With the emergence of e-commerce, social media, and smart home devices, we are witnessing a data explosion. Businesses deal with gigabytes and terabytes of data daily. Often many cannot afford to install powerful servers. Moreover, having a backup system further increases the cost involved. Cloud storage is a convenient solution for mitigating the issue of data overflow. Here one can store data on remote servers and access it on the web.
The cloud service providers have numerous servers or data centers and can serve people and companies across the globe. One can remotely access data via a smartphone or tablet. It is cost-effective as users have a choice to pay monthly/yearly or as per the usage. One need not buy hard drives and memory sticks or carry those missable flash drives for meetings and seminars.
As the data is present in data centers belonging to the service provider, one can bypass the rules and gain access to it illegally. Thus data security is an essential parameter for choosing a cloud service provider. Below we list the ways you can secure the data in the cloud environment.
One can protect that flow to and from cloud storage through encryption. It can happen at the server, implying encryption happens after the cloud service receives the data. It is known as server-side encryption. One can also encrypt data before sending it to the cloud. Large businesses store all their data in the same place and create a data lake. The cloud service providers offer data lake protection tools. To enhance the security of the data lake, companies follow a set of safe cloud data handling practices. The first step is to give access to only those people who require it. It is called the principle of least privilege. Another technique is to group the data into different zones based on priority. Zoning helps to handle sensitive data with utmost care.
Use Strong Passwords
The first barrier to your data is the login credentials. Often people create simple passwords and do not change them for ages. Using sequential numbers, birthdate, anniversary date, etc., in the passwords is not safe. Cybercriminals can get such personal information from social media with ease. Therefore, try to use unrelated words and numbers in the password. Make it long, unique, and devise ways to remember passwords. Also, one should not reuse the same password for different portals. Business owners have to make password management an essential part of security awareness campaigns.
Opt for Multi-factor Authentication
Accessing data with login credentials alone makes it easier for cybercriminals to hack your account. The method of multifactor authentication reduces the incidence of a security breach. The general practice is to add layers of protection through techniques like time-based one-time passwords via SMS, mail, etc. So even if hackers get the credentials, they cannot verify and thus cannot access them. It is compliant with single sign-on solutions even when the user works remotely. Adding additional verification does not affect the cloud space.
Use Anti-virus Software
Often the first software that we install after buying a PC or a laptop is the anti-malware software. The cloud service providers have come up with cloud antivirus software for protecting data in the cloud. The advantage of the cloud antivirus facility is that the users/client need not burden their local machine’s hard drive. The real-time scanning for malware happens at the data center of the service provider. Thus there is no need to update the malware database frequently. Also, with advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning, behavioral scanning is possible. It helps spot new threats and discrepancies.
Educate the Users
Using cloud storage is cost-efficient and convenient. In the organization, employees can access the same cloud environment. Therefore, it is essential to teach safe cloud practices to the users. They should understand the importance of data and keep it protected. Employees should not allow any unauthorized access to the cloud storage. Any suspicious/shadow users have to be reported immediately. They have to know the practices that fall under malicious behavior and avoid them.
Test the Security Measures
The cloud services providers offer a host of facilities. Often, a secure storage and data transfer system is their primary service. Therefore, you need to understand the safety measures that the service provider offers and evaluate them. Also, one should know the configuration details that can enhance the safety features.
Have a Backup of Essential Data
It is always safe to take backup of critical data. One can store it locally or in another cloud storage. It is not possible to have soft copies of all the data storage devices. So, always have guidelines for classifying data and keep copies of the essential information.
Cloud services are easy to use and are economical too. One need not invest in buying resources and leave the management of data to the service providers. One can have a multi-user access environment as well as restrict permission to highly confidential data. The data center companies ensure data security. But it is also the responsibility of the users to keep their data protected.