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Note: The scalability of the cloud at low cost is what sets it apart from other hosting solutions. This is particularly useful for app hosting. Put your app in the NetHosting cloud today for great service and an impressive uptime guarantee.

Basic cloud security features should be more than adequate for minimal hosting needs. There are also ways to ensure you’re using a secure hosting provider.

Because the cloud is accessible anywhere, some companies worry that what that really means is that anyone can access their data due to security holes. The cloud may have started out with some vulnerability but now, with the cloud being as prolific as it is, the barrier to entry really doesn’t have anything to do with security. Companies like OpSource, Amazon Web Services, and Rackspace have addressed concerns about cloud security with a layer two virtual LAN. OpSource’s customers connect to the cloud through VPN clients or site-to-site VPN terminations. The public cloud becomes an extension of the private cloud, and therefore makes it more secure, and more of a hybrid cloud than anything else.

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Aside from VPN and other security layers that can be put on top of clouds (e.g. CloudSpan), there are many other ways to improve cloud security so that there should be no question that it is a viable option for companies all over the world, no matter what their purpose or what applications they have to run. For example, one of the most popular websites on the Internet, Pinterest, uses the cloud exclusively. Pinterest uses one hundred and fifty AWS instances to store over four hundred terabytes of data.

One big factor of the cloud that sometimes escapes people’s notice is that not everything is suited for the public cloud. Sometimes, companies should instead house their applications (or at least some of them) in a private cloud. However, applications that can be stored in the cloud can include websites, application development, testing, online catalogs, and documentation. Most cloud service providers (CSPs) have standard security in place that more than covers all of these services so no extra security measures will be needed for businesses.

Along that same line, cloud service providers have different levels of security certification. If you’re taking the plunge into the cloud, be sure to do your homework about the hosting providers you’re looking into and the physical and digital security that they’ve implemented for your data, their data, and their facilities. This is particularly important if your business requires certain security measures be in place, like PCI compliance, etc.

Also, these security measures can’t just be a data center technician promising a really secure building. This has got to be proven and confirmed by third-party auditors. For CSPs that truly have certifications and stamps of approval, they’ll have certifications from different security standards listed on their website, as well as paperwork, should you require to see it in person. Be aware that these security audits have a brief lifespan. For example, SAS 70 Type II audits can expire in six months or can last longer. Be sure after you start hosting with a company that you remain vigilant in making sure they are always as secure as possible.

Note: If possible, getting a chance to scope out the physical location your data will be in might be a good way to confirm how secure your hosting provider’s facilities are. Take a virtual tour of NetHosting’s data center today!

Finally, be sure to carefully read any service level agreement that a CSP offers you. Perhaps the most important point in any SLA should be how customers are notified of security breaches, and when. Additionally, there should be guarantees of minimum amounts of security you can expect from your cloud service provider.

As you move over to a secure cloud hosting provider, be sure that your apps and procedures can fit within the security implemented in the cloud your data resides on. This is particularly important as you migrate mission-critical apps to the cloud that you or your company can’t afford to have go down at any time.

To read more about cloud security, check out our blog post about CloudLock, a security startup that is looking to secure cloud storage apps like DropBox and Google Drive.