To reduce stress and traffic on their own networks, many individuals and businesses are reaching to the cloud for their data storage solutions. While the cloud offers endless possibilities, it also presents some challenges to data security. Transparency is the key to understanding how data security works in the cloud.
Loss of Control
Users of the cloud do not have any control over the security measures that are put into place to protect the integrity and information they have uploaded. Uploading to the cloud essentially means trusting whoever is in charge of information security without actually seeing in print what that security policy is. A transparent security policy available for anyone to see helps to ensure that all bases are covered when it comes to data protection.
Asking Providers for Details
Whenever possible, consumers of cloud services should ask their providers for details about what data protection measures are in place. This includes processes like cloud data encryption, as well as ensuring that no malware, spyware, viruses or other attacks take place when the data is accessed by its rightful owner. Wise consumers should look for transparent security policies that include specifics on data sanitation, security frameworks and encryption tools.
Who has access to the data in the cloud is another important point in the issue of transparency. If the cloud service provider allows anyone else to have any level of access to private data uploaded to the cloud, these entities should be listed in a user agreement. The scope, methods and levels of access to private data should all be explained in a user privacy agreement policy. Users who do not agree with the policy would therefore have the option to forgo the service based on the transparency of data access. One further step for cloud providers would be to maintain a real-time listing of what data was accessed, by whom and for what intent.
Responding to Breaches of Security
Alongside transparency is the need for a high-quality incident response system. Recent data hacks involving nationwide retailers has left a sour taste in the mouths of many customers who only found out their information had been stolen when they saw for themselves that their accounts were accessed. As the implicit trust of consumers continues to decrease because of highly publicized data breaches, transparency of cloud data security will only grow in importance.