In an economic landscape characterised by the popularity of remote working and the ever-expanding digital economy, companies across all sectors are recognising the value of cloud services. And it’s not hard to see why – the cloud offers numerous organisational benefits, from cost savings to scalability and agility.
But as companies rely more on cloud data managed services to connect with and collect information about their customers, watertight data safety and security have never been more crucial. After all, the UK government’s most recent Cybersecurity Breaches Survey found that 39% of companies identified a cyber-attack in 2022, and data security threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated and difficult to avoid.
The potential consequences of a cloud data breach should not be underestimated. Not only could a breach cause immediate operational damage, but it could also incur significant costs and inflict long-term reputational harm. Customers are also at risk of losing their data privacy, and therefore their trust in your company. From all sides, if you’re using the cloud, you need to have strong security protocols in place.
Here, we look at six ways to keep your cloud data storage under lock and key.
1. Minimise sensitive cloud data
The more data you need to protect, the more difficult cloud data security becomes. One solution is to streamline the data you store. As Joseph Feiman, Chief Strategy Officer at Avocado Systems, writes in Forbes: “The best way to protect sensitive data is not to have sensitive data.”
In practice, this means clarifying which data is key to your business. This will help you identify data you do not need and allow you to focus your cybersecurity efforts on collecting and protecting the information that is most valuable to you.
2. Utilise cloud data encryption
Once you’ve narrowed down which data you need to protect, encryption is an extremely effective tool to keep it safe. Encryption involves converting information into a code using an algorithm, which is then decoded when it reaches the intended recipient. Most websites use it to take information such as payment details.
But not all companies encrypt sensitive data when they transfer it to the cloud. The Ponemon Institute’s 2022 Global Encryption Trends Study found that 55% of respondents send sensitive company data to the cloud regardless of whether or not it is encrypted.
One way to boost your cloud data security is to implement an enterprise-wide encryption strategy.
3. Use multi-factor authentication (MFA)
You’re likely to have some experience with multi-factor authentication or two-step verification in your day-to-day life. Most smartphones have incorporated biometric innovations such as the use of fingerprints and facial recognition, to reinforce the not-so-trusty PIN. And to access certain online accounts, you may be asked to input a code sent to your email address or phone.
MFA is a way of confirming who you are, beyond passwords or PINs which are vulnerable to hacking. Applying this level of security to your cloud storage is an effective way to ramp up its defences. Microsoft says there are more than 300 million fraudulent sign-in attempts to its cloud services every day, and MFA helps to prevent 99.9% of them.
4. Shield apps from mobile threats
Whether you’re an employee doing some quick admin on the way to work, or a consumer interacting with an online shopping app, tablets and smartphones have become a key gateway into our online lives. But that opens up another channel for hackers to exploit.
If the security of your phone is compromised, the data stored in your company’s apps and accounts is vulnerable, too. To prevent these attacks, you should integrate MFA and mobile shielding into your company software. Mobile shielding tech detects malware and protects your apps, even when they are being used on infected devices.
This level of security opens up new revenue possibilities, not only by giving businesses the confidence to include a greater range of services in their apps but also by gaining the trust of customers that use them. What’s more, a recent Forbes article written by Will LaSala, Senior Director of Security Solutions at OneSpan, claimed that stronger mobile application security is the key to revenue growth.
5. Provide mandatory security training
Implementing cybersecurity tech into your business is critically important. However, (as with digital transformations of all kinds), the key to the success of any technology is the people using it. This is emphasised by an IBM survey that found that 95% of data breaches are down to human error. In addition to providing clear guidelines on how to work securely on a day-to-day basis, wherever your team is and whatever devices they're using, you should also provide guidance on the warning signs and scams to look out for. The best way to do this is with company-wide training from a certified cloud security professional or digital agency.
Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) should make sure their team understands how to respond in a crisis, such as when a data breach has already taken place. For example, a crisis response might involve running “breach and attack” simulations to test and improve team responses.
6. Select the right cloud security service provider
There are three main cloud service providers: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google. They all have their pros and cons – we’ve taken a look at the biggest provider, AWS, in this blog.
Choosing which service provider to use is a big decision, so it’s worth taking your time to consider the options carefully.
As cloud products weave themselves into every aspect of our lives, cybersecurity threats continue to evolve and multiply. A proactive approach to cloud data security will help you stay ahead of data breaches and provide both new and existing customers with the reassurance they need to use your services.
Implementing cloud data protection in your organisation can be complex and daunting, but the consequences of a data breach are significant and long-lasting.
As experts in cloud security solutions and cloud data managed services, we can support you as you navigate your way through the process. Whether you need support selecting a cloud service provider, enhancing your current service or implementing new solutions, please book a discovery call to find out how we can help.