For organizations keen to enjoy all the benefits of the cloud but wary of its potential security risks, cloud computing has forced a rethinking of basic data protection strategies. When you put your data in the cloud, you can no longer rely on your own firewalls and perimeter to prevent data leaks and breaches. Security in the cloud era must focus on data rather than infrastructure; cloud data encryption is critical. Here are three features that distinguish the best cloud data encryption solutions.
1. A variety of cloud data protection options Data protection isn’t one-size-fits-all, nor should it be. Different types of data—customer names, addresses, credit card and account numbers, etc.—will need different levels of protection depending on factors such as corporate policy, asset value, and regulatory requirements. You’ll need to apply the strongest encryption available to some types of data. Other types of data may need to be tokenized instead so that the data itself never travels past the corporate perimeter. The best cloud data encryption solutions offer a variety of data protection options, as well as the ability to apply these options to data in a policy-based fashion and at a very granular level.
2. Data protection that preserves functionality What’s the use of cloud computing if your cloud applications can’t use your data? That’s a dilemma organizations may face if they don’t choose the best cloud data encryption solution for their needs. Encryption is a handy tool if applied correctly, but it can also reduce or even break the functionality of the applications that handle the data. Some substitution methods may change the format of data, for example, so that it cannot be accurately searched, sorted, or reported. If data security comes at the cost of data functionality, it renders cloud adoption pointless. The best cloud data encryption solutions are tightly integrated with the cloud applications your organization wants to use, with options like Searchable Strong Encryption to enable you to protect your data while preserving the applications’ ability to process the data as intended.
3. Enterprise control of encryption keys Finally, organizations must consider the question of control when it comes to encryption key management. The security risks of cloud computing originate in the loss of control that an enterprise organization experiences when it entrusts its sensitive data to third-party cloud service providers. Giving up control of infrastructure security to third party CSPs is acceptable, since reputable CSPs already maintain a high level of security, but giving up control of your data is not.
Reliable cloud data protection for security and regulatory compliance demands that you remain in control of who can access your data at all times, no matter where the data resides. Unfortunately, control of data is exactly what organizations give up when they choose cloud data encryption providers that retain copies of the organizations’ encryption keys. The best cloud data encryption solutions allow enterprises to retain exclusive access to, and control of, their encryption keys. These solutions eliminate the risk of an insider threat, data breach, or forced data disclosure at the CSP, since no one will be able to view protected data in the clear without the encryption keys. In recent years, a number of cloud data encryption vendors have emerged to address the enterprise’s cloud data security anxieties. Not all of those vendors are created equal.
Use our guidelines to find the best cloud data encryption solution so that your organization can enjoy the full benefits of the cloud while addressing its biggest risks. Interested in learning more? Download our guide: Cloud Data Protection right now.