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8 Ways to Secure Data on the Cloud

lock symbolizing safe data storage in a virtualized cloud

Looking to secure data on the cloud? One of the primary advantages of cloud hosting is security. Cloud applications are designed so that vulnerabilities can be immediately patched rather than having to wait for users to install updates. But with recent data breaches at large cloud providers, how safe is the cloud?

When you choose a cloud provider your number one question should be, how are they going to keep my information safe? While cloud providers can assure you that security is their top concern, you can take some steps to ensure your information doesn’t fall victim to security breaches and hackers.

Making a few simple changes could have a significant positive outcome and keep your files safe in the cloud.

We put together a list of 8 steps you can take to secure your data in the cloud.

What is the Cloud?

The cloud is an application that is hosted or runs using internet servers rather than being hosted on a local computer. Most of the big companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Yahoo, and many others have server farms where they store your data. This is considered a cloud application as the data is hosted remotely.

One of the most significant advantages of the cloud is that your data is stored in a secure data center and not on your local device. This means that cloud data is accessible from any internet connected computer in the world.  Using cloud storage applications such as Dropbox, Google Drive, or SugarSync means that if your computer ever crashes, then your data remains safe.

Even though the cloud sounds like the perfect solution, there are always security risks. Hackers are waiting to gain access to your sensitive data, so you need to remain vigilant, even while using the cloud.

1. Choose a Strong Password

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Utilizing a strong password is the most critical factor for keeping your data in the cloud secure. All too often people use their birthdays, names of pets, or events easy to figure out.

The best password is one that not even you know. Through the use of a password manager such as Lastpass or 1password, you can select a long and complicated password that would take years to brute-force. A password manager also ensures that each site you visit has a unique password, so if one site is compromised, the intruder will not gain access to other websites you use.

2. Enable Two Factor Authentication

Most cloud applications support the use of two factor authentication during login. This adds an additional authentication layer to further enhance the security of your account.

During login, you will be sent an SMS or authenticator app code to enter in order to complete the sign-in. As long as an intruder does not have access to your 2FA device, your account remains secure.

3. Encrypt Sensitive Data

When sensitive information is being stored in the cloud, you might consider encrypting it prior to uploading it. You can use an encryption utility on your local device so that even if the data was compromised on the cloud, the intruder would not have the key to reveal the true contents of the files.

4. Keep Sensitive Information Off the Cloud

Even with the best security in place, it’s always possible for the information in your cloud to be at risk. This is why if you need to store sensitive information, you might want to consider keeping it off the cloud.

There’s nothing wrong with storing this sensitive information locally and many businesses choose to keep sensitive information completely inaccessible to remote networks. This is a good choice for extremely sensitive information.

5. Limit Account Access

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Businesses often need to provide access for their cloud servers to remote employees and contractors in order for them to assist with tasks like website design and development. However, it is important to properly limit access to these users and revoke access when it is no longer needed.

One of the worst mistakes a business can make it giving everyone access to the same admin account. Make sure you create separate users for each staff member and only provide them with access to as few permissions as needed to do their job. That way, you can quickly revoke their access once the job is done.

6. Connect Securely

Your cloud is only as strong as the weakest link. When you connect to a cloud server through an unknown network like a coffee shop or airport, you have no idea what you are exposing your server to.

Make sure you only connect to your servers from trusted and secure networks. This will protect your server from unnecessary risk.

7. Use Anti-Virus & Anti-Malware

One of the easiest ways to gain access to a cloud account is through viruses or malware on your local device. This software can capture the login credentials for your server and this gives the intruder complete control of your cloud.

Purchasing and maintaining an effective anti-virus application on your local device will not only keep your device secure, but will also protect your cloud.

8. Always Have Backups

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The cloud might be the place where you store your information, but it also needs to be backed up. Your files contain sensitive information and sometimes even the most secure clouds can fail.

Just because the cloud makes it easier for you to access information remotely, doesn’t mean you can’t use external physical devices to ensure all of your data is safe.

Let us Help You

After learning a few different ways to increase your cloud data security, we know you’ll ask the right questions from your cloud provider.

Although the purpose of the cloud is to be accessible, simple, and secure, it’s not always simple to predict security breaches. We want to make sure you find the right cloud server for your business and personal needs. Our number one priority is your privacy and protection.

Visit us to learn more about our cloud packages and find the one that works for you and your business.