Cloud adoption continues to rise. With the massive amounts of sensitive data being stored in the cloud, it's imperative to choose your cloud service provider carefully and follow best practices.
Every day an increasing number of businesses are migrating to the cloud, meaning that they’re moving their critical IT infrastructure, data, application, and business operations from their local, on-premises data centers to hosted cloud services.
According to Cisco, cloud data centers will process 94% of workloads in 2021, which illustrates how this technology will shape the future of the entire web.
Being the key enabler of digital transformation, the cloud is high on the list of priorities for every startup, but at the same time, many business owners worry whether their sensitive data and infrastructure are safe in the cloud.
That’s one of the main roadblocks to cloud adoption.
Here’s more about how secure your data is in the cloud and what you can do about it.
A huge amount of high-value data, including health records, election data, trade secrets, intellectual property and credit card information, is already stored in the cloud. It’s clear that the stakes are high, which is why maintaining the integrity of the cloud is of critical importance. Simultaneously, that’s exactly why cybercriminals see the cloud as a very attractive and lucrative target.
Cloud service providers (CSPs) invest a lot of money into robust security measures in order to protect their users’ sensitive data. For example, in the wake of several hyperjack attacks, back in 2018, Google decided to launch Shielded VMs, a security feature that protects virtual machines from rootkits and bootkits. In other words, this technology makes sure that virtual machines aren’t tampered with on boot.
The tech giant recently introduced a new, even more sophisticated product aimed at fortifying its cloud security – Confidential VM. This technology basically encrypts data while it’s being processed.
However, as a user, you need to be aware that there’s accountability on your part, too, meaning that you can’t only rely on your cloud service provider to protect you from cyber attacks and data theft. You need to follow best practices and take responsibility in protecting your data in the cloud as well. Whoever has access to your cloud storage, backups, and other services needs to be trained and cyber aware as well.
Picking the best and most reliable cloud service provider is something that you shouldn’t take lightly.
As this market has been growing exponentially, it can be tricky to choose a reliable partner that will protect your critical infrastructure and sensitive data from malicious attacks.
The first thing you should pay attention to is whether a cloud service provider has strict information security policies in place. Different certifications, such as ISO 27001, ensure all the necessary information security management measures and practices are in place.
Opt for the one that offers anti-virus detection, firewalls, regular security audits, data encryption, and multifactor authentication.
It’s also a good idea to check your potential CSPs track record when it comes to known security breaches, as well as how the company handled these incidents.
Another very important factor for choosing a trusted CSP is the location and security of data centers used for keeping your data. Make sure that you’re not dealing with a company that keeps servers in a building with no physical security measures. It’s essential to make sure that your data will be safe from offline threats, such as thieves who could break into the server room, too.
Given that data centers operate in high-risk environments, meaning that electricity and power issues can pose a significant threat to the safety of your data, you should also find out whether the CSP you choose conducts electricity quality checks on a regular basis.
Finally, ensuring that your cloud solutions provider has a viable plan and procedures for protecting its servers from natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, fires, and storms should be on your priority list too.
Even if your cloud service provider takes all the necessary security measures to protect your data, it’s all in vain if you don’t do the same.
Here are some of the biggest mistakes that can severely compromise the security of your data in the cloud:
80% of attacks are related to weak passwords, which means that users are responsible for them, at least to a certain degree. In order to safeguard your sensitive data and ward off potential cybercriminals, it’s essential to create strong and unique passwords. Never use fewer than eight characters and avoid using logical information such as your name, date of birth, or company name.
Since it’s best to come up with completely random combinations of both capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters that are hard to memorize, it’s best to implement a password manager that will store all your passwords. Changing your passwords regularly and not using the same one for different accounts can provide an additional layer of protection.
Although all reliable CSPs use encryption, don’t rely solely on them. To eliminate any threat to the security of your data, it’s recommended that you resort to encryption at the file level before uploading it to the cloud. This way, you won’t have to worry even if a cyber attack takes place.
While the cloud is a safe option for keeping your data, you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket. Data loss is a real threat, and it’s an even bigger cause of concern than cyber attacks.
For example, in 2014, Dropbox had a sync glitch that caused a number of its subscribers to lose their data. The trouble is that it wasn’t possible to retrieve these lost files. To avoid such a worst-case scenario, it’s a good idea to have a redundancy strategy, that is, using different providers to store your data.
Although the cloud is frequently suggested as a good solution for keeping your sensitive data safe, not all cloud service providers are the same. This means you need to choose the one that will deliver and go to great lengths to protect your data. However, the security of your data in the cloud is your responsibility, too, so use these tips to stay on the safe side.
Michael Deane is a guest author. You can read more of Michael's work at Qeedle.