There’s no doubt that cloud computing is the way of the present and future, but there are also serious concerns about security in what is a rapidly evolving industry. If your business wants to remain safe, it needs a cloud computing security strategy that prioritizes the integrity of your organization above all else.

Staying Safe in the Cloud

If a 2017 report on The State of Cloud Adoption and Security is accurate, we’re just four months away from a time when 80 percent of all IT budgets will be committed to cloud apps and solutions. While it’s exciting to see cloud adoption rates increase across a variety of sectors and industries, it also raises important questions about security.

“Cloud computing remains hyped and widely misunderstood,” says Jay Heiser, research vice president at Gartner. “Ambiguity about what cloud computing actually delivers to an organization is compounded by a variety of real and imagined concerns about the security and control implications of different cloud models.”

It’s one thing to be fully invested in cloud technology. It’s something else entirely to have a cloud computing security strategy that attempts to understand the cloud landscape and proactively addresses key threats and risks.

As you ease your business into the age of the cloud, here are a few practical things you can do to maximize security.

1. Only Choose Reliable Cloud Systems 

While some large organizations will develop their own private cloud systems, most companies are going to rely on public cloud infrastructure. Having said that, the first principle is to work with a reliable cloud system – also known as a cloud service provider (CSP). 

There are a variety of CSP’s in the marketplace, so you’ll need to come up with your own evaluation criteria. In addition to finding a CSP that aligns with your security goals, you also need to think about things like compliance, architecture, manageability, service levels, support, and costs. 

2. Consider SD-WAN 

If you want the safest possible connections, you may consider turning to software-defined WAN, or SD-WAN. It provides secure local or regional connections to the cloud, which allows traffic to flow directly to the internet from the closest available point. They can even segment sensitive data to cloud security providers for an added layer of protection.

3. Regularly Patch Systems and Servers 

“Business users aren’t defenseless, even in the wake of nefarious bits of ransomware like WannaCry or Petya/NotPetya,” industry expert Adam Stern explains. “The best antidote is patch management. It’s always sound practice to keep systems and servers up to date with patches – it’s the shortest path to peace of mind.”

When it comes to staying update, everyone must pull their weight. All it takes is one loophole for a disaster to emerge. While you can mandate rules from the top-down, employees, managers, and IT staff must work together to ensure each device, app, and piece of security software is well-maintained and frequently updated. 

4. Always Back Up Data 

When you look at the most common errors and overlooked issues, backing up data is near the top of the list. If big corporations like T-Mobile can lose customer data as a result of not having a proper backup strategy in place, so can your business. Now’s the time to develop a comprehensive plan and stick to it.

Never Stop Evolving 

Developing a cloud computing security strategy is a good start, but it’s not something you can get comfortable with. Cyber threats are constantly evolving and, in response, so must your approach to security. Always be on the lookout for new challenges and opportunities.