Cloud storage – how to keep your data safe and secure

by Marius Marinescu / 24 August

The demand for cloud-based solutions is increasing all around the world and data is moving to the cloud at a record pace. This includes everything, from secure data storage to entire business processes.

Cloud-based internet security is an outsourced solution for storing data. Instead of saving data onto local hard drives, users store it on Internet-connected servers. Data Centers manage these servers to keep the data safe and secure to access.

Enterprises turn to cloud storage solutions to solve a variety of problems: small businesses use the cloud to cut costs, while IT specialists see it as the best way to store sensitive data. Any time you access files stored remotely, you are accessing a cloud.

Email is a prime example. Most email users don’t bother saving emails to their devices because those devices are connected to the Internet.


There are three types of cloud solutions and each of these offers a unique combination of advantages and drawbacks:


Public Cloud: These services offer accessibility and security. This security is best suited for unstructured data, like files in folders. Most users don’t get a great deal of customized attention from public cloud providers. This option is affordable.


Private Cloud: Private cloud hosting services are on-premises solutions. Users assert unlimited control over the system. Private cloud storage is more expensive. This is because the owner manages and maintains the physical hardware.


Hybrid Cloud: Many companies choose to keep high-volume files on the public cloud and sensitive data on a private cloud. This hybrid approach strikes a balance between affordability and customization.


All files stored on secure cloud servers benefit from an enhanced level of security.

The security credential most users are familiar with is the password. Cloud storage security vendors secure data using other means as well.


Some of these include:


Advanced Firewalls: All Firewall types inspect traveling data packets. Simple ones only examine the source and destination data. Advanced ones verify packet content integrity. These programs then map packet contents to known security threats.


Intrusion Detection: Online secure storage can serve many users at the same time. Successful cloud security systems rely on identifying when someone tries to break into the system. Multiple levels of detection ensure cloud vendors can even stop intruders who break past the network’s initial defenses.


Event Logging: Event logs help security analysts understand threats. These logs record network actions. Analysts use this data to build a narrative concerning network events. This helps them predict and prevent security breaches.


Internal Firewalls: Not all accounts should have complete access to data stored in the cloud. Limiting secure cloud access through internal firewalls boosts security. This ensures that even a compromised account cannot gain full access.


Encryption: Encryption keeps data safe from unauthorized users. If an attacker steals an encrypted file, access is denied without finding a secret key. The data is worthless to anyone who does not have the key.


Physical Security: Cloud data centers are highly secure. Certified data centers have 24-hour monitoring, fingerprint locks, and armed guards. These places are more secure than almost all on-site data centers. Different cloud vendors use different approaches for each of these factors. For instance, some cloud storage systems keep user encryption keys from their users. Others give the encryption keys to their users.


Best-in-class cloud infrastructure relies on giving users the ideal balance between access and security. If you trust users with their own keys, users may accidentally give the keys to an unauthorized person.

There are many different ways to structure a cloud security framework. The user must follow security guidelines when using the cloud.

For a security system to be complete, users must adhere to a security awareness training program. Even the most advanced security system cannot compensate for negligent users.

Security breaches are rarely caused by poor cloud data protection. More than 40% of data security breaches occur due to employee error. Improve user security to make cloud storage more secure.

Many factors contribute to user security in the cloud storage system. Many of these focus on employee training:


Authentication: Weak passwords are the most common enterprise security vulnerability. Many employees write their passwords down on paper. This defeats the purpose. Multi-factor authentication can solve this problem.


Awareness: In the modern office, every job is a cybersecurity job. Employees must know why security is so important and be trained in security awareness. Users must know how criminals break into enterprise systems. Users must prepare responses to the most common attack vectors.


Phishing Protection: Phishing scams remain the most common cyber-attack vector. These attacks attempt to compromise user emails and passwords. Then, attackers can move through business systems to obtain access to more sensitive files.


Breach Drills: Simulating data breaches can help employees identify and prevent phishing attacks. Users can also improve response times when real breaches occur. This establishes protocols for handling suspicious activity and gives feedback to users.


• Measurement: The results of data breach drills must influence future performance. Practice only makes perfect if analysts measure the results and find ways to improve upon them. Quantify the results of simulation drills and employee training to maximize the security of cloud storage.


Employee education helps enterprises successfully protect cloud data. Employee users often do not know how cloud computing works. Explain cloud storage security to your employees by answering the following questions:


• Where Is the Cloud Located?


Cloud storage data is located in remote data centers. These can be anywhere on the planet. Cloud vendors often store the same data in multiple places. This is called redundancy.


How is Cloud Storage Different from Local Storage?


Cloud vendors use the Internet to transfer data from a secure data center to employee devices. Cloud storage data is available everywhere.


• How Much Data Can the Cloud Store?


Storage in the cloud is virtually unlimited. Local drive space is limited. Bandwidth – the amount of data a network can transmit per second – is usually the limiting factor. High-Volume, low-bandwidth cloud service will run too slowly for meaningful work.


• Does the Cloud Save Money?


Most companies invest in cloud storage to save money compared to on-site storage. Improved connectivity cuts costs. Cloud services can also save money in disaster recovery situations.


Is the Cloud Secure and Private?


Professional cloud storage comes with state-of-the-art security. Users must follow the vendor’s security guidelines. Negligent use can compromise even the best protection.


• What are the Cloud Storage Security Best Practices?


Cloud storage providers store files redundantly. This means copying files to different physical servers. Cloud vendors place these servers far away from one another. A natural disaster could destroy one data center without affecting another one hundreds of miles away.


Consider a fire is breaking out in an office building. If the structure contains paper files, those files will be the first to burn. If the office’s electronic equipment melts, then the file backups will be gone, too.

However, if the office saves its documents in the cloud, this is not a problem. Copies of every file exist in multiple data centers located throughout the region. The office can move into a building with Internet access and continue working.

Redundancy makes cloud storage security platforms failure-proof. On-site data storage is far riskier. Large cloud vendors use economies of scale to guarantee user data is intact. These vendors measure hard drive failure and compensate for them through redundancy.

Even without redundant files, only a small percentage of cloud vendor hard drives fail. These companies rely on storage for their entire income. They take every precaution to ensure users’ data remains safe.

Cloud vendors invest in new technology. Advances improve security measures in cloud computing, new equipment improves results.

This makes cloud storage an excellent option for securing data against cybercrime. With a properly configured cloud solution in place, even ransomware poses no real threat. You can wipe the affected computers and start fresh. Disaster recovery planning is a critical aspect of cloud storage security.

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