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Best Practices for Protecting Data in the Cloud

Cloud-based services can increase security if implemented correctly.


For some institutions, data security remains a lingering concern when considering a transition to cloud-based services. Employees privacy, in particular, requires careful and secure data handling. Most of this concern centers on cloud-based information systems. However, experts point out that when institutions support a move to the cloud with the right policies, such a move generally increases security over the most sensitive data.


CDW’s own research on secure cloud computing suggests that active user measures serve to maintain the security built into the system. Most often, data breaches result from improper handling of data rather than a failure of the system itself. Employees data privacy policies, like any other data privacy policy, should at minimum require that the institution define security policies for various levels of organizational data, apply controls for tracking data, manage access and credentials, and protect remote and mobile endpoints.


Additional measures that CDW recommends include encrypting transmitted and sensitive data; managing access, authentication and identity for cloud-based applications; requiring password changes every 90 days; certifying the security measures taken by the cloud vendor; and holding annual security training for individuals.


Institutions that remain concerned about security in the cloud can look for products that carry FedRAMP or Internet 2 NET+ certifications. Both certifications ensure a high standard of security in the cloud and can offer additional peace of mind to universities accustomed to managing their own local data centers.