Five tips for staying safe in the cloud

With more and more businesses migrating their IT infrastructure and data to “the cloud”, we are all quite familiar with the term. In case you are still getting to grips with what the cloud actually is; in summary, it’s a remote network that is hosted on the Internet. Within this virtual network, you can manage files, store data and work on projects. It essentially becomes an online home for your files rather than storing them on your laptop or computer, or a local server.

The cloud is an extremely easy-to-use data storage solution for businesses, and it does of course offer a number of benefits. However, like with anything technology-reliant, the benefits come with drawbacks! In this case, those drawbacks lie with lack of ownership and control and therefore security. The very nature of the cloud – the fact that it is located on the Internet – makes it susceptible to cyber-crimes such as data hacks.

Luckily, many cloud service providers (CSPs) have introduced new security technologies to help prevent attacks, but as the user of these platforms, it is important that you and your employees take responsibility to ensure your data is secure. We’ve compiled some top tips on how you can make this happen…

  1. Create a cloud policy

If your business uses the cloud, we would recommend creating a cloud security policy for every employee to learn and adhere to. Your employees, for example, should understand the various relevant cybersecurity practices that are required in order to keep your data safe. This policy should be updated regularly to keep ahead of the increasing breed of sophisticated hackers.

  • Change passwords regularly

A password that is not strong enough can be extremely easy for a hacker to crack. There are many programs available for cybercriminals that can help them “guess” your password. To stay safe in the cloud we highly recommend creating strong passwords (ones which would not be easy for a hacker to guess), and also regularly changing these passwords, at least once every three months. For help with creating a strong password, look into using a password manager – it’s a great tool to help ensure it is unique and secure.

  • Enable two-step verification

Two-step or two-factor authentication (also known as 2FA or multi-factor authentication) requires your business to confirm ownership of two separate variables — your password and something else, such as a unique code — to complete sensitive actions on your account. Because the codes are different for every single request, two-step authentication makes it more difficult for accounts to be hacked. You can opt to enable two-factor authentication in the settings or security sections of most online services, like Gmail or Apple.

  • Beware of phishing attacks

Phishing attacks are one of the most common security challenges that companies face in keeping their information secure. Whether it is to access to passwords, credit card details or other sensitive information, hackers use email, social media platforms, phone calls and any form of communication they can to steal valuable data. It goes without saying that for hackers, businesses are a particularly worthwhile target, so it’s vital that you have the right tools in place to eliminate risk.

Educating your employees about the tactics of phishers is the first step in this, and here are just a few ways you can do this. Inform them to be wary of emails with attachments from people they don’t know, let them know that no legitimate website would ask for their password via email and encourage them to keep all systems updated with the latest security updates.

  • Use data encryption

Encryption has been classified as one of the best ways to protect your data against malicious use. Any data being sent to and from your cloud storage and being kept there should be appropriately protected with a strong encryption key. This encryption ensures that if anyone did illegally access the files, they simply could not make sense of them. An easy and readily available way of encrypting data is by compressing and storing it in zip files, which are then password-protected. Alternatively, you can use strong, recommended encryption techniques that are hacking-proof.

Whether you’re yet to make the move to the cloud or you’re there and are looking for advice, we’ve got a team of experts who are here to help! With our range of IT solutions, we’ll ensure your business isn’t at risk, increase productivity and meet compliance standards. Get in touch today!