If you run a business or company, data is one of the essential components of your business. Unfortunately, when you store all this data in a computer network, it can slow down your machines, causing poor performance.
That is why most companies and businesses rely on cloud storage solutions for more reliable data storage.
What is cloud storage?
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Cloud storage is a safe, convenient, and reliable data storage space that allows businesses and individuals to store data on remote servers. This data is maintained, managed, and stores remotely, away from your company network or devices.
Famous cloud storage services include Google Drive, Dropbox, and Gmail, media sharing services such as Instagram, Flickr, and YouTube. Other services that use cloud storage services include online streaming services and, soon enough, gaming.
While cloud storage offers numerous benefits like the ability to store a lot of data without using up space in a device and the ability to retrieve the data at any time, it is not without safety concerns. Hacking attempts and cases are common with cloud storage, making it essential to protect your data even on the cloud.
What are the common security threats with cloud storage?
Misconfiguring cloud storage security settings is a leading case of data breaches on the cloud. Unfortunately, most companies are affected by this security threat because they use inadequate cloud security posture management methods to protect their cloud infrastructure.
Cloud infrastructure is built to make it easy to use and enables easy sharing of data. However, this makes it difficult for cloud users to ensure that the data is only available to authorized users. Also, using cloud-based infrastructure does not give you total control and visibility over the infrastructure, making it essential to use additional security controls offered by the cloud storage service.
Since more cloud service users use multiple cloud deployments by different vendors with different security controls and are unfamiliar with cloud infrastructure security, it creates room for misconfiguration and oversight regarding security, leaving the company’s cloud resource vulnerable to attacks.
The thing that makes cloud-based storage ideal for most organizations is that it offers data storage away from the company network. This way, organizations can ensure data safety even when the local network collapses or is compromised.
However, since data stored in the cloud is outside the secured company network parameters, it can be accessed over the public internet if it is not protected with the proper security measures. This makes unauthorized access one of the most common security threats for cloud storage services.
Unauthorized access is caused by security protocols that are not properly configured and compromised user credentials through social engineering attacks or computer hacks. Any of these vulnerabilities can be used by hackers to gain direct access without the organization’s knowledge.
Data breaches are the number one security threat facing cloud service users. When a data breach occurs, a company can suffer significant financial and reputational damage, potentially resulting in loss of intellectual property that comes with hefty legal liabilities.
Most data breaches are caused by employees who fail to practice safe internet hygiene.
Phishing attacks have become more rampant and targeted, giving hackers access to highly private data. Apart from phishing, hackers can also gain access to credentials by compromising a cloud service, making account hijacking a severe threat to cloud storage.
Once an account is hijacked, an attacker gets to access a cloud server using an authorized account. This can cause severe disruption in the company’s regular operations, including destruction and theft of critical data. Hackers can also use their access to halt services and even for financial fraud.
How users can secure data on the cloud
Secure access devices
Cloud storage safety starts with securing the devices that have access to the service. Whether you access the cloud using your mobile devices or a desktop, you need to secure the device to make it harder for hackers to access cloud storage access credentials.
Always use strong passwords for different accounts and your computer user login. It also helps log out of your computer when you step away from your desk and ensure it is protected using an updated antivirus program.
Data encryption is one of the most effective ways of protecting data stored in a company network or cloud. With encryption, you can also ensure that all data transfer processes are secured and inaccessible to hackers or online spying bots.
When choosing a cloud storage service, go for one that offers data encryption as part of the data storage service. This will ensure the data saved in the cloud is not legible to third parties, even when the cloud service is compromised.
A VPN is also an important tool to use in your local network. Downloading a VPN will ensure safe access to your cloud service, including encrypting data sent from your company network to the cloud or data downloaded from the cloud.
A large number of data breaches occur through employees with access to cloud storage services.
Limiting access to cloud storage includes the use of strict access policies and authentication and ID verification programs. When limiting access, you only need to ensure that employees have as much access as they need to do their job and not more.
Conduct regular audits of your access authorization levels and get rid of any unnecessary access or lower the level of employees where needed. This helps ensure your access is limited to employees working in the company based on their required access level.
Backup your data
The best way to guarantee the safety of your data even when using a cloud storage service is to ensure you have an additional backup. Design and implement a reliable backup system for your network, and consider using a cloud storage service that offers a backup service to boot.
The best backup protocol involves backing up data in multiple locations and systems. This avoids total loss of data and crippling company processes if the local network is hacked or crashes and if the cloud server is hacked or malfunctions.
Update and verify configuration settings
Speaking to your cloud storage service provider is one way of ensuring that the cloud service is well configured. You can seek legal assurance from the vendor on this guarantee to ensure they set it up correctly to avoid legal implications.
Take time to understand the cloud storage system and any other systems used with the cloud system to understand the most common security vulnerability points. This helps to mitigate the risk using suitable security measures.
There is no better time to reassess your cloud storage security than now. This is a required step for any business or individual relying on the cloud for service and data storage.