as financial accounts or customer information, security is paramount.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is a British privacy watchdog who says that companies will be fined if their data is not kept secure when stored in the cloud. Under the Data Protection Act companies are still responsible for keeping their data safe, even if they have outsourced it to an external party (like a cloud storage provider). The ICO is concerned that a lot of companies forget their obligations and just let the third party deal with security. They say that this is not safe practice and that businesses should always investigate the level of protection offered on their data.
The ICO published a guide that outlines how to handle cloud storage security. They state that you need a written contract in place with the provider (as per the law) and find out what keeps your data secure, including systems to prevent unwarranted access and physical safety. The ICO aren’t ideally threatening with fines, since they have enforced them in the past and will continue to do so.
BAE Systems is an Australian data security team. They tested five common cloud providers (they do not name them, sadly) to see how secure each of them was. To test they set up a network and then attacked a number of mock hosts with things like denial of service and malicious software traffic. They found that no connections were reset or terminated when transmitting inbound and outbound malicious traffic and that no alerts were raised to the account owner, nor were restrictions placed on the machines that had initiated the attacks.
BAE recommend that you should look for security features such as a high end firewall and IDS when selecting a cloud storage provider. Also, question whether the provider has regular testing of their security and whether this is carried out independently. It is important that security is taken very seriously as the repercussions of weak protection could be vastly damaging. Make sure you do not skimp on cost when it comes to cloud storage for your business.
Hopefully this article has made you aware of some of the security issues that come with storing your data in the cloud. The main thing to remember is just to be sensible when it comes to what data you are uploading to the internet. Nothing is ever totally, one hundred per cent secure once it is on the internet. Be sure to check what protection the cloud provider offers before you hand over your money.

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