Manage The Risks Of New Cloud Technology Adoption

Most businesses are under constant pressure to adopt new technologies. At the moment, the pressure is to move to cloud-based services for everything from software delivery to data storage. But every new technology also brings new risks – so how can you get the benefits of moving to the cloud while also minimising your exposure to new IT risks?

Understanding The Sources Of Technology Risk In The Cloud

Moving IT services into the cloud makes some risks easier to manage. Data stored in the cloud can be automatically backed up, and risks such as fire and theft are no longer an issue. But other IT security risks are much harder to get away from – and they’re all related to people.

There are two kinds of human risk in IT, and they’re often related: criminal activity and human error. Criminal activity such as hacking, ransomware extortion and data theft is made much easier when companies don’t have good IT security policies, or when staff breach those policies.

Human Error Is The Biggest Data Security Risk

Here’s an example that could happen to anyone: We had a client who handled information on behalf of international customers. Some of that information was subject to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The client had it all securely stored in cloud-based servers that were fully GDPR-compliant, so they thought they were safe. But then an employee logged in to the service from home, using a computer that, unknown to them, had been infected with a keystroke logger. Just like that, hackers had easy access to all their data, and their entire IT security system was meaningless.

For The Best IT Security, Combine Tools With Policy And Training

Every company should use an appropriate combination of firewalls, encryption and virtual private network (VPN) services to maintain data security, no matter where their employees are working.  It’s also wise to implement tools that will stop employees from doing things that make their lives a little bit easier but  compromise data security, like sending files to their personal email addresses so they can work at home.

No tools in the world are as ingenious as humans, though. Humans are unbelievably talented at thinking of new ways to avoid security rules if they think those rules are getting in their way. That’s why it’s absolutely critical to have an IT and security policy in place, and to update it often. You also need to train your employees in good data security practices, comprehensively and often. When people understand why the rules exist, they’re much more likely to stick to them.

IT Risk Management Needs More Than Compliance

Finally, it’s really important to understand that IT risk management goes far beyond just complying with laws and regulations. The regulations will never be able to keep up with the latest inventions of hackers and other bad actors. These days, protecting your data is protecting your business, and you need to manage it as carefully as you manage your bank account. Even if your business is too small for an in-house IT department, tech security still needs to be someone’s job – and that person should schedule security reviews with your IT provider at least once a year. Your business could depend on it.