Data Security on The Cloud – What You Need to Know

Recent news stories surrounding data breeches at Apple and Target might have you concerned about data security on the cloud.  As a business owner, nothing is more important than the security of your data.  When trade secrets are compromised the consequences can be severe. Potential financial losses and damage to your company’s reputation can be challenging, sometimes impossible to resolve.

If your operating on the cloud you have options to strengthen the safety of your data.  It’s important to address data security now, before there is an issue. Revamp your cloud-based security and become more aware of the measures you can employ.

Understanding Data Security Options

Before this new focus on data security, many small business owners were unaware of the magnitude of risk regarding data theft. While attacks on companies like Apple or Target are newsworthy, the truth is businesses of all sizes are vulnerable to data security breeches at any time.

Even though most cloud providers offer advanced security, all businesses should still remain vigilant regarding data security. As mobile computing and special circumstances increase it becomes necessary to enhance protection. Something as simple as a password visible on a tablet can create problems that all of the security your cloud provider offers can’t prevent.  Some protective measures you can implement include:

•  Enhanced security for mobile workers

Whenever your employee steps out the door security issues increase. Their laptop, tablet or mobile phone should have even greater security than you have in force in your office.

• Document or data sharing with outside parties

Whenever you exchange information with a third party provider, client or outside organization the likelihood of a breech increases. Keep sharing to a minimum.

• Physical location of your data

Your physical data can reside on a server located anywhere on the planet. Do you know where your provider stores their data? If it’s offshore, it may be more vulnerable due to lax regulation. Make sure your data is stored in the U.S.

While no one is completely immune, there are measures you can take to enhance data security. By utilizing strong protection measures you are more likely to fend off any attack, Simple changes can enhance protection. Tactics include:

1.  Difficult-to-hack passwords.

1234 is not a password. Make your passwords difficult to hack. Use upper and lower case letters, numbers, and long words. Passwords of 10 or more characters are safest.

2.  Limit access.

Staff and vendors should only have access to data needed to perform their jobs. Manage your encryption keys and limit administrative access to one or two employees along with the CEO.

3.  Back up sensitive data.

File sharing and syncing are methods of back up, but they are not the most secure. Use external offsite devices to keep a secure backup. Automate data to backup hourly or daily. Keeping a secure hard backup means in the event of failure or attack, you’ll always have access to critical data.

4.  Keep sensitive materials off the cloud.

No storage facility is 100% fail-proof. Keep trade secrets and proprietary data off the cloud and keep a secure backup offsite.

5.  Always encrypt data.

From mobile devices to cloud storage encrypted data is safe data. Even if your provider is hacked, the extra level of protection can keep your data safe.

Data security should be at the forefront for every business owner. Taking a few simple precautions can keep your data safe and your business up and running in the event of a breech.  Incidents will continue as more business migrates to the cloud. Plan ahead and you’ll always be prepared.