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Understanding Cloud Data Vulnerabilities is the Best Way to Combat Them

December 18, 2014

By Laura Stotler - Virtual PBX Contributing Editor

Telecom services are moving to the cloud at rapid rates. In fact, the cloud is effectively changing the way telecom master agents and IT solution providers do business, and this is mostly a positive transformation. But as with all cloud services, security is a concern, and this certainly applies to hosted services like virtual PBX functionality.

Nextiva, which specializes in cloud phone services and systems, recently posted a blog entry about the security concerns associated with migrating to the cloud. Simply put, companies that work in the cloud in any capacity make their data vulnerable. However, there are some simple steps any organization can take to protect sensitive data and files.

Encrypting or encapsulating important information stored in the cloud is a good first step to protecting data. As it turns out, massive file sharing company Dropbox was opening customer files to extract information from them for a preview feature. The company didn’t ask customers if they could open the files and the process was eventually revealed by users who programmed auto notifications if their files were opened. While Dropbox didn’t have any malicious intent in opening the files, it happened nonetheless and so the bottom line is that it’s best to encrypt or encapsulate sensitive data.

Protecting individual devices with passwords and authentication is an additional step that can help secure sensitive data, but it’s certainly not foolproof. Yet another vulnerability occurs when information stored in the cloud is accessed via public WiFi. This type of access is certainly convenient for responding to emails and getting work down quickly on the go, but it leaves sensitive information vulnerable unless automatic file sharing is disabled or a VPN is used.

Email also leads to massive data vulnerabilities, and even if password protection is current, there’s no way to ensure it’s secure on both the sending and receiving ends. The massive Sony email leak is a fine example of just how wrong things can go if sensitive information gets in the wrong hands. The best way to combat this vulnerability is through common sense. Nextiva gives simple advice, “Never, ever put anything in an email that you wouldn’t want plastered on a billboard. It’s simply impossible to protect everything from everyone, whether it’s someone inside our outside your company. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

At the end of the day, the best course of action is being informed about cloud data vulnerabilities and practicing some simple technological and common sense methods to combat them. The cloud is certainly not something to be feared, and having basic knowledge about security holes is the best way to ensure they remain closed.

Edited by Alisen Downey



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