At the Core
19 November 14

10 Tips for Protecting Data When Using IaaS Solutions

An Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) plan can give organizations access to holistic infrastructure resources to meet their diverse operational needs. A good cloud infrastructure strategy will alleviate your day-to-day management burden. But you also need to keep your data safe. Here are 10 tips to help you protect data when subscribing to IaaS plans:

1. Know what you control
IaaS plans give vendors a great deal of responsibility, but you still have plenty to control. Knowing the nuances of your service plan, the infrastructure configuration and how users will access various resources plays a key role in figuring out how you can protect data.

2. Understand ownership
Who actually owns data in your IaaS plan? You need to understand the nuances of data ownership to protect your organization against a wide range of legal and logistical situations.

3. Analyze the SLA
The service level agreement is the lifeblood of any IaaS plan. SLAs are by no means standardized documents. Instead, there are a variety of ways to fine tune and optimize SLAs to protect data and intellectual property assets.

4. Don't neglect regulatory compliance
Complying with regulatory standards is a huge component of any security strategy, and a good IaaS provider will be able to offer fine tuned process and configuration management capabilities to help you avoid any problems from industry regulators.

5. Emphasize Authentication
End-user devices may be the single greatest point of risk with any cloud hosting plan. Employees need to protect their passwords and comply with authentication best practices. Technology leaders need to establish these best practices, and ensure they balance convenience and security to keep data safe without limiting end users.

6. Monitor your network
All the anti-malware and firewall solutions in the world won't help you if users are able to get unauthorized access to your network. This is a growing problem as more users connect via mobile devices and businesses need to make wireless infrastructure more accessible. Effectively monitoring the network for suspicious activity is key to protecting infrastructure assets hosted in the cloud.

7. Train your workers
Employees accessing the IaaS plan through less secure means, such as a public Wi-Fi hotspot, can create significant risks. Make sure your workers understand how they play a role in keeping data safe.

8. Make sure data is backed up
IaaS providers don't always handle data backup the same way. You need to understand how your vendor handles redundancy and take any action you need to protect information assets.

9. Evaluate how data moves between destinations
Data in transit can fall under threat from a variety of sources. The only way to protect information under these circumstances is to have a clear understanding of how it moves between users, the corporate data center and the facility where IaaS systems are housed.

10. Protect against internal threats
Authorized users performing unauthorized activities are a huge risk for businesses. It's not enough to just make sure your employees follow proper practices, you need to make sure your cloud vendor can effectively control its staff members. 

Security is always complicated, but there is plenty that can be done to add a layer of protection alongside IaaS strategies.

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