An increasing number of companies of all shapes and sizes are choosing to store their digital data in the Cloud, due to its numerous advantages. Cloud storage is convenient and cost effective. It provides centralized data access, avoids downtime and facilitates storage-related administrative work. Still, it’s not risk free and there are several important tips for cloud security you might want to consider, to keep you data safe and your mind at ease.
What are the benefits of storing data in the Cloud?
Unlike conventional storage, the Cloud model involves online storage and processing of data and applications on multiple servers and locations. Cloud storage offers the following benefits:
Of course, with all that valuable data floating around in cyberspace, security is paramount. In fact, hiring reliable IT professionals to keep your data safe is as important as choosing the best Cloud solution for your business.
Security issues associated with Cloud computing
There are several basic types of Cloud environment depending on the privacy and exclusivity of resources (private, public, hybrid, community) and several fundamental service models. This includes: Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service and Software as a Service.
When it comes to Cloud security, there is no “one –measure- fits- all” solution. Each of these environments and service models carries specific sets of risks demanding specific security measures.
Cloud security describes measures involving data accessibility, integrity, confidentiality, safety and compliance with regulations. Some of the safety aspects include malware protection, authentication, encryption, authorization, digital certificates and more.
In general, security concerns associated with Cloud computing can be viewed from two main aspects: provider-related and client-related. Both sides share responsibility and can greatly contribute to the safety of the data in the Cloud.
Clients should choose their Cloud provider wisely and do their best to use the service in a way that promotes security (strong passwords, authentication measures).
Providers should ensure the safety of their platforms and IT infrastructure, and the security of client data and applications.
So what are some essential tips for Cloud security?
There are many things you should consider when it comes to cloud security. What follows are our primary tips for Cloud security. This is what we advise all of our clients. Look at these as being of the highest importance.
Strong password protection
According to statistics, most passwords can be cracked within seconds. And yet, it’s somehow too much trouble for many people to come up with a strong password. Passwords are not something to be taken lightly, especially when it comes to precious company data.
Although we should know better, most of us tend to use the same password for multiple services such as email, Facebook and even the Cloud storage account. Although convenient, this practice is very dangerous as a single security breach can expose all your digital information.
Always set strong, unique passwords so hackers won’t have it way too easy. Also make sure you change your passwords frequently.
Two-step login verification
This is a more secure way to protect your Cloud account, as it provides an additional security layer. In this case, in addition to entering the right password, you’ll be prompted to supply an additional authentication factor (code sent by the provider, voice or fingerprint authentication). This way, even if someone manages to crack your password, they still won’t be able to access your account.
Malicious programs allow easy access to your device with potentially disastrous consequences. Even if your Cloud provider takes all the necessary precautions to keep your data safe from an attack, your own computer can provide the point of entry.
As we spend most of our time online, it’s fairly easy to get infected. A simple click on a link or attachment (sometimes unknowingly passed on by our friends) is all it takes. Do not open any strange looking links or attachments, even when they come from a friend.
Once installed, malware can compromise your security by stealing personal data (user ID, password, credit card info) and delivering it to the hacker. Ultimately, all your data may be lost or rendered unusable. To avoid this, use anti-malware on all your devices and keep it updated.
But first, make sure your anti-malware software is the real thing – not some virus in sheep’s clothing.
The best way to protect your data from unwanted access is encrypting it. You can use a Cloud protection app to generate passwords and secret key sequences, and apply them to your files before upload. This way, the content of your files will remain off-limits to anyone without a password.
You can also choose a Cloud provider that offers encryption services, but you can still encrypt the files yourself first, just to be on the safe side. If you want to go a step further in securing your data, see if your provider offers encryption during the upload and download phase.
Levels of access
The very nature of the Cloud allows access to stored data by a number of people, from anywhere on the net. It’s important to control who can access what, especially since users can include a number of employees, business partners or customers.
Employees should have sufficient access to the files and apps they need to do their job, and nothing more. Also, privileged users requiring access to secure data for job purposes need appropriate training in handling secure data and tighter access control. Check if your provider offers options allowing you to set up and manage access levels.
Access based on user context
It’s also advisable to control Cloud access based on user context. This is done by setting different levels of access for the same user, depending on the location, purpose and device. For instance, access to sensitive data can be authorized from an office computer during working hours. However, access after work, from a cell phone in a restaurant, will require additional login steps to ensure safety.
To sum it up, when choosing a Cloud provider, trust should be your guiding principle. You need to be sure your choice is right in terms of technology, security measures and competence. On that note, if you feel uncomfortable not knowing exactly where in the virtual environment your data resides, and you want a server just for your needs, a dedicated Cloud solution is your best bet.
Of course, you can make all of this a lot easier for yourself. Consider hiring specialist IT experts to help you with the process. It is important to choose high-level IT professionals with years of experience under their belts and verified customer satisfaction record.
This is precisely what InspiredTechs services are all about. Trust, reliability, open communication and continuous support for all our valued clients are part of our job description. By choosing our services, you can rest assured your data is completely safe, and you can focus on your core business.