Cloud security is a challenge, but businesses can take steps to reduce risks.

Originally posted on cloudplatformtrends.com on September 18, 2013

Security remains the primary concern for businesses turning to cloud computing. According to a recent article from CIO Magazine , many CIOs are reluctant to adopt cloud services because of security threats. Several CIOs who spoke at the Security Insights forum (held in April in Sydney, Australia) explained the reasons behind their conservative approach to cloud platforms. Ramsay Health Care CIO Mick Campbell cited data leaks and the resulting reputational damage as a barrier to cloud adoption, and others expressed similar concerns, along with nervousness about inefficient government regulation and confusion over how and where data is stored.

These concerns are in line with the fears expressed by executives in a study conducted by Oxford Economics for SAP, Protecting the Cloud. Survey results show that security is the top concern among business leaders adopting cloud platforms.

Protecting data is an ongoing challenge, but there are ways to mitigate security risks:

  • Map out business processes to understand potential vulnerabilities.
  • Classify data and know how it is being stored and shared.
  • Recognize the potential cost of a data breach.
  • Identify gaps in existing compliance and security policies.
  • Increase the use of education and training to keep up with rapidly morphing security threats.
  • Avoid a locked-in approach—do not let vendors dictate a rigid set of proprietary tools and technology.

CIOs who express concern over cloud security have already taken a step in protecting their businesses: They are aware of the potential costs—financial and reputational—of a security breach. Armed with this awareness of their vulnerabilities and of the value of their data, CIOs should be able to outline a strategy for protecting cloud security that works for their organization’s unique needs. With a tailored and flexible approach to cloud protection, they will be able to experience the benefits of cloud computing.

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