Cloud Security: What You Need to Know

If you’re considering moving your business to the cloud, or you have already but haven’t been informed of the potential security threats, you’ve come to the right place.

Storing your data on the cloud has many benefits, including redundant backup systems and affordability. Like anything that involves the internet, though, it’s not immune to cyber attacks. Here are some of the top threats and how you can avoid them.

Data breaches

If you want to get an idea of how many data breaches there are, check out this visualization from Information is Beautiful. You may have heard of the Anthem data breach in March, 2016, where hackers gained access to 80 million Americans’ private health information.

Data breaches can cost companies millions of dollars. How does this happen? If your company holds any kind of sensitive information, it’s important to have multifactor authentication and encryption set up. Don’t skimp on security services and make sure there is someone or a team maintaining your security system.

A note on passwords. It’s important that your entire team use very strong passwords, that they change every few months, and that the passwords include a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. To further protect your data, you can use one-time password, smartcard, and authentication systems.

Account Hijacking

If someone gets a hold of your account information, they can wreak havoc on your data and systems. Again, don’t underestimate the importance of multifactor authentication, password updates, and regular maintenance.

Hackers can find their way in through phishing (programs you accidentally download), malware, and software exploitation. Here are some tips to avoid this:

  • Don’t share passwords or other account information over email. Use a program like Lastpass or do it in person.
  • If you receive an email with passwords or account information, delete them permanently. Absolutely do not put them in a folder or file labelled “Passwords”. You’d be surprised how many people do this. This makes it way too easy for hackers to find confidential info.
  • Ensure security settings are set on all network computers so staff can’t accidentally download malicious software. You may hear protests, because people will need to ask for permission before they download something, but the alternative is the possibility that they unknowingly download something that takes your whole system down.
  • Train your team on IT. For example, make sure they understand the importance of being diligent with data maintenance, responsible downloading, and not connecting outside software or devices without having them reviewed first.

Data Loss

Sometimes it does happen, though the very setup of cloud services help to protect against losing all of your data. Inquire with your cloud provider where all of their services are and what kinds of protections they have in place to prevent complete loss of data.

Since you’ll often share server space with other companies, it’s possible that attacks on them or the cloud service provider itself can affect you. Make sure your IT team regularly maintains and reviews your systems.

Don’t be deterred from using cloud data storage. It has many benefits. Like any system upgrade, you need to have the IT budget in place to make sure everything continues running smoothly. You should also have accountability reporting and policies and procedures in case your data becomes compromised.

Thinking about moving to the cloud? Let me help you with that. I can help you set up and migrate your systems, and ensure that your new systems are secure.