Why cloud security is important – and steps you can take to improve your data protection

Why cloud security is important – and steps you can take to improve your data protection

In recent years, cloud computing has transformed how and where firms can operate and brought a new level of scalability and security to company networ

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In recent years, cloud computing has transformed how and where firms can operate and brought a new level of scalability and security to company networks. However, while cloud networks offer previously unimaginable benefits to companies, they also bring added responsibilities and risks.

Cybercrime is a real and present danger facing firms globally. Indeed, the revenue generated by online criminality makes it, comparatively, the world’s third-largest economy behind the US and China. Also, a recent survey found the prospect of having sensitive corporate data accessed by hackers runs top of the list of fears faced by company owners.

The growing value of data

Many industry experts now suggest data is the world’s most valuable commodity – ahead even of traditional heavy-hitters like gold and oil – and, if your firm falls victim to a malicious attack, it can have disastrous financial and reputational consequences for your business.

By default, most cloud providers offer some form of security provision as part of their service but there are steps you can take to further improve your safety operating in the cloud. Below are a few ideas to augment your default cloud security:

Use a Cloud App Security Broker (CASB)

If you use Microsoft 365, Google G Suite or other cloud data services, you’ll have already noticed the considerable benefits that are brought from allowing your team to access files and software in the cloud. However, storing so much valuable data remotely with so many potential access points puts your files at risk. Using a CASB like Proofpoint can add a valuable extra layer of protection to your cloud server by actively monitoring user patterns, IP addresses, locations and access rights.

Store data in more than one zone

Spreading your data across different zones and regions increases your protection against system failure, power outages and malicious attacks. In particular, you should ensure your backups are held in a different location for the reasons noted above. There’s little point holding vital backups on the same machine as the original data – if that particular server is compromised, you will face exactly the same problems getting it back as you will with the original copy.

Educate your staff

No matter how many security steps you take, no system is 100% safe. Unfortunately, research shows humans are commonly the weakest link in the chain when it comes to cybersecurity and, with the growing trend of social engineering attacks like phishing, it’s becoming more and more important you educate your staff. Unless your team is aware of the tell-tale signs of a malicious attack, they’ll lack the skills and knowledge to protect both themselves and your company data.

Control access with rights management

In most cases, it’s highly unlikely your entire staff needs blanket access to all your cloud data so you should limit access rights across your files. For example, your sales team might need to access your company documentation, brochures and other promotional materials but likely will never use sensitive managerial-level files. By limiting the access rights of staff, you’ll vastly increase your protection if your server somehow becomes compromised.