Who Is Responsible for Data Security in Cloud Models?

When it comes to technological advances that have made running a business easier, cloud storage is difficult to beat. Not only does it remove the costs associated with hosting data locally, but it’s also easy to scale, and it promotes flexible working. 

Whether you’ve yet to adopt cloud storage or you’re already a user, you need to scrutinize your approach to data security. Deciding who is responsible and what their responsibilities often vary between businesses and the type of cloud models they use.

Private cloud data responsibilities

Although public cloud spending is growing three times faster than private, private still remains as a popular option. If you’re adopting private cloud storage, you’re responsible for all aspects of its security. The data is hosted within your centers. This includes everything from the hardware to the operating systems present.

If you own a private cloud, you likely own the data within it. This means that you have a duty to remain compliant according to the laws within your industry. Although the apps within your cloud may come from other providers, your organization is still responsible for how secure they are. For example, if a software update is released, you have a responsibility to install it and patch vulnerabilities.

Public cloud data responsibilities

The data responsibilities when you’re using a public cloud are less clear. Let’s say you’re using a service such as Microsoft Azure. Microsoft is responsible for the infrastructure, the physical network that supports the cloud, and its hypervisor. It’s Microsoft’s responsibility to make sure nothing compromises the safety of the physical elements of the cloud.

Your responsibilities begin when it comes to data security. As the enterprise’s representative, you need to care for the operating system, apps in the cloud, and the virtual network. Most importantly, you have a responsibility to care for who accesses the data.

By 2020, it’s estimated that 95% of cloud security breaches will be the customer’s fault. With that in mind, you need to take a stringent approach to maintain data security. Limit who can access data to a need-to-know basis only. Additionally, make sure you restrict access when someone moves to a different department or leaves the company. Finally, make sure you update all apps as new patches come out, as failing to patch apps can result in significant security flaws.

Understanding what you’re protecting

It’s useful to understand exactly what it is you’re protecting when you’re addressing cloud data security. Usually, the data you’re protecting falls into four categories:

  • People: When you hold sensitive information about other people, you have a duty to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.
  • Information: Protecting your own information and stopping it from falling vulnerable to malware will stop your business from incurring significant costs.
  • Applications: You must update applications as soon as patches are released. Otherwise, you may leave the information in your cloud vulnerable.
  • Infrastructure: Protecting the hardware that supports your cloud is only relevant when you use a private or hybrid model.

When it comes to information and people, any person who has contact with the data in the cloud has a responsibility to protect it. It’s important to help your employees understand what their specific duties are, though. For example, those who use their own devices for work may have to keep that device safe and updated. Everyone who uses the cloud has a duty to not let others access their security credentials.

Identifying who has a responsibility to maintain data security in your cloud may require some effort. But when everyone is clear in their roles, you’re less likely to experience expensive breaches.