How to secure your company’s cloud-based data

How to secure your company’s cloud-based data

In light of the COVID-19 crisis, several small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) were forced to rely on cloud services to support remote work. They began storing more and more company data in the cloud — and they are likely to continue to do so long after the pandemic is over. This is evidenced by the increasing number of businesses planning to adopt long-term or permanent work from home arrangements.

While storing your company data in the cloud has several benefits, it also poses plenty of cybersecurity risks. This is why it’s crucial for SMBs to beef up their cloud security.

In this blog, we’ll discuss six ways you can protect your company’s cloud-based data.

1. Ensure your cloud service provider has stringent security measures

Cloud security is a combined effort between you and your chosen cloud service provider (CSP), so you must be careful in selecting one. Reliable providers utilize multiple layers of security such as:

  • Firewall – Blocks or allows incoming traffic based on a specific set of rules
  • Event logging – Records “events” that happen on your platform (e.g., log-ins, failed password attempts, etc.) to help IT analysts assess threats and potential vulnerabilities
  • Intrusion detection – Monitors network traffic for suspicious activity such as unauthorized data access
  • Encryption – Makes plain-text information indecipherable to anyone who does not have the tool to decrypt it
  • Redundancy – Maintains multiple copies of your data so you’ll always have access to it should any disaster (e.g., hardware failure, power outage, etc.) strike

Reviewing your potential CSP’s security measures will help you determine if they can effectively safeguard your company’s data.

2. Encrypt your cloud-based data

Even if your CSP already uses encryption, you can boost data security on your end by encrypting your files before uploading these to the cloud. There are third-party encryption tools that allow you to do this easily. Comprehensive encryption at the file level provides a good foundation for cloud security.

3. Adopt password best practices

A strong password used to consist of a string of characters that has at least one or more of each of the following: capital letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special symbols. However, since it is taxing to both come up with such passwords and also to recall these, the National Institute of Standards and Technology now recommends using unique passphrases for better user compliance.

A passphrase is a string of random, common words that forms a nonsensical phrase. Its wacky construction makes it easy to remember for the user, but very difficult to guess for everybody else. The key here is to use random words. But don’t come up with it yourself! Humans tend to use patterns or phrases that have meaning. Instead, use the Diceware methodology to create a secure passphrase.

Regardless of whether you use a password or a passphrase, never use it for multiple accounts and devices. This way, if it gets exposed in a data breach, hackers won’t be able to access your other accounts or devices.

But of course, it’s difficult to manage several unique login credentials. Resist the temptation to write them down on a piece of paper because it can easily be lost, stolen, or damaged. Instead, use a password manager to help you remember all of your passwords. By doing so, you only need to memorize one master password to access all of your login credentials.

4. Implement multifactor authentication (MFA)

You can further enhance your company’s cloud security by enforcing MFA. In fact, Microsoft’s internal data reveals that MFA blocks 99.9% of automated attacks on accounts.

MFA only lets users access their accounts after providing two or more methods to verify their identity. That is, after users enter their primary login credentials, they may also be asked for a fingerprint scan, mobile key, or an answer to a security question.

5. Secure all devices accessing company data

All devices that use your company’s cloud-based resources must be protected with advanced endpoint security, which includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Anti-malware software – scans, identifies, prevents, and eliminates malicious software (e.g., Trojans, viruses, worms, etc.)
  • Mobile device management – monitors, manages, and secures mobile devices using key features such as device inventory, app distribution, remote wipe, data encryption, and password enforcement
  • Identity and access management – sets proper levels of authorization so that users can only access company resources necessary for them to do their job

6. Conduct regular cybersecurity training for all employees

People are cybersecurity’s weakest link. They can easily fall for phishing scams that may lead them to give away their login credentials, expose sensitive company data, or even wire money to hackers. This is why it’s imperative that all employees undergo regular cybersecurity training.

Need guidance in rolling out these cloud-based data protection tips? The IT experts of Athens Micro are here to help. Book a FREE consultation today!

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