If by now you haven’t heard of cloud storage, then it’s time to step into the 21st century. Both businesses and individuals use the cloud daily to store their precious data and keep it from harm’s way.
However, there are some people who are worried about cloud security. If you’re wondering how secure cloud data really is, you’re not the only one. With as much as 50% of the world’s corporate data stored in the cloud, businesses from all over the world are wondering if cloud data protection is up to their standards.
There’s no reason to worry because the cloud is one of the safest places where you can store your data thanks to multiple levels of security and encryption. Still, there are some things you need to know so you can approach cloud data security more effectively.
Why Is Cloud Security Important?
Nowadays, it’s almost impossible to find a business that doesn’t utilize the cloud one way or another. In fact, as much as 81% of all enterprises have a multi-cloud strategy already in place or are working on one, and a lot of those enterprises use the cloud to store sensitive information that needs to be protected.
That being said, here are some reasons why it’s so important to secure cloud data:
- Stopping security breaches. If a security breach or a data leak happens, a company’s reputation, financial health, and even existence will be endangered.
- Allowing for disaster recovery. Unfortunately, disaster can strike at any time and cause your devices to malfunction. But with a safe and secure cloud, you will always have access to your data.
- Helping with compliance. There are certain data protection standards and compliance requirements (e.g. GDPR and HIPPA) that some organizations need to meet in order to avoid sanctions. The right cloud data protection will allow your company to stay compliant at all times.
- Preventing data leaks. Companies that deal with sensitive information daily need to install cloud security. This will help them prevent leaks and limit security threats by limiting access employees have to certain files and data.
Common Concerns About Security in Cloud Storage
Some think that secure cloud data is a given, but there are still some concerns organizations and individuals have about cloud security.
One of the leading causes of cloud data breaches is the misconfiguration of cloud security. When an organization has a cloud infrastructure, it can be a challenge to ensure that only authorized persons have access to the data because the cloud was designed to enable easy access and sharing.
If your organization has a cloud-based infrastructure, you don’t have complete control or visibility over that infrastructure. Instead, you have to rely on the security controls your cloud service provider configured.
This can be an issue if you have a multi-cloud deployment. Since every vendor has different security controls, this can lead to security oversight and misconfiguration.
Picking a strong password is essential, but unfortunately, a lot of people don’t think about their password security. If you secure your cloud with a weak password that can easily be stolen, that can lead to account hijacking and unauthorized access.
External data sharing
One of the many benefits the cloud brings is that it makes it easy to share data. In fact, most cloud providers allow you to invite a collaborator via a URL link or email. However, this benefit can turn into a security issue if you’re not careful and don’t think enough about access controls.
When you use link-based sharing, it becomes hard to control your shared documents and that link can easily be forwarded to someone else who wasn’t intended to be a recipient. And if that link gets into the wrong hands, it can cause a data breach.
Even though organizations like to believe they only hire trustworthy people, an insider attack is always a possibility, no matter how unlikely it seems to you. An employee can access your cloud account without any issues since they have authorized access. After that, they can easily leak sensitive information.
On the other hand, in some cases, insider threats can happen simply through human error. An employee could endanger the company’s online privacy unknowingly if they don’t apply the right practices when using cloud applications.
Poorly secured APIs
Application Programming Interfaces, better known as APIs, give cloud users the chance to customize their experience. This system was designed to provide an overall better service. However, apart from allowing organizations to offer customers cloud service features, APIs do much more.
They provide access, affect encryption, and authentication, and it’s very important that you know how to work with APIs. They can be vulnerable because of the communication that happens between applications. If a programmer isn’t careful, they can create exploitable security risks.
How to Secure Your Data in The Cloud
After all of this, you’re probably thinking that secure cloud data isn’t a possibility and you might even be concerned. Still, there’s not much reason to be worried because as long as you know how to keep your data safe, you can rest assured you won’t run into any issues.
Even though the issues that we talked about can happen, they’re still rare and cloud security is almost always guaranteed. But if you want to be 100% sure nothing will go wrong, there are a few things you can do to make sure your data is as safe as possible.
Be careful about who you give permission to
There’s no need to give full access to all of the data in your cloud to everyone in the organization. Choose access points carefully based on the organizational hierarchy so only people who are in certain roles and positions can access the most important and critical data.
Choose a cloud provider that offers encryption
One of the safest ways to protect your data is to encrypt it. Encryption is the process of transforming data into secret codes called ciphertext and only someone who has a decryption key can read that data. Even if a hacker gets into your cloud, they won’t be able to read any of the data on it if they have no key to it.
You can find encryption capabilities on both private and public cloud platforms, but not all cloud storage providers offer it, so choose carefully. Make sure to read the user agreement for all of the cloud solutions you’re choosing between.
Set up strong passwords
Even though this should be a given, some people don’t think too much about the passwords they choose. When deciding what password to use for your cloud account, make sure it has at least 12 characters and includes capital and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers.
Additionally, your security shouldn’t stop with passwords. You should also enable two-factor authentication that sends a code to your email or phone when you try to log into the account. This way, the chances of unauthorized access are much lower.
Don’t store personal or sensitive information in the cloud
If your or your employees’ personal information leaks, it may not be dangerous, but it will leave your identity unprotected. This goes for personal information such as first and last names, but it gets more dangerous if you include sensitive personal information.
If you have social security numbers, copies of IDs, or financial statements in cloud environments, it will be very problematic if that information leaks.
Creating a secure cloud computing environment isn’t just about protecting yourself from potential threats, it’s also about risk management. And since storing this type of information would be a great risk, it’s best not to do it at all.
Organizations collect massive amounts of data daily, and a lot of that data contains important and confidential information that should be kept safe and secure. Since the cloud is so widely used by both businesses and individuals, it makes sense to store data in cloud computing environments.
But if you want to ensure the cloud is as safe as it can be, you need to choose the right provider and do everything you can to add your own security features on top of it. Even though the technology is more powerful than ever before, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do a little extra to ensure cloud data security.