Keeping data secure on cloud storage

The concept of Cloud storage is driving everything from USB drive to e-mail attachments to redundancy. The shifting of digital baggage and high degree of trust onto the Cloud leads to thinking how safe data is on it.

Listed below are security measures to ensure safety of data on the Cloud.

  • Local backup of data: The simplest step is to back up data locally, ensuring that data isn’t lost. One can also keep extra copies on other storage options such as Mozy, SkyDrive, Amazon Cloud and Dropbox.
  • Encryption: Zipping files and encrypting data with passwords is a must. One can use the B1 Free Archiver compression tool, or the harder-to-use TrueCrypt. Companies should also employ Cloud encryption services such as Spideroak and Wuala which ensure local encryption and decryption of data.
  • Password protection: Weak passwords are one of the top reason for data hacks and breaches. Employ good and strong password management services such as LastPass, Dashlane, KeePass and 1Password which remember numerous passwords for multiple websites. Companies should also check with their Cloud providers for security with strong sign-in products such as Okta and Centrify, as well as have a network monitoring system in place.
  • User Entry: There is a need for double authentication system, where there are two barriers of entry instead on just one, while signing in. apart from the usual username and password, users need to be asked to enter unique OTPs (sent to registered phones via SMS), preventing hackers from gaining access to the data on the Cloud. Also, companies should keep track of every virtual used to access the Cloud.
  • Vendor Assessment: Companies need to carefully assess and research the service-level agreements (SLAs) and terms of service of their Cloud service vendors, who list down everything they provide with all associated riders.
  • Back to basics: Some basic actions such as shutting off the system when not at one’s desk, keeping the Wi-Fi locked and not connecting to open, unsafe networks, deleting history, having a good BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy and installing a good antivirus software go a long way in ensuring data security on Cloud.

No one wants to pay for data storage, but companies with Cloud storage will find that paying for safe storage of corporate data is justified.