7  Effective Ways to improve cloud data security

Cloud computing has changed everything. Companies no longer rely on in-house servers and software to get business done. Most business can execute their business functions online.

With your data online it is vital that you keep it safe. Studies show that 21% of folders on the internet are not protected. You don't want this to be your company or customer data.

If you are moving to the cloud and want to know how to keep your data safe, then you've come to the right place. This post will show you how you can keep your data safe. Keep reading to learn seven ways to step up your cloud data security.

1. Read Your User Agreements

If you expect a cloud provider to take care of your data, then it pays to know how they intend to do it. User agreements are long, and people don't read them most of the time. Sometimes a service will hide the fine print of certain parts of their service there that may not be the best for your company.

Keep the following in mind when using a cloud service:

  • Who owns the data that you upload on the service?
  • Does the provider scan your data?
  • Who has access to your data in the company?
  • Are there any activity logs kept of your actions?
  • Are proper backups of your data kept?
  • Where is your data stored?
  • Does your provider follow government regulations that you have to follow?

Don't just skim through your terms because it could contain text that makes the provider a poor choice for your cloud service. While you can save money with some services, make sure that they offer everything you need.

2. Don't Skimp on Your Passwords

Do you use passwords that are easy for you to remember? A lot of people do. They use children, parents, dates, and pets that are important to them.

The problem is attackers can learn this information about you. Making your password easier for you to remember also makes it easy to guess. Make sure you and your company implement a password policy to enforce strong passwords and prohibits the use of old passwords.

Make sure your password is at least eight characters and doesn't contain any common words or phrases. It is smart to include at least one lower case character, capital letter, number, and a special character in your password. The more complicated it is, the harder it will be to guess. 

If you have a hard time remembering random passwords, try to come up with a random phrase that people don't regularly use.

Some companies also make use of cloud password managers to secure company passwords. These managers will create and store passwords for your online accounts, so you don't have to remember them.

You can also grant access to websites to your employees without revealing the actual passwords. The fewer people who know, the better.

3. Avoid Storing Sensitive Information

The cloud is convenient, but it isn't the answer to everything. If you have something that is very sensitive and doesn't need to be frequently accessed then don't put it on the cloud.

The cloud works well when you have constant access and sharing options for your files. But, not everyone needs to have access to everything.

If you do have data that you keep on-site, you still need to make sure that you are running proper backups in case of data failure.

4. Use a Service That Offers Encryption

A common concern for companies hosting files with the cloud is external access to their data. Some providers have policies that don't allow employees to access files without permission, but others might not say anything about it.

When a service offers encryption of your files on their servers, that means that there will be no unauthorized access to your data. Encryption and decryption happen during the upload and download process.

While this can add time to the transfer process, it is worth it for the added security.

5. Encrypt Everything

If you are unable to find a service that offers encryption, then another option is to encrypt your data locally before putting it on the cloud.

There are third-party tools that offer this function for you and will require a password to decrypt the file. This encryption will help you make sure nobody can access your data when they don't have the password to do it.

Even if your cloud provider offers encryption, it still won't hurt to add an extra layer yourself for that additional protection.

6. Lock Down Your Local Machines

You're only as strong as the weakest link. This applies to security as well.

Your data on the cloud doesn't give you a free pass for weak security on your physical workstations. If an unauthorized person has access to a computer, they can still access your cloud data if you stay logged into the websites.

Also, make sure that you take your anti-virus and malware protection seriously. A compromised system can steal your account usernames and passwords to find your data.

7. Use Two-Factor Authentication

Using the right password can only get you so far. People can get careless and have their passwords exposed.

To combat this, you can make use of two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication works by adding an extra step to your login process. The website gives you a code that you need to enter after it confirms your password.

More traditional methods involve sending a text message or email with the code. You also have authenticator and hardware authentication available to use.

An authenticator application is an application for your phone that will hold codes for your website accounts. When you sign into a website, your authenticator will provide you a random code that changes regularly to put into the website.

For hardware authentication, you usually have a USB device that plugs into your computer. When the website detects this device, it confirms your identity and allows you to log in.

Don't Take Cloud Data Security Lightly

As more people come online the internet keeps getting more dangerous. It's vital that you protect your business interests and your customer's data from any unauthorized access.

If you are looking for help with your cloud data security, then let us know. Contact us to schedule an appointment!