Why is cloud security important for your business?

Cloud technologies are increasingly popular. Understand why keeping them and your information secure is important to help safeguard your business.
· 20 February 2024 · 4 minute read

The growing importance of cloud security

Cloud computing is growing among small businesses. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reports 76 percent of companies (20 to 199 employees), 65 percent (5 to 19 employees) and 49 percent (0 to 4 employees) are using cloud technologies.

Before, advanced technologies, such as collaboration, customer relationship management (CRM) and storage solutions were only available to larger businesses with big budgets.

Cloud has democratised this accessibility, enabling small businesses to benefit. This includes enhanced productivity and competitiveness, as well as taking advantage of new market opportunities. 

A report from accounting software provider, Xero, found small businesses that adopt new technologies enjoy 120 per cent more revenue and 106 per cent more productivity.


Cloud security confusion

Cloud comes with many benefits. But its growing use could also create confusion. Particularly when it comes to what your cloud provider secures, and what you need to be responsible for.

Here are some of the common areas to consider.


Shared responsibility

With on premises technologies, your business is responsible for security. With cloud technologies and services this is partly supplied by a third party.

Cloud providers usually follow a shared responsibility model. They secure the underlying infrastructure. Your business will need to secure your own data and applications

Ensure the lines of responsibilities aren’t blurred. Otherwise, this may lead to gaps in security.


Lack of physical control

With cloud, the service provider is in control of the service i.e. the infrastructure. But this might be thousands of kilometres from your business.

This can make it hard to see what physical and digital security measures are in place. And what is being secured and what isn’t.


Multiple services and providers

If you’re using, or plan to use multiple cloud services, you may need to examine the configuration options across each. Configuration is the process of defining the parameters and settings for cloud services and resources to meet the requirements of your business.

But these settings can differ across providers. If settings aren’t applied correctly, this could lead to misconfigurations and vulnerabilities. 


What are the fundamental cloud security measures?

Robust security measures are crucial. They help prevent vulnerabilities from appearing and being exploited. 

Cloud security questions you can ask your provider include:

  • Where is the actual location of where my data will be stored?
  • What type of physical security do you have at your data centres?
  • Is my data encrypted? And if so, how?
  • What type of authentication methods are used? For example, do you support multi-factor authentication (MFA)?
  • What compliance standards do you adhere to?
  • How often are data backups performed?
  • Do you conduct regular security audits?
  • What service level agreements (SLAs) do you offer to ensure my data is accessible?
  • Can you clarify my data ownership rights and how my data can be exported or migrated?
  • Is it possible to integrate your services with my existing security tools?

Once you understand what your cloud provider secures, you can use their answers to help build your own cloud security plan. Here are some things to consider as part of your plan.  


Back-up your data

Back-up and disaster recovery software can help ensure copies of critical data are kept safe. This is important in case of data loss, either through accidental deletion, or a security incident. Back-up acts as a safeguard to help your business recover quickly.


Protect your remote workforce

With more people working remotely, consider cyber security measures beyond the office. This means securing devices and applications used by remote workers when they access information from other networks and locations.


Keep on top of patching

Keep all software up to date with the latest security patches. Cloud service providers will take care of their assets. Your business is responsible for securing data, applications and any other systems within your environment.


Use multi-factor authentication controls

Consider using multi-factor authentication (MFA) to add an extra layer of security to your cloud solutions. Doing this helps ensure only authorised people can access crucial systems and data.


Data encryption

While your cloud provider may have an encryption service, you are responsible for securing your data. No matter where it is. This could be data contained within emails or on workplace devices such as a mobile phone or laptop.

Consider where the most sensitive information sits in your business. Specific encryption, such as email or collaboration services, can help further protect your data where it’s most needed.


Audit your systems

Regular security audits can help you detect and respond to potential security incidents.

A proactive approach can help identify and mitigate weaknesses and risks before they escalate.


Network security

The network is often described as the glue holding technology systems together. First, ask your service provider what network security measures they have in place. Then consider what additional layers of security you may need.

This includes firewalls, as well as intrusion detection and prevention systems. These can help protect your business against cybercriminals attempting to gain unauthorised access.


Keeping your cloud technologies secure

Cloud technologies have changed the game for small businesses. They can help foster greater productivity and enable faster response to change in a cost-effective way.

These benefits can only be achieved with a robust and proactive approach to security across multiple levels. This includes encryption, access management, auditing and many more.

As technology continues to evolve and cyber threats become more sophisticated, so too must cloud security. It’s a continuous process of education, adaptation and collaboration between small businesses and cloud service providers.

Follow a few simple guidelines to help keep your business secure. Stay informed, consider cloud security best practices and technologies, and create a security-first culture.

Help fight security breaches

Are you managing risks effectively?

By signing up for Cyber Wardens, a program from the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia (COSBOA) that aims to educate businesses like yours on how to help fight online threats.

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