Businesses sign up to cloud computing services for many reasons. For example, some companies lack the technical expertise to deliver secure services, so they look at cloud service providers to meet their needs. Others rely on cloud servers for backing up data. Cloud service providers take care of the technical aspects of data storage. They maintain and update the software, thereby reducing maintenance costs. However, while cloud computing is convenient, fast, and easy, there are a few security issues that can cause a bit of concern.
The high-profile iCloud Hack in 2014 had people questioning the vulnerabilities of cloud computing. Hackers found a weakness in Apple’s iCloud services and took advantage of the security issue to gain access to celebrities’ passwords and accounts. The result: over 100 personal and explicit and private photographs of male and female celebrities went online.
Despite the security issues that surface now and then, companies still feel compelled to use cloud computing. Most enterprises don’t understand the risks of cloud computing and rely on cloud service providers to handle security issues. Not all cloud computing providers offer the same degree of protection. That’s why it’s important to understand the drawbacks of the cloud and take a few measures to fully secure cloud storage.
Before we discuss ways to achieve safe cloud data storage, let us find out what cloud computing is.
Understanding Cloud Computing
Cloud computing lets you access data and programs over the internet. So instead of storing data or files on your hard drive, you store your data on remote servers hosted on the net. When you sign up for cloud computing services, you save money on upfront costs. You won’t have to invest in a physical data centre. Neither will you have to hire support staff or technical specialists. You pay for the amount of data storage and computer processing you use.
More and more enterprises are moving to the cloud for data storage. But there’s still widespread controversy over cloud security and the ownership of intellectual property stored in the cloud.
The Risks of Cloud Computing
A data breach could lead to the loss of personal or financial information. The data breach at Target back in late 2013 affected nearly 110 million customers. It was one of the most shocking thefts that took place that year. Hackers found a way to access Target’s system and stole the customers’ credit and debit card information together with their e-mail addresses and phone numbers. This cost the company millions of dollars.
Companies often secure their data with an encryption key to reduce the risk of a data breach. But if they lose the encryption key, they end up losing their data as well. The cloud regularly makes copies of files to prevent unexpected loss of data. But the more copies you have, the greater your exposure to security breaches.
If attackers hijack your account in the cloud, they could use it to manipulate data. They could even redirect customers to competitor websites or monitor online transactions.
Amazon faced an account hijacking issue back in 2010 when hackers stole several Amazon users’ credentials during the attack.
These cloud security issues pose a serious threat to businesses and their confidential files. That’s why companies need to take proactive steps to protect data stored in the cloud.
How to Protect Your Files Stored in the Cloud
Research Cloud Service Providers
Before signing up for cloud computing services, be sure to read the privacy statement of the company you forward your data to. Find out whether they offer built-in encryption. Do they expose your data to the government when requested? Ask them whether they own and operate their servers. Some providers rent their servers from third parties. Your data could then end up in the wrong hands.
If security is your main concern, choose a provider that offers data encryption. No one will ever know what you uploaded, not even the service provider. If the service provider doesn’t offer built-in data encryption, you could encrypt data on your own before uploading it to the server.
Most customers find data encryption complicated and prefer not to use it, which might be risky. They rely on strong passwords or two-step verification instead.
It’s important to set strong passwords that are impossible to guess. Use a mix of characters, letters, and numbers to create a challenging password. Avoid using the same password for multiple online accounts. Also remember to change your passwords regularly. If you’re bad at remembering things, list it down on a piece of paper and keep it in a location that only you know and is safe. You can use your smartphone, but remember that it can be hacked, too.
Although two-step verifications are a little more time consuming, they really secure your accounts and your personal information. With the two-step verification process, you’ll have to enter two different passcodes to access your account. You could choose to receive your passcode by e-mail or by an app stored on your mobile device. The system will generate a new passcode each time you try to sign-in. This makes it much more effective compared to single passwords in terms of file protection. Combine two-step verification with the aforementioned items and you’ll be able to more effectively secure your files
If you’re concerned about cloud computing security, get in touch with the experts at FinalCode. We offer comprehensive enterprise-grade security solutions that protect you from data leakage and file-sharing risks. Click here to learn more.