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Cloud Computing, how to keep it secure

Top Cloud Security methods

Safely storing all of your work data on your own private server is often a simple and eventless process, particularly when intrusion detection systems and firewalls are put in place to ensure security. However, storage on the Cloud is not so effortless, as its undefined boundary makes it somewhat difficult to adequately secure. This very issue has been identified by several different studies as the main deterrent to Cloud storage. So when looking at adopting the Cloud, it is imperative to look at the ways in which threats could present themselves.

How Secure is the Cloud?

Prior to entrusting your most valuable and confidential data to a Cloud company, you must have a good knowledge of the company you opt for, and the kinds of service you can expect from them. Do some research, and do not skimp on the user agreements and terms and conditions – you must be fully prepared for the worst, and know what to expect from your adoption of Cloud storage. Make sure you are aware of liability details, prices and what you are actually getting for your money, and go for a company that offers the international standard for Cloud privacy (ISO/IEC 27018). Additional services such as antivirus, intrusion detection and firewalls can be obtained from many renowned providers, and give you better peace of mind about the security of your data.

Backing up Data

Although the odds are slim, you can never tell when technology could fail you. It is vital to regularly back up your data and store it somewhere easily accessible. Although your chosen Cloud may back up your data in several different locations, accidents can happen, and the company may not last. For these reasons, have a personal back up location, where you can keep your data in your possession at all times, and don’t forget to do it regularly!

Management Responsibility

When applying Cloud storage to your company or workplace, it is necessary for privileged user employees to be given fresh and thorough training, and for their handling of data to be added to their key performance indicators (KPIs). Surveillance of staff and access control should remain priorities to ensure optimal levels of data security.

Don’t Let Hackers Off Easily

Make sure to use different, separate passwords which are unrelated. In the event of a hacker cracking a password, they will use it, and variations of it, on every Cloud account in use by your company. Mixing, and frequently changing passwords, spreads the risk and significantly reduces the risk of your valuable data being tampered with.

Encrypting

Encryption is highly recommended for any and all sensitive data. Put simply, this means your data is translated into an indecipherable code, and any attempts to steal and read said data would be largely unsuccessful. A good understanding of where in the process the encryption happens is also useful for tracking any hacking attempts, so make sure to enable access monitoring.

Who has access?

One of the great advantages of the Cloud is the way in which multiple users have access to the data, regardless of time or location. However, it’s a double-edged sword, with this very advantage playing into the hands of hackers. Keeping data storage secure onsite is far easier than doing it outside of work hours, where colleagues may be getting some work done in the early hours, or checking some stats on the train. This is why limiting the access to sensitive data is important, and should ideally be restricted to office use only.

Consider Mobile & Home device security

If, for whatever reason, restricting data access to work use is not practical for your company, the potential dangers of allowing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) access. Make sure that any confidential work data is kept separate from personal data on the device, and that any devices used for data access are regularly updated and checked for vulnerabilities.

Antivirus, Malware and Ransomware

Despite the best efforts of Cloud companies to protect your sensitive data from ransomware, malware and viruses, this does not apply to whichever device you are trying to access data from. It is very important to make sure that both the Cloud storage itself, and the devices which access it, are separately protected against attack.

While Cloud computing is a basic essential for almost all businesses today, knowing what you are signing up for, and protecting yourself and your valuable data from threat, should be of utmost importance.

Visit our IT Security and Managed IT pages to view our related services.

Jake Simpson

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