Article

Sam Bradford
Sam Bradford 24 August 2016

4 Reasons Why it's So Important to Understand Data Traffic in the Cloud

As more businesses turn to the cloud, there's some confusion over the best practices for understanding and keeping an eye on data traffic. Some business owners and managers worry that watching cloud data will come across as micromanaging.

However, it's essential to make sure the right people have access to business data, and that the data goes where it's meant to go. Here's why it's so important to understand data traffic in the cloud.

Knowing Where Your Sensitive Data Is

Do you know how many cloud applications your employees are using? More importantly, do you know what kind of data is stored and shared in the cloud, and who has access to it? If your answer is no, you're certainly not alone. However, that just goes to show the importance of watching cloud data.

Even though a SANS Institute survey shows that 40 percent of businesses say they process sensitive data in the cloud, 13 percent also admit that they're not sure if their company has sensitive data in the cloud. Letting this data get into the wrong hands could have devastating consequences, so it's important to know it's secure.

Staying Current With Regulations

Many businesses use the cloud to store or process sensitive data, such as consumer financial information. The laws and regulations regarding this practice are constantly changing, which creates the new challenge of staying up to date and compliant. Following regulations is immensely important, since the potential fines for failing to adequately secure data could cripple a small business. As an example, the Payment Card Industry (PCI) can levy fines of up to $100,000 a month for failure to comply with security laws to protect consumer credit card data.

No Visibility of the Infrastructure

The same SANS Institute survey also shows that 58 percent of businesses say their biggest issue is that they lack the ability to see their cloud providers' infrastructure. Unfortunately, this isn't an uncommon issue. It's very easy to rent computing space, yet these cloud machines may only be switched when needed. In the meantime, they'll just sit there, forgotten and dormant. However, by having a security management connection hooked up to the cloud infrastructure provider, the IT department will be able to see what data is online, make sure they can enforce security policies, and confirm that antivirus systems are current.

Regaining Visibility in the Cloud

With cloud security companies, businesses are regaining the ability to watch cloud data and address a problem before it becomes a larger issue. This type of service shows which departments and users are utilizing the cloud services and where the data is going. It even calculates risk from cloud usage, and identifies sensitive data loaded outside of company policy so you know your important data is secure.

While some managers and business owners may worry that understanding and watching business data in the cloud is intrusive, it actually helps the business. While the cloud can assist in innovation, cost savings, and productivity gains, it can only do so effectively if it's also secure and visible to the right people.

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