Tips for small businesses to improve data security in the cloud

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Cloud computing has become a one-stop-shop solution for most business problems nowadays, with its flexibility and easy accessibility. Being an online service, collaborating, sharing data, and working remotely are far simpler than in a non-cloud environment.

However, cloud technology still comes with a few challenges, primarily security-related ones. But with proper training, you can make the most out of your cloud without living in fear of a data breach. Here are some tips on how to improve cloud security.

#1 Strong authentication

When protecting your data in the cloud, using a simple username-password combination just won’t do. After all, there’s nothing stopping a hacker with a stolen password from accessing your files. And stealing passwords is what hackers do best. You can make their efforts all for nought by enabling multifactor authentication to your applications. This simple but efficient layer of protection requires users to authenticate themselves using a piece of information that’s much harder for hackers to steal, such as a fingerprint or mobile-based code.

#2 Monitor user activities

Multifactor authentication is a helpful upgrade, but cybercriminals do have ways of circumventing login procedures entirely. That’s where network monitoring comes into play.

You need to have a real-time monitoring service to spot deviances from your employees’ normal activity patterns — such as loging in from unknown IP addresses or devices — which might be a sign that your data has been compromised. Knowing these things early on gives you ample time to handle a security breach before it becomes a major problem.

You also need to log when data is accessed and revised so you’ll have a proof of your secure safeguards in case your auditors ever need them.

#3 Employee training

With a variety of social engineering techniques nowadays — from phishing to spoof websites to social media spying — hackers often find it easier to steal employees’ login credentials by exploiting human trust than by manipulating technical security gaps. Proper and regular training on cybersecurity is still the best way to prevent employees from falling victim to scams like these and ultimately compromising your data.

#4 Data backup and recovery policy

Considering IT downtime costs $5,600 per minute, being able to recover recent backups at a moment’s notice is crucial. The best way to do so is devising a comprehensive data backup and recovery plan (DRP). This will not only protect your information; it will also make sure that everything’s still within arm’s reach after a disaster.

With properly backed up and accessible data, you will have little to no disruption in case of a natural calamity or a cybersecurity breach.

#5 Create a comprehensive offboarding process

You must have systems in place to prevent employees who have resigned or been laid off from intentionally or accidentally compromising data security — no matter how unlikely that seems. This means taking back their login credentials, company-issued devices, and accesses to files and computers. This is to prevent data theft, breaches, and the like, especially from vengeful ex-employees.

Although it sounds simple, it’s often overlooked during an offboarding process. A departing employee probably has access to hundreds of your files and applications on the cloud (and on-premise). Without a checklist or a structured plan, it will take an eternity to revoke your ex-employee’s access to all of them.

An identity and access management (IAM) solution might just be what you need. It consolidates user IDs and passwords, which you can turn on and off for all your applications at once. This way, your IT administrators won’t need to run through a long checklist of applications whenever an employee leaves your company.

If you need further assistance on cloud security, work with a managed services provider (MSP) like Integrated Technology Services. We’ll help you design a comprehensive cloud computing strategy. ITS provides the top benefits of cost-saving cloud solutions with enhanced security, better disaster recovery, and automatic updates. Call us today!