Data breaches can happen to any company at any time. Earl Enterprises, parent company of food chains Buca di Beppo, Earl of Sandwich, and Planet Hollywood, experienced a 10-month breach of their payment system where the credit card and debit card information of two million users were stolen and sold on the dark web.
Similarly, this July, Capital One was hacked by a lone individual who managed to access 100 million customer accounts and credit card applications. These incidents are costly, cause damage to a business’s reputation, and put the spotlight on the importance of robust cloud security.
Cloud security should never just be left to be handled by your cloud service provider. Yes, you may use systems that should protect your data from vulnerabilities, but you yourself can ensure the security of your data for your peace of mind.
1. Back up your data constantly
Don’t assume that the cloud services you have completely back up all the files you need. Any work or data that can’t be replaced easily — such as financial data, customer data, personal data, spreadsheets, and databases — should have a backup. Avoid including programs and system folders. Save all downloaded applications, too.
Keep a copy of your data on your hard drive, a local backup, and off-site storage. This backup strategy will help you maintain access and control of your data in case anything happens to your company or the cloud. If your hard drive gets stolen or destroyed, you can still access your data from the cloud. If the cloud is temporarily unavailable, your local backup will be the one to keep daily operations going.
Important files should be backed up regularly either manually or automatically. At a minimum, this should be done once a week, but if it is possible to back up once every 24 hours, this would be better.
2. Encrypt your data
Encryption prevents unauthorized access to your data. When data is encrypted, only the sender and receiver can unscramble the information using a key.
Even if cloud storage automatically encrypts data, it is still wise to encrypt your files prior to uploading these. Third-party encryption tools will encrypt passwords and files before you upload them.
3. Know where your data is located
Keep track of your data. Cloud service providers send it off-site to a remote server in a data center. Know where this is physically located and how your data is being managed.
If possible, ask your provider to arrange a tour of the data center facility. Check their compliance protocols, the equipment they use, and the security measures they implement to see if all of these meet your standards.
It is best that you own the storage device where your data is stored. This way, in case you decide to discontinue the services of your cloud provider, you can just ask that the device be returned to you. This will also ensure that the storage device will not be recycled and used for other clients, eliminating the chance that some of your data might be seen by them.
4. Do a security test
The only way to know if your security measures work is to test them. Consider hiring an ethical hacker to do cyberattack and data breach simulations for you.
A cybersecurity attack simulation tests your company’s preparedness to prevent and detect an intrusion. A cybersecurity breach simulation will test the sufficiency and effectiveness of breach response plans. These tests are as important on the cloud as they are off the cloud. Consult your cloud provider about other simulations you can do on your existing system.
If you were able to gain unauthorized access to your own data, then it’s time to go back and review your cloud security measures and improve them.
Even the strongest cloud may still have security holes in it. Take preemptive measures to keep your data on and off the cloud safe. Simplified IT Consulting offers comprehensive cloud services that take cloud security seriously. Learn more by calling us today.