The cloud undoubtedly aids the future-proof way of conducting a business. Migrating a company’s brain to the cloud gives the company the flexibility and resilience it needs to respond to the challenges of a fast-moving world of endless opportunities. Storing this kind of data on the cloud frees the servers of the company itself and makes the required information quite accessible anywhere, anytime. Operations large and small can mobilize this technology to their advantage to save money and generate real long-term value. In the world of unlimited data streaming constantly every nano-second, a sound IT infrastructure support system is crucial.
The Need for Cloud Security to Ensure Smooth Sailing
Cybersecurity is such an indispensable word in the IT industry that much care goes a long way in ensuring that the company has a fool-proof system to safeguard its virtual interests. Cloud security protects data stored online via cloud computing platforms from theft, pilferage, and deletion. Some methods used to ensure cloud security includes firewalls, penetration testing, obfuscation, tokenization, virtual private networks (VPN), and avoiding public-access internet connections.
Is the Cloud Computing Security Robust for Life Science Companies
Be it the entire life science industry or any industry, cloud providers provide some cloud security to all the companies registered with them. Still, sometimes, this may not be enough to ensure complete protection. Lapses in the systems and gaps in the security modules lead to data pilferage that can be detrimental to the company’s image.
It’s already pretty frightening for most consumers thinking life science companies are storing every information about their health and well-being. The idea of losing it all because of a technical issue is just very concerning for them. Furthermore, many individuals believe that the public cloud is primarily transparent and easily accessible for cybercriminals. And most of the time, if not taken proper actions, it’s quite true.
This is why life science companies can’t afford to have a wishy-washy cloud security framework, and to ensure that, these seven tips are to be kept in mind.
7 Crucial Cloud Security Tips for Life Science Companies
1. Beware the Breaches During the Migration Stage
Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute, said, “We see most data breaches in pharma during the move from physical to the cloud. More than half of incidents(data breach) happen during this move”. So, because moving the data stored in a physical format in a physical place to literally sending it to the cloud, away from any physical means, can be a very complex issue on its own, there are imminent chances of losing some data on the way. So, to ensure that doesn’t happen, it’s always advised to take multiple backups of the data before moving it to the cloud.
2. Manage the Risk in Controlled Situations
Using the first point again, moving to a cloud is a pretty complex process. Most businesses can’t afford even a single miscalculated step, resulting in the loss of millions of worth of data. That’s managing the risk before diving fully into the concept of data migrations is the right way to go. It’s advised to start with the transfer of non-mission-critical areas of the business like the administrative functions before going into the high-risk areas.
Once the transfer of administrative data happens correctly, then the process can be repeated under controlled conditions for the high-risk data like proprietary information & patient data.
3. Look for a Cloud Provider with High Scalability Scope
Scalable cloud solutions that can adapt to new and updated requirements are essential, especially for companies in the health & life science industry. Failure to move with time and adapt to new requirements can result in noncompliance and misconfiguration problems.
4. Have a Solid Encryption Framework with A Secured Key
People think a cloud is a transparent storage location that can be easily infiltrated using malicious practices by hackers. However, one thing can remove all the worries: Encryption. In today’s time, it’s almost too complex for any hacker to hack into a cloud whose encryption is robust and who is transmitting the data over networks and placed in specific databases. Adding multiple layers of security helps. Technological advancements have made the cloud more secure, but there’s still some scope for error.
5. Compliance with the Standards is the Company’s Responsibility
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) provides data privacy and security provisions to safeguard Protected Health Information or PHI. Many companies or healthcare providers working in the Life Science industry use CSPs to store and transmit PHI. During this transaction, ensuring compliance is the shared responsibility of the CSP and the customer. However, customers (companies in this case), not CSPs, are responsible for using the cloud services in a way that complies with rules and regulations laid down by HIPAA.
6. Secure the Key
The most basic and still the most crucial advice one can give to a life science company is to secure the key to the cloud in a different location from the data that has been encrypted. This can be achieved by using split-key encryption, which uses dual keys, similar to a safety deposit box.
Other than this, companies using cloud services generally have three options for encryption and simultaneous key management:
- Cloud-Based Encryption: Where the cloud provider generates, manages, and stores the keys used to encrypt and decrypt data.
- Bring Your Own Key (BYOK): Where the client generates and manages encryption keys, but the cloud provider has access to the keys to encrypt and decrypt data at will.
- Hold Your Own Key (HYOK): Where the client generates, manages, and stores encryption keys in its own ecosystem. The cloud provider is blind to the contents of encrypted files.
7. Create an Overall Culture of Security
Too many companies, not just in life science industries, make cloud security a single department’s responsibility. Instead, they should be training & educating all of their staff about the cloud to remove the possibility of an information breach. Life Science companies have to protect extremely sensitive data like medical records, patient data, patent information, as well as asset information. If they are not educated about cloud security, how can they ensure the safety of the information? This is why it’s advised that a company should conduct yearly security awareness training to keep the relevant parties updated and well-informed.
Having all the necessary information at the reach of our hands on the cloud is undoubtedly very efficient and in line with the times. However, not every technological advancement is fool-proof or infallible.
Staying continuously secure and compliant with the cloud can be a tiresome process, particularly for life science companies because they handle tons of data pertaining to millions of patients and medical providers. But, if the companies take note of the seven tips listed above so eloquently, it could reduce the chances of error in the working of the cloud.