5 Tips for Keeping Your Data Secure in the Cloud

December 25, 2015

3:00 pm

For business owners, the thought of sensitive customer information or corporate data being exploited is horrifying. Worse, we’ve all seen it happen. Celebrities, corporations, and individuals have all had sensitive data stolen from the cloud and used for purposes of identity theft, fraud, humiliation, extortion, and more.

It might be tempting, because of the threat of data loss, to avoid using the cloud altogether, but that simply is not realistic. The cloud is easy to access, convenient, and a better economic choice than buying more physical storage when your needs increase. Fortunately, there a few things that you can do to keep your data secure in the cloud.

1. Consider Using the Cloud for Data That Is Not Confidential

Before deciding which files to store on the cloud, know that there is no foolproof way to keep that data totally safe from intruders. Because of this, you may wish to use cloud storage only for files that you access frequently and that do not contain confidential data. This includes the following:

  • Data that must be secured for reasons of regulatory compliance
  • Passwords
  • Customer, client, employee, or patient identifying information
  • Financially identifying information
  • Corporate secrets
  • Legal documents

Chance are, you have enough documents appropriate for cloud storage to make it worthwhile, but you will still be able to keep sensitive data on secure servers.

2. Make Sure That Data Stored in the Cloud Has Been Encrypted

If somebody does access files you store on the cloud, don’t make it easier for them to get to the data by failing to encrypt. You have two options here.

You can use a storage service that will encrypt the data, or you can encrypt the data yourself. In either case, you should seek the advice of a respected data security consultant, so you know your data will be truly secure.

3. Create a Backup Schedule

If you are going to store data on the cloud for convenience, you may want to use MSSQL backup program to insure that your data is also backed up and saved on a regular basis. In fact, this should be part of your disaster recovery plans.

4. Set a Strong Company Policy About Appropriate Cloud Storage and Access’

One of the undeniable benefits of cloud storage is that you and your employees can access documents and work on them from nearly anywhere. Unfortunately, that is also one of the primary reasons that storing data on the cloud is so risky. You may want to set a policy that addresses the following:

  • Who can upload to and access files from the cloud
  • Where and when employees can access cloud data
  • Procedures for reporting possible security breaches
  • A system for tracking access and changes

At the very least, employees should be instructed to avoid using public computers to access the cloud.

5. Use Common Sense When It Comes to Access Control

Before users are allowed to access the cloud, they should be forced to enter a strong password or password phrase. In addition to this, multi-factor authentication should also be in place in the event that an unfamiliar device is used or somebody tries to access data from a remote location that isn’t in the normal access range. A good rule of thumb is that it should be more challenging to access your cloud storage than it is to access your social media account.

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Dianna is a former ESL teacher and World Teach volunteer, currently living in France. She's slightly addicted to apps and viral media trends and helps different companies with product localization and content strategies. You can tweet her at @dilabrien

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