With the growing prevalence of remote and hybrid work arrangements, an increasing number of companies have subscribed to public cloud services. This has resulted in more company data being stored in the cloud. While storing company data in the public cloud provides cybersecurity advantages, it doesn't completely free your company from security risks either. To mitigate these risks, you need to take steps that boost your cloud security.
Here are five ways to safeguard your company’s data in the public cloud.
1. Ensure your cloud service provider (CSP) has strong security measures
Cloud security providers are not made equal, so it's important to be diligent when picking a provider. In particular, look for a CSP that uses multiple layers of security, including:
- Firewalls – block or allow incoming and outgoing traffic based on a set of rules
- Encryption – scrambles plain-text information, making it readable only to persons with the decryption key
- 24/7 threat monitoring – constantly monitors network and account activities to flag and stop potential threats
- Incident response – assesses, investigates, and identifies the root cause of potential security issues or suspicious activities
- Backup and disaster recovery – creates multiple copies of data and enables data to be quickly recovered to minimize downtime and potential data loss should any disaster (e.g., natural calamities, power outage, hardware failure, etc.) strike
2. Encrypt your files
Even if your CSP already uses encryption, you should still encrypt your data before uploading it to the cloud. This is to prevent cybercriminals from stealing your data as it's transmitted to your cloud servers. You can easily encrypt your files using third-party tools.
3. Manage user identities and access permissions
Give each network user an individual account. This way, you can pinpoint and block specific users who are acting suspiciously, such as those who are downloading and copying massive amounts of company data.
What’s more, you should limit user access to only the company resources they need to do their job. For example, a marketing employee should not have access to the HR department’s payroll data. With such access restrictions in place, a data thief who takes over a marketing employee’s account will only be able to steal data that employee has access to. This minimizes the potential damages caused by cybersecurity incidents.
Finally, it is best to give IT administrators two user accounts: one privileged account for IT administration and another for their other activities. Using the privileged account, admins can make major changes to the network, so you need to safeguard it. One way to protect it is by limiting its usage to only IT admin tasks.
4. Adopt password best practices
IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach 2021 Report found that weak and stolen credentials are the top cause of data breaches. Given this, you need to make sure all user accounts in your company have strong passwords.
To formulate a strong password, the National Institute of Standards and Technology recommends using passphrases. A passphrase is a string of random, common words that create a nonsensical phrase. Because of its wacky construction, a passphrase is easy to remember for the user but difficult to crack for everybody else. To generate a secure passphrase, you should leverage the Diceware methodology.
Moreover, you must use a unique password for every account. By doing so, even if one of your passwords gets compromised, it cannot be used to access your other accounts or devices. Since memorizing multiple unique passwords is challenging, it’s best to store them in a password manager. This way, you only need to remember one master password to access all of your login credentials.
5. Enforce multifactor authentication (MFA)
With MFA enabled, users can access their accounts only after they have successfully provided two or more proofs of their identity. This means that after entering their login credentials, users may also be asked for a one-time PIN, fingerprint scan, or an answer to a security question. The additional verification step prevents unauthorized users from accessing cloud data using stolen credentials.
Let the IT specialists of SpectrumWise help you roll out these cloud-based data protection tips. With our help, you can enjoy the benefits of leveraging the cloud while also maximizing your data’s security. Schedule a consultation with us today.