You've probably heard plenty about the wonders of cloud computing. But even now that the technology is rapidly becoming a fixture in everyday life, you might suspect that cloud computing security issues make it too risky for your business.

When it's approached correctly, in fact, cloud computing is considered to be more secure than keeping your data and applications in-house. For cloud service providers, security is a top priority, and they typically invest significant resources in keeping the cloud secure. Ultimately, storing data in the cloud reduces your risk of loss, gives you more flexibility and allows you to recover more quickly should a disaster occur.

ADP's Senior Director of Security Awareness, Kim Albarella, provides pointers for small businesses who want to keep their data secure in the cloud.

Plan It Out

According to Albarella, you should "make sure you understand exactly what type of data you have and the legal and regulatory requirements around that data." Pay specific attention to financial records, health data or credit card data, which may be at higher risk and subject to regulations. Ensuring upfront that you're compliant is key for combating cloud data security issues.

Go With a Reputable Vendor

"Make sure you choose a cloud provider that is well-known, trusted in the market and has reliable technical support." Albarella suggests asking how data will be stored, whether it will be encrypted, how you can delete your information and what the provider's disaster recovery process includes. Note that by eliminating the need to hire an expensive IT expert, outsourcing can also cut costs.

Focus on Authentication

Passwords should be secure, complex and changed often. Where high levels of security are required, ensure that your service provider supports multifactor authentication, which can be a biometric like a fingerprint or voice recognition, or a code with a one-time password that is sent to your phone.

Don't Skimp

Some cloud providers offer additional security measures for a fee, and they're often worth the cost. Consider investing in services like login and online activity monitoring, which provide logs and location information. Real-time monitoring is useful since it can more quickly detect suspicious activity.

Your People Are the Biggest Risk

According to Albarella, "Typically it is not the cloud that is the problem, but the user." Employees are prone to falling victim to phishing or social engineering attacks whereby they unwittingly give away credentials that allow an impostor to access sensitive data. It's essential to train your staff about online safety and to create a full data security policy that outlines the responsibilities of all employees.

Cybersecurity is a hot topic these days, and for good reason. But that doesn't mean you should let potential cloud computing security issues keep you from embracing new technology. As with any shift in your business, prepare to control the risks and leverage it to your advantage.

Tags: Cloud Security