Over the past decade, cloud storage has become the preferred method of file storage. This is in large part to convenience, and cost. Cloud storage is an effective means to mitigate the cost of data storage, and allows for file access across multiple devices increasing productivity. However, how can organizations and individuals rest assured knowing their data is secure within the cloud?
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8 Tips to Keep Data Secure on the Cloud
Before diving into how to keep data secure on the cloud, it is important to understand one thing first. When trusting a third-party, in this case, a cloud-based storage provider to keep data secure, you must do some proper research. Once that third-party is involved, it also becomes their job to keep the information stored within the platform safe. Do your due diligence to be sure the platform you choose is credible. Now, let’s dive into what you can do to increase the security of your information within the cloud.
#1 Strong Passwords
This should go without saying, but we are going to say it anyway – choose a strong password for your cloud platform’s login credentials. This should be unique for only this service, not a password that is used for other platforms. If you use a weak or recycled password, the risk of a security breach increases.
#2 Enabling Multi-Factor Authentication
Most cloud-based data storage platforms offer multi-factor authentication to gain access to the data. This may be a password along with a SMS code, or possibly a layer of biometric scanning to ensure who is accessing the information is authorized. Regardless of the type of authentication, this additional layer of access control should be enabled. This will help to avoid unauthorized individuals from gaining access to the data.
#3 Avoid Storing Vital Information on the Cloud
Storing vital information, like proprietary data, on the cloud may reduce the level of security. This is simply because you are trusting the cloud-based data to also keep the data safe. Alternatively, if the data is stored internally, the risk of a data breach or unauthorized access is reduced because of a heightened amount of control.
#4 Encrypt Before Uploading
Any data, proprietary or not, should always be encrypted prior to uploading it to the cloud. By encrypting data before uploading it, it will not be stored in plain text. This means, in the event of a data breach – be it from a malicious cyber attack, or simply someone accessing the data that shouldn’t be able to – they will not be able to easily see what the data contains. Instead, it will be random characters that are incomprehensible.
#5 Manage App and Device Access
Far too often, when new applications are downloaded the terms and conditions are simply agreed upon without actually reading them. This means you are oftentimes agreeing to terms you are unaware of, including allowing other applications access to various elements of their network. As best practice, you should always be reviewing which apps have access to the cloud storage and disabling unnecessary application access.
Furthermore, verifying which devices can access data stored on the cloud will also be important. For example, cloud access is vital for remote employees; however, as an employer mitigating the risk of unauthorized devices will be important. To monitor this risk, employers will need to know which devices employees use, and only grant those specific devices access. This will reduce insecurities by discouraging employees from using personal devices to access company data.
#6 Finding the Right Provider
As mentioned previously, when individuals invest in a third-party to store data, they must be sure they are trustworthy. Be sure to do your own due diligence by checking the cloud-based data storage provider’s encryption process, reading reviews, and inquiring about their integration and existing partnerships with other noteworthy organizations.
#7 Understand the Terms
When entering into an agreement with a data storage provider, understanding the terms and conditions will be important for the decision making process. It is vital to know how long they keep your data in the event of inactivity, do they do anything with your data, and what happens when your license or subscription expires?
#8 Back Up Data Stored on the Cloud
In an effort to increase efficiency, many cloud storage users rely on the cloud provider to back up their data. Although this can eliminate the task from your to-do list, relying solely on the data storage provider to back up files is not best practice. Ideally, you should have files backed up in two separate locations. Then, if one location is compromised, the other is still secure. Along with the terms of your data storage agreement, the provider may also be responsible for backing up your data.
Ultimately, you must be selective when choosing a cloud storage provider. Be sure to choose a reputable company with a strong digital infrastructure, and take the necessary steps outlined above to make the platform as secure as possible.