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Ways to Ensure Your Cloud is Secure

The cloud offers an enticing option for storing massive collections of data without the need for on-site servers. However, the very nature of the cloud makes it as appealing for hackers as it is for business owners. Cyber criminals are well aware of the wealth of data that awaits, and they’ll readily exploit any weak points that offer access. Keep your cloud secure by implementing these vigilant measures.

Review Your Provider’s Security Measures

Image via Flickr by perspec_photo88

Many cloud providers offer strong security measures to help keep your information safe. However, the responsibility still rests on the user to evaluate the provider’s security measures and check that they’re in compliance with the company’s own security requirements. Though 85 percent of information technology professionals report that they’re confident in their cloud provider’s security measures, only 29 percent of information technology users are heavily reviewing these policies and procedures.

Don’t operate with blind confidence. Consider involving a cloud access security broker or CASB in your search for a safe provider. The cloud operates under a shared responsibility model for security. This means that the cloud service is responsibility for certain aspects of securing the platform, while the customer is responsible for ensuring that the cloud service is being used in a secure and responsible manner by employees. To that end, CASBs help ensure visibility, threat protection, data security, and compliance among service providers so users can enjoy a safer and more reliable experience.

Protect Your Systems

Make sure your internal systems are properly protected with anti-virus software. In addition, all systems should be up to date and patched. If your business’s computers are vulnerable to an attack this way, your own central location could provide an open access point to your cloud. To this end, it’s also advisable to limit your access points. You don’t need to allow every employee access to sensitive information in your cloud storage, particularly if they’re accessing it from a remote and potentially unsecured location. The fewer places you access the cloud, the better.

Incorporate Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication helps minimize unauthorized access to the data you’ve stored in the cloud. Though your cloud provider may be completely secure, this doesn’t mean that your information is invulnerable to attack. Jamie Woodruff, an ethical hacker and penetration tester, was able to access a client’s data not by exploiting the cloud but by locatingpreviouslyhackedpasswords of an employee. The employee used the same password across multiple accounts, thus providing an easy way into the system.

Two-factor authentication will help prevent this type of attack. You can also increase your security by reviewing proper password procedures with employees and requiring that they change their secure passwords frequently.

Encrypt Your Data

Placing your data in a secure cloud shouldn’t be the only way that you protect it. Enhance your information security measures by encrypting all information before moving it to the cloud. This makes the data impenetrable to anyone who doesn’t have the encryption key. Encrypting information gives you an extra layer of protection that should help prevent theft even if a hacker can get into your cloud and reach sensitive files. Like two-factor authentication, this is another key example of layering your security measures.

The one drawback of encryption, however, is that it can break some of the functionalities of the cloud application, such as previewing documents, or searching/sorting for specific information.

While the cloud offers an efficient solution for data storage, it’s not without its weak points. Always take extra measures to keep your data safe and have a recovery plan in place for a fast response if a data breach should occur.

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