Understanding Cloud Security and Data Integration

For most companies, cloud integration is inevitable: it’s simply a matter of when. But will your data be secure when it’s stored in the cloud? The answer is, most often, “yes,” but many of us continue to cite cloud security as a concern when it comes to migrating our data to the cloud.

Despite all the advantages that come with cloud computing and storage, many people still believe that data stored on the cloud is more at risk than data stored on local servers. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the misconceptions about cloud security and consider how data integration can deliver your most secure data storage yet.

Cloud security overview

Data security and data privacy are everyone’s business now. We’ve all read the headlines about data breaches and security incidents in both the private and public sectors. Everyone from retailers and banks to healthcare companies and credit agencies. Even Google and Facebook. No one seems immune.

The problem is that our awareness of such incidents can lead us to believe that data stored in the cloud is more vulnerable than data stored on local servers. But research and evidence appear to suggest otherwise.

Take recent projections from Gartner. According to their report, 60% of companies who implement appropriate cloud options may see up to a third fewer security incidents than those who don’t. Even more compelling, the same report predicts that by 2020, companies who move workloads to the cloud will reduce security incidents by 60% versus those who continue relying on conventional storage solutions.

Security facts (and some fiction)

  • Data stored in local servers may not be any more secure than data stored in the cloud. Take the 2014 hack of retail giant Target; the breached data was not stored in the cloud but rather on their own internal POS network.
  • Most data breaches are not the result of hackers or malware. In fact, TrendMicro estimates than 41% of data breaches are caused by device loss or theft. Another 34% are the result of unintended leaks or insider disclosures. Thus, 75% of data breaches have nothing to do with cloud computing.

In fact, cloud integration may actually keep your data safer than on-site servers for the following reasons:

  • Cloud providers have access to a level of cybersecurity expertise that few companies can afford on their own.
  • The functionality of the cloud allows providers to identify problems and apply security updates quickly.
  • Cloud providers continually monitor your data and can alert you to problems before you are aware of them. In some cases, even while they can still be contained
  • Cloud providers have a vested interest in protecting your data: their reputations (and businesses) depend on it.

Data security in the age of the cloud

What’s most important when it comes to protecting your data — no matter where you store it — is having state-of-the-art security measures in place. For most companies, that means deploying an integration strategy to move data from on-site servers to the cloud.

Managing your data integration is a complex, continuous task, and using a data ingestion tool can simplify the process. In addition to cleansing, profiling, and migrating your data, an integration tool provides approaches for keeping your data secure each step of the way. Some of the most common safeguards include implementing policies and procedures to reduce the risk of human error, continuous monitoring, and cybersecurity measures such as encryption and secure storage protocols.

Something else to keep in mind when planning your data security strategy is how you plan to meet compliance standards. Legislation including the GDPR, HIPAA, and the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 have placed new requirements on how companies manage, store, and share personal data. One major advantage of cloud integration is that many compliance measures can be automated to streamline the process and reduce risk.

Protecting your data

Most companies find that, in order to stay competitive, integrating to the cloud is an absolute must. The advantages in efficiency, cost-savings, and technology offered by cloud solutions simply cannot be replicated on local, on-site servers. So the real question is: how do we achieve cloud integration and data security?

As a starting point, think about your answers to the following questions:

  1. What type of employee needs to own our data security/compliance programme, and how much of their time (and other resources) will it consume?
  2. If our company experiences as security incident or data breach, what are all the possible scenarios, and what is our response plan?
  3. How often and by what means will we update our security procedures to deal with existing and emerging threats?

Once you have a solid understanding of your current strategy, you can begin exploring options offered by cloud service providers and cloud security companies. In most cases, one of the biggest advantages of cloud integration is that companies don’t have to spend as much time managing or securing their data — the cloud provider handles much of this for them.

Planning for cloud security

Once you’re ready to move your data to the cloud, finding the right data integration tool is a must. These tools streamline the integration process by automating many of the sub-processes needed to migrate your data from an on-site server to the cloud. This is far more efficient than hand-coding the entire process from end-to-end.

The other main advantage to using an integration tool is that it can also protect you from security threats during the integration. However you choose to migrate your data, you’ll need to develop a plan for handling the migration. To begin, think about how you’ll manage the overall process:

Identify your team

You’ll need an interdisciplinary team of data architects, data scientists, and data protection experts as well as business leaders and project managers to see the integration through.

Establish your objectives

Create alignment among team members by setting ambitious but realistic goals.

Prepare for compliance

Even from the beginning, your team will need to have its eye on the all regulatory standards.

Profile your data

To ease the integration, you’ll need to make sure your data is well organised from the beginning. This include unifying different types of data from multiple sources, if necessary.

Clean your data

Your data will also need to be checked for errors, inconsistencies, missing values, duplicates, and other anomalies. When these are found, you’ll need to resolve them.

Anonymise your data

To enhance security and privacy, you may want to encrypt or strip all personally identifying information from your data.

Achieving data integration and cloud security

No company has to choose between cloud integration and data security — the two go hand-in-hand. Companies and organisations in every sector are integrating to the cloud in order to increase their competitive edge and to improve both data security and compliance efforts. If you’re ready to see what a cloud-native solution can do for you, Talend Cloud provides an end-to-end data integration platform to make your transition fast, efficient, and secure.

Download a free trial today to see how you can integrate your data into the cloud without compromising on security.

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