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Companies must consider cybersecurity prior to moving to cloud

April 10, 2012

In numerous studies, security concerns have been found to be the biggest obstacles preventing businesses from moving more of their functions to the cloud. Such hesitancy is understandable - after all, the cloud is unlike any piece of technology that has come before it. Data is stored offsite and can be accessed anywhere, and while these two facts largely account for the cloud's flexibility and improved operational abilities, they also strike many as alarmingly insecure.

Computer security experts widely agree that, with the proper precautions, the cloud can be made just as secure as a more traditional network. However, they also agree that without taking proper preventative steps, the cloud does, in fact, offer security vulnerabilities to ill-prepared companies.

To address these issues, Greg Pierce, a cloud strategy officer, recently spoke to ComputerWorld about the importance of training IT when it comes time to make the transition to cloud-based services. More than anything else, he says, training is the key to ensuring that a pre-existing IT staff can handle the new challenges a cloud-centered network represents. However, he cautions that IT staff need to be open to learning new skills. Because the cloud is such a departure from traditional networks and computing systems, it requires a wide range of new, specialized skills, and the knowledge to use these skills properly.

For this reason, he recommends that the decision-makers for any firm shifting to the cloud implement formalized training for IT staff, with an extra emphasis on project management and interpersonal communication. By researching and implementing proper, thorough training, a business can ensure that all of its staff, especially its IT staff, are well aware of relevant cybersecruity issues that accompany a shift to the cloud, and can handle these risks effectively.

Pierce is not the only one who recognizes the importance of training for cloud-based cybersecurity. Writing for CloudTweaks, Florence de Borja recently struck a similar note, although her focus was limited to accounting firms. For accounting firms, as well as other industries that regularly handle sensitive client data, such as legal offices and healthcare providers, security is a paramount concern. Consequently, establishing proper precautions is an essential step in the move toward cloud-based networking. By implementing proper precautions, such as cloud-based security software, and educating employees of the importance of caution when dealing with client information in the cloud, firms can greatly reduce the risks of a damaging data breach.

-McAfee Cloud Security