As small businesses migrate to the cloud for data storage and integrations, they need to also consider the unique set of security concerns that come along with the cloud. Data loss or leakage can be devastating in this digital age, especially if the data your small business stores on the cloud is both sensitive and valuable. The cloud, where customer data and programs can both reside, has changed key factors of business and security has to change with it. Applications and data in the cloud are more accessible to others, which can be a catch 22. Partners accessing your applications and data can be very beneficial, but if a hacker does the same, it is quite detrimental. Security measures aren’t just a C-level concern, either. The controls and measures taken need to be established company-wide. The Cloud Security Alliance is an organization that looks to make sure all businesses and individuals are protected with the growing reach of the cloud. They set blanket restrictions and standards, but it is up to you and your business to make sure the security measures taken match the level of sensitivity of your data. Hacks are still possible and the effects can be devastating to a small business.

Controls should be a major consideration when choosing a cloud provider. Set controls early in the process that make sense for your data and the right set of controls and monitoring ensure data segregation, data security, and infrastructure security remain sound. Who can access what? If an employee wants to access something they are restricted from, can they request access? What can be shared? How do you keep these separate? These sorts of controls will need to be built in when you migrate to the cloud. Part of the control setting is also making sure the total cost of ownership compared to the security measures taken for your data make sense for your small business.

APIs are what the security of the cloud are dependent on. Without secure and well-structured APIs, the cloud security will not be reliable. These interfaces are how cloud security is designed to control authentication and access, encryption, and monitoring. Vulnerabilities, which can be identified through testing, with your APIs leave you open to attack.

Encryption of your data should be a baseline security measure. You don’t want your cloud service to only store and backup your data, but provide local encryption as well, which will encrypt your files on your computer. With local encryption, not even the cloud provider would be able to access your data. You are able to set the level of protection and use two-step verification to secure your data.