One of the most important things to keep in mind when a company chooses a cloud services provider is security. For example, SOC 2 compliance is essential in the process.
When an organization is choosing a provider, SOC 2 compliance lets them know the vendor will provide a safe data environment, and all data will be handled in a well-controlled way.
Beyond SOC 2 compliance, there are, however other security considerations to keep in mind and other general factors that play a role in the decision.
The following are specific considerations to remember when selecting a cloud services provider.
There were some elements of cloud security mentioned above, but there are more considerations beyond SOC 2 compliance.
Some of the specific elements of cloud security to look for in a provider include:
- Identity and Access Management, which is how access to information is controlled. A cloud provider might integrate with your IAM system, or they could have their own built-in. Usually an IAM will have multi-factor authentication paired with other user access policies.
- Physical security is how your cloud provider should physically protect its data center.
- A cloud services provider will often have threat intelligence features in place, so they can see if there is a current or future threat, and respond accordingly.
- Encryption is another form of protection of data assets employed by cloud services providers.
- Next-generation firewalls tend to have more advanced features than traditional firewalls. For example, they might have an intrusion prevention system in addition to packet filtering and domain name blocking.
Regardless of the specifics, when you’re selecting a cloud services provider, multi-layer security is a must-have.
The security needs to be managed at all three layers which are physical setup, host, and network.
A cloud services provider should have a data backup facility too, and you should question how fast their backup process is.
It may be that your industry requires additional compliance, so just to give an example, your cloud service provider might need to be HIPAA compliant.
If your cloud services provider isn’t focused on security and compliance, then your business is, in turn not being secure or compliant.
A lot of businesses don’t do due diligence when choosing a cloud services provider, leaving them weak and vulnerable.
There are a lot of certifications and standards available for cloud services providers.
Look At Cloud Services As a Process
According to Tech Republic, you should view cloud services and the underlying security provided not as a product but as a process. There needs to be a process at the end of the services provider, but on your end as well.
You should regularly be looking at your cloud resources and ensuring they meet your needs.
As well as security being a process, the overall offerings of a cloud services provider should grow and evolve. The company you partner with should have a roadmap for how they plan to continue to be innovative in their offerings to you.
When comparing cloud services providers, how will the architecture integrate into your current workflows, as well as your future workflows?
Just as an example, if your business is already primarily dependent on Microsoft, the logical cloud services provider for you might be Azure.
Cloud Service Level Agreements need to be considered during the selection phase as you choose a provider.
A Cloud Service Level Agreement or Cloud SLA creates a contractual agreement between you as a cloud service customer and the cloud service provider.
Within the agreement, look at the legal requirements outlined as far as data security.
If something goes wrong, the agreement is protection for you as the customer.
- What support is available? If you need help, can you get it and can you get it quickly? How can you get support? Is it only available through a chat service? Will that work for you, or do you want higher-level support?
- What is the cost, including not just the initial upfront cost, but the associated ongoing costs?
- How much time and effort will be required by your team to manage the cloud services provider? Is that something that’s realistic for you?
Choosing a cloud services provider is a big decision, so don’t rush and take the time you need to get it right from the start. Security is big, but so are other considerations.