According to a 2016 study , around 95% of businesses worldwide are using at least one cloud service. And whilst there are many services that the cloud provides, the most often use for the cloud is to store business data. Security experts note that storing data in the cloud is relatively safe, but businesses should not become complacent. In fact they’re encouraged to take certain measures to protect their files.
Here’s what you can do to help keep your business’ clod-based data safe:
Understand The Security Policy Of Your Cloud Service Provider
Most cloud service providers explain their data security systems and methods in detail in their security policies. Periodically review your provider’s policy looking for key items such as:
- Frequency of data back-ups
- Where that backup data is stored
- If data is encrypted when it’s stored
- Which employees have access to your data
The best cloud service providers are either audited, certified, or both. And by independent agencies. To retain credentials like that, their security policies must be up to standard. If a provider lacks these credentials or you are uncomfortable with how your data is being handled, you might want to find another provider.
Ensure Your Account Has A Strong, Unique Password
The single most effective way to keep your data secure in the cloud is to use a strong password for your account. At a minimum, passwords need to be eight characters long, a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, and contain numbers that aren’t in a predictable pattern like ”1234”. It’s an added layer of strength to include special characters, such as a question mark or dollar sign.
The password needs to be unique. Cybercriminals love victims who reuse passwords, because once they steal a password for one account, they’ll try it out on all your other online accounts.
Avoid passwords made to sound like other words. For instance P@55w0rD is too close to ‘password’, and any Cybercriminal with the skills to perform a dictionary-based attack will crack that too easily. Here’s an example of a strong password, ?DorY305#
If your cloud service provider offers two-step verification (also known as two-factor authentication), consider taking advantage of it. Two-step verification provides an additional layer of security to prevent unauthorized access to your account.
Use an Encrypted Connection
Any data that you from the cloud, or to the cloud does so over the Internet. It’s vital that your connection to your cloud service provider is encrypted. This protects it should a cybercriminal intercept your data traffic. An easy way to see if a connection is encrypted is to look for a small lock icon either to the left or right of the URL, in your web browser’s address bar. If you don’t see the lock when you connect to your cloud provider, it’s time to find another provider.
Create Your Own Backup Files
It’s likely your cloud service provider is backing up your data (and all its other clients) as part of its service. But one backup system isn’t always enough. If a backup file became corrupted, what’s your plan B? This is why it’s smarter that you also periodically back up your data. One way is to download the data from the cloud to your computer, then back it up the same way you would back up any other data on it. This provides you with an extra layer of protection.
Train Your Employees
Employees who access your cloud service have a role in protecting your data. It’s important they understand what a cloud service is, how it operates, and their responsibilities in keeping data secure. The importance of good security habits also needs to be discussed during employee training. For example, they need to know why reusing passwords is dangerous.