Cloud computing has become the part and parcel of the businesses to meet their fluctuating and uncertain IT needs. When the deal is signed with any of the cloud vendors to put the data online, businesses are never interested in reading or understanding the end-user license agreements.

They just consider one thing of utmost importance, and that is the legal responsibility of the firm to take care of the data on whose behalf the data is stored in the cloud. They are delighted with easy access to the data from any device, but unaware of the service providers’ business model, the underlying architecture and hidden complexities.

They never pay heed to the aspect that how the data is stored, or if any other body has access to the confidential data or what would happen to the data if the organization goes out of the business. Also, presume that cloud computing solution providers are tech guys responsible for having the required security infrastructure in place, which in reality is wide of the mark. It’s an alarming situation and expected that the service providers to take sole responsibility for the security even if the company doesn’t pay heed to the guidelines provided.

At first, testing the security of the cloud vendor should be a prime consideration. However, with the plethora of cloud solution vendor options, narrowing down the choice to the most secured one is not an easy feat. How can the security of a cloud computing service provider be evaluated? There are several measures to assess the security that you can do on your own.

Third-party compliance audit

Without an audit, verifying whether the cloud solution provider will live up to the promises they are making or not, is a hard nut to crack. What are the capabilities that cloud vendors need to show up in the audit?- is also unknown for the businesses.

There is a unified certification standard (UCS) provided by MSPAlliance for the cloud computing service providers which mandate them to comply with a few control objectives in order to get certified. The businesses can use the same UCS control objectives as a guide to know about the service provider.

According to the UCS, the businesses should verify the service change management documentation, event management, documented policies and procedures, logical security, data integrity, financial health, service level agreement, performance report and formal management structure to get the precise insights about provider’s secure offerings.

Know about data center location

The security prowess of the vendor can be quantified by how secure the data and their network is, through which data will move. The businesses should ask about the infrastructure and physical location of the data center where the data is going to be stored. See why?

The close is the data centers from the application users, the best experience you can offer, so it’s best to choose the cloud computing solution provider that hosts your application at the location which is near to the users. Also, the security and compliance vary from country to country wherein the distinct set of laws and regulations will apply to the use of customer data, and in case of dispute events. Besides, environmental factors drastically put the data at risks, if the location is subject to natural calamities like- hurricanes, earthquake, and others.

Identify your data controller

Once the businesses have a clear understanding of what their requirements are, they will not end up paying for the functionality that they actually don’t need. It’s best for your buck.

The next step is to gain insights into the bones of organizations to find out who is the data controller of a service provider as this is an individual who is legally accountable for your data processing under the protection layer. Data controller provides assurance that cloud provider has taken proper data backup and disaster recovery measures, prevent unauthorized access and offer procedures in the event of a data breach.

It indicates the role of the data controller is the kernel of data security and about whom you must be aware of.

Find out the level of information assurance

More often, in the service level agreements which we never dared to peruse, illustrate the level of security you need from the cloud providers. Before closing the deal, you must be cognizant of the impact of the data loss on your business.

Evaluate how much you want to safeguard the data in transit and storage with all-time encryption or for a limited time; how sensitive the data is, which needs to be kept confidential and not to eavesdrop at all;  at what speed you want your data to be accessible at different times like- always have a need for instant access or during a specified interval.

Based on the assessment, check whether a cloud provider has outlined all the things in a contract with SLA or not. It matters a ton for your business data secure.

Discover how on-premise security is handled

Certainly, cloud security is all-important for the businesses when they are making the decision to transfer the data to the cloud by getting associated with a service provider. It doesn’t mean you can oversight how much the provider is well-versed in handling on-premise security.

Ideally, the cloud security solution provider you choose must be capable of translating the on-premise controls, processes and insights as per your business cloud requirements.

The businesses can look for the service providers that comply with ISO/IEC27002 standard for physical and environmental security to ensure that physical infrastructure is in the secured perimeter and allied to physical entry controls. Verify the same that everything is according to the standard or not.

Follow the exit process to stay safer

Upon the contract completion, the contract termination or exit process is a must-have, which guarantees that no customer data remain with the provider and it’s completely destroyed from everywhere as the multiple copies of the same data are kept at different data centers as a backup. It’s an important consideration from the security perspective.

The exit process is well-defined and documented, which must be followed. After the exit process, the customers should not forget to take the written confirmation from the provider that the contract is terminated and data is removed from the service provider’s system.

Now, it’s over to you!

Undoubtedly, the cloud is great and has become all bread and butter for many organizations. Its amazing benefits have become the reason for its high popularity. But, without completely understanding the risks associated with cloud computing, which comes as a gift when it is warmly embraced, is a wrong choice. Skyrocketing the business productivity while keeping the data security and reputation at stake makes no sense. All you need is a list of dependable cloud service providers to select from, and see if they follow the security parameters and data architecture suitable for your business.

But do not forget to consider the aforementioned security aspects and mistake to overlook the cloud computing service provider’s evaluation to rest assured your data is in the safe hands.You are smart, so zero in the choice smartly