Billions of people around the world use the cloud every day for work and for personal reasons. It’s no wonder keeping the information we store on the cloud secure is a top priority.
Keeping the cloud secure is an ongoing process that should involve everyone in your organization, not just IT personnel. It’s important to develop policies and procedures and employ technologies to protect your information and cloud-based applications. Here, we share 6 cloud security tips to help you keep your cloud, and thus your data, secure.
1. Train Employees
Employees interact with the cloud daily, so it’s important that they are well-trained so they don’t inadvertently let in threats. Make sure you don’t leave anybody out when training employees; educate everybody from the top down. Never assume that a lower-level employee doesn’t need training; anybody who has access to email or the cloud in some way should be trained and educated regularly.
Be sure that employees know how to recognize threats and what to do if they think they have fallen victim to hacking or a scam. One way you can do this is by regularly sending fake phishing emails to keep employees on their toes. This can also help you see where they need more education and training.
Additionally, plan regular training, either in person or online so that employees always stay fresh on their knowledge of cloud security.
2. Use Multi-factor Authentication
Many of your employees have probably noticed that multi-factor authentication is becoming more popular and in some circles is now the standard. Today, usernames and passwords alone aren’t enough. Even strong passwords (which, of course, you should require employees to use) can be hacked rather quickly. This is scary because if even one employee’s account gets hacked, the hacker potentially has access to a large amount of data just from that one account.
Multi-factor authentication ensures the person attempting to gain access is who they are supposed to be. It requires the person to enter a code they receive via another means, such as a text message or a phone call. Some companies have allowed users to decide if they want to use multi-factor authentication or not. However, it’s ideal to require all employees to use multi-factor authentication regardless of their preference.
3. Back Up Your Data
This is one of the cloud security tips that doesn’t necessarily prevent a security breach, but it does prevent you from losing everything in the event of a breach. The cloud is great, and it’s popular for very good reasons, but it’s not foolproof. Unfortunately, companies sometimes lose all of their data during a cyberattack. This can be devastating if you don’t have a plan.
Make sure you back up all of your data regularly in the event there is a breach, and don’t store everything in the same place. If you do face a hack, this will help you get back up and running much more quickly than you would be able to if your data weren’t backed up. You can back up your data locally or on a second cloud.
4. Monitor Access and Activity
Monitoring access and activity helps you keep your data close. It’s important to determine who needs access to what and to restrict that access so that employees don’t have access to unnecessary data. Only give employees access to what they need to do their job, no more. The less information people have access to, the less likely there will be a breach in security. You can create tiers of access and assign employees to tiers, or you can individualize access for each person. If an individual account were to get hacked, the hacker wouldn’t have access to all of your data.
Monitoring activity is incredibly important as well because it helps you see if anything seems suspicious. Any suspicious activity can be investigated immediately, which can help you catch a breach or hack sooner rather than later. This is easy to do with automated monitoring software.
You can even temporarily revoke access while you’re actively monitoring suspicious activity and then grant access again if everything checks out OK.
Don’t forget about access management when it comes to offboarding employees as well. Make sure all access is revoked as soon as an employee leaves. Sometimes, this can get pushed to the back burner because it doesn’t seem like a top priority, but it’s not something that should be put off. Be sure to revoke access to all logins, apps, and devices.
5. Encrypt Your Data
Encrypting your data in the cloud is essential. It makes it more difficult for hackers to get any of your information. For the best security, encrypt your data before it gets to the cloud. When your data is encrypted, it’s unreadable without a deciphering key.
Additionally, store your encryption and deciphering keys separately and out of the cloud for extra safety. That way, even if the data is stolen, it will remain encrypted and nobody will be able to decipher it.
6. Test the Strength of Your Security
Just as a sports team doesn’t know how good they really are until game day, you don’t know how good your security really is until it faces an attack. For this reason, it’s beneficial to simulate a cyberattack. You can do this regularly — as often as you feel your cloud security needs a check-up.
This test attack can show you where your weaknesses are in your security and where you need to improve. Before your attack, make a plan and list every part of the cloud that you want to test. You should also make sure your cloud provider is on the same page so they don’t think your data is actually at risk. Once your test is over, be sure to go back and fix every vulnerability the test revealed.